Bipolar disorder doesn’t define me, and I’m my own person without having to label myself with the diagnosis. But for me, saying “I am bipolar” is just as freeing and empowering as saying “I have bipolar.” If I were so concerned that saying “I am bipolar,” would mislead people, I would question using the expression. However, I am identifying with the disorder because it is such a part of me. If I live life with bipolar why shouldn’t I identify with the diagnosis? Diabetics have diabetes, just like they are diabetic.
I want to normalize it, not isolate the term and definition just so I can feel better about myself and not be “attached” to the illness. It is not to degrade, condemn, or “label” anyone. It’s simply putting it in terms of the illness and owning it. I have it and I am it – it’s as simple as that. When I say I’m bipolar, I am addressing the illness because it lives in me! It does not own me, but it begets the symptoms and characteristics of bipolar disorder, therefore I am characteristic of that disorder. I am bipolar.
What do you think? Should it matter how we phrase our diagnosis as bipolars? To that point, should we call ourselves “bipolars,” and make it a noun, to be one?