“Living with Bipolar Disorder” story transcript
Simon Albaugh: So, I’m Simon Albaugh and diversity to me is probably just the existence of as many voices, and as many opinions, and as many perspectives and backgrounds and beliefs as possible. And I think diversity is something that should be a goal and is often not for other people.
DJ Terry: After describing his understanding of diversity, Simon Albaugh unleashes a part of his identity that he thinks contributes to a diverse environment.
SA: [Uhm] I have this condition that predisposes me to, kind of, increased creativity, like, I write poems and take photos and draw every day, and it’s bipolar disorder.
DJT: We then examined how bipolar disorder plays a major part in his life. Could you possibly describe a story where you ever felt oppressed or constrained due to your bipolar disorder?
SA: I think what it is, is that I often feel like society is set up for people who aren’t like me. I mean, like, what do you wanna know about bipolar disorder?
DJT: Do you, in terms of media representation, like, how do you feel about how bipolar people are portrayed? Do you think that there is enough representation?
SA: I guess the only example that I have about that is [the movie] “The Silver Linings Playbook.”
DJT: Yeah, it won the Oscar.
SA: It’s so good! [Both laugh.] But it’s about a family who has a bipolar disorder, and it really does a good job of pointing to the notion that, oftentimes, when one person has a mental illness, there is a family history of mental illness. There is a family history of trying to unpack what could be construed as abuse and stuff like that. So, there is that aspect to it, that it just becomes an extremely complex psychiatric and psychological situation that takes years to unpack.
DJT: If you could say one thing that you could make others understand about your bipolar disorder, in terms of your identity, what would it be? Like a PSA, is what I’m saying.
SA: Something like, bipolar disorder is so jarring, like, no matter what you try do to make [sic!] something complex, it’ll be just over simplified, like, this is a very loaded label.
DJT: Why do you think that is, though? Like, what makes that the case?
SA: Some people just don’t wanna work with those people.
DJT: He offers one piece of advice.
SA: Just, at least with bipolar disorder, just encourage when you can and be patient when you can. I think that society is set up so that so you are responsible with producing your artifacts of your own life. And, I think, when living is the only goal you have, you don’t have many artifacts to make after that. You have this overwhelming desire just to push everything, to do everything, to just juggle as many things as possible, when oftentimes nothing is happening. So, a lot of people with bipolar disorder say that they have anxiety, but I don’t think it’s anxiety. I think it’s just not being able to keep up with your own thoughts.