Our Identity……yet again…….

So, here’s the deal peeps.  *puts glitter back in pocket*  While I am not the founder of the website, I AM Marybeth’s partner here.  (Ok, I know I have been slacking a bit because of my current situation, but I’m still her partner)  I can’t even begin to count the number of times the name of our website gets questioned by others in the field/industry.  One of the major concerns is the stigma and the name of the site promoting the stigma.  YES, we all want to eliminate stigma related to bipolar disorder and mental illness.  YES, we want to be known as having bipolar disorder and NOT  as “a bipolar” which is defining who we are as a person.

We do understand that very clearly here at Ask A Bipolar.  We are NOT trying to perpetuate any type of stigma with our name.

That said, lets go back to the ever so popular diabetes example.  A person who has diabetes is called “a diabetic.”  A person who has anorexia (another mental illness) is called “anorexic.”  Neither of those define WHO that person is.  That individual defines who they are, separate from their diabetes and their anorexia.

So now we come to us; those with bipolar disorder.  YES, we have bipolar disorder.  Can it be said that we ARE bipolar???  Techinically, yes.  Think about it.  As people, we go up and down through the cycles, our bodies are acting and behaving bipolar, which would make us “bipolar.”   Why ARE we acting bipolar?  Because we HAVE bipolar disorder.  But, because our bodies and minds act bipolar, that does not mean that as a person, “bipolar” is who we are.  I mean, take me for example, I am bipolar, but I am also creative, funny, etc.  I have DEFINITELY NOT let the use of “bipolar” in any context define who I AM AS A PERSON.  I will always be Christi.  I will always be an author for Ask A Bipolar, blogger for International Bipolar Foundation, paralegal, daughter, sister, etc.

Now, back to our site name, Ask A Bipolar. We have chosen to continue the use of our name because collectively, we do not feel that it perpetuates the stigma because we believe that we have not let the use of the term “a bipolar” define any of us in any way.  The name of our site defines what the site offers.  It offers people an opportunity to ask someone who has bipolar disorder a question they may have about the illness.  While our site name may be scrutinized and may be questioned, the objective of our site is one that educates others about our illness.  That purpose, in and of itself, shows our intentions and actions toward eliminating stigma by giving out correct information to the public straight from those who are affected directly by the illness.

We have had many other posts that have addressed things like what if other sites were called “Ask A Diabetic” etc., so I am not going to address that in this post, but I do stand behind the name of our website, Ask A Bipolar.  I do believe that there IS a stigma out there associated with bipolar disorder and being called “bipolar” because of the lack of education of the general public and how they flippantly use the term, however, I do not believe that our website perpetuates that use.  I truly believe that our name attracts a lot of people that may initially be affected by the stigma but then ultimately, the information they receive from our site educates them and aims to decrease those stigmas.

These are MY OWN personal views and opinions on the name of our website.  Being Marybeth’s partner, this is what I bring when we have discussions about name issues.  I ABSOLUTELY believe that our site name is what attracts many people to the site.  I believe that those involved with this site and those that visit the site do NOT see the site name as perpetuating any stigma and see it more as a catchy way to identify what our site is all about.  I FIRMLY believe that anyone that follows the site, reads the posts on the site, etc.. does not in any way believe that our site is promoting the stigma and that when they initially read the site name, they did not think of it as perpetuating stigma.

Every few months, issues arise where the name of our site is questioned and we discuss what we should do about the site name.  Every time though, after conducting repeated studies, and repeated posts, the answer continually remains the same.  KEEP THE SITE NAME!!!!!!!

That’s exactly what I say.  KEEP THE SITE NAME.  I for one know that even though I may be called a “bipolar,” it does not define me.  Its not who I am.  Its a part of me, yes, but, its NOT WHO I AM.

*throws glitter *

4 thoughts on “Our Identity……yet again…….

  1. I just hate when people accuse someone of being bipolar when they are trying to insult them. I have bipolar and I am bipolar. I am not an insult to be flung! Keep the name by all means! It is all in the attitude!

  2. *takes out her bag of confetti to go with that glitter and raises Pocket Christi a couple of tweets off of her party horn.*
    People perpetuate the stigma, not the name of this site. From a marketing standpoint, it’s brilliant. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to easily refer friends to this site because of the name. I, too, firmly agree that changing the name to appease the few would be a mistake. You both have done amazing things for the community, please don’t change your passions (or names). The only change that would be acceptable would be that you touch more lives and help more people.
    *steps off soap crate and grabs more glitter*

  3. I totally agree with keeping the askabipolar name. If it was not for it’s uniqueness it likely would have never attracted me to check the site out when I was surfing the net for information/support on bipolar disorder. I do not see the site as promoting “stigma” in any way. If I felt that way I would have never become
    a “writer/researcher” for the site. Anyone who chooses to take the time to look at the site and read about what it is like for us to have bipolar disorder should come to the conclusion that it is a great site. As Christi posted “we do not let bipolar disorder define who we are as people”. I only see bipolar disorder as “a part of who I am”. For sure it has played a part in the way it has shaped me in but so have things like where I grew up, where I went to school, where I have worked, etc. etc.
    I do not see how the name is “stigmatizing us” because as “a whole” the website is very “informative and provides much needed support to those of us who have bipolar” and it is a great resource for people in general. It’s a place for friends and family members to explore as well. So I believe that there are more “pros” than cons when it comes to keeping the name as is……

  4. Amen!
    I call myself bipolar and I’m not sure what parts of me would continue to exist were I not so. Christi, I agree with your diabetic/anorexic anaolgy. The site name is catchy and the alterntives seem to be cumbersome and unduly “politically correct”.

    Frankly, its a bit like a Koori (aboriginal) bloke calling himself a “black fella”. Its ok for him and his “type” but not ok for outsiders who use it to stimagatise. People don’t call me bipolar but I sometimes do, when its relevant.

    The site, and its name are not broken so don’t try and fix it.


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