“You Can’t Do That… You have a Mental Illness!”

I run a newsagent with my husband and I wear my medical ID tag which states my name and address on one side, and bipolar disorder on the other side. I always wear it visible on top of my clothes. There are three different ways that people respond when they read it:

  • They read it and give me a strange look but don’t say anything.
  • They read it and go onto to ask about it and say that it’s great that I wear it and am not hiding the fact that I have this mental disorder.
  • Then you have the minor percentage of people that will read it, give you a weird look and then go onto tell me what they feel about me wearing it and how they think I shouldn’t be allowed to let work in my shop but own it.

It shoots me down when they “attack” me about it. My instinct is to get very upset inside but not show any emotion on the outside. Then once they’ve disappeared I start questioning myself about whether I should be allowed to do things because of having mental health problems.

QUESTION: Can those with mental health problems do everything that a ‘normal’ person can do?

The answer is YES! We can do anything that we set our minds to. We can accomplish many things that others can do. Just because we have mental health doesn’t mean we cannot do the same things as others. In fact there are many times we have done better then ‘normal’ people.
The stereotypes about people with mental health are not just in working but also:

  • staying in a long-term relationship
  • living in decent housing
  • be socially included in mainstream society.

What people do not realize is that having these stereotypes flying around can interfere in our recovery and everyday life.

Media reports often lead mental health with violence or portrays people with mental health problems as dangerous, criminal or disabled and unable to live normal lives. The media needs to help get the correct view and truth of mental health problems. They need to bring to light the fact that we can lives and do everything everyone else does.
There are many famous people in the news and limelight that have mental health problems:

  •  Catherine Zeta Jones was diagnosed with bipolar 2 in 2011 which she openly talks about that it has had a huge impact on her life and career.
  • Howie Mandel who is the host of ‘Americas got talent’ he is 1 of two million people with OCD. He only sought help as an adult but as we can all see he can work and function well.
  • My favourite artist Edvard Munch. He was born in 1863 and suffered with serious mental health throughout his life. He lost both his mother and elder sister at a young age. Even thought he was suffering with his mental health and in his most depressive state of mind with no medication or help for his mental health. He painted many master pieces one of which is called ‘The Scream’ it is a very celebrated pieces of work. His artwork did portray how his mood was many of his first artwork were dark. He was able to work and function like anyone else. When he admitted himself into a psychiatric unit his artwork reflects his better state of mind and that he had more control over his moods. His artwork became more serene and calm and more colour was brought into his artwork.

So anyone with any type of mental health disorder can do exactly the same as anyone else. We just have more everyday obstacles and hurdles but with help and support we can do anything.


FB_20151023_14_16_18_Saved_PictureLisa Dodds is a mum to three beautiful daughters and has been married for six years. She loves spending time with her family aswell as running their newsagents with her husband so her life is pretty busy but she loves it that way. She has a personal blog about her life with bipolar 2 and her ups and downs. She loves to write and play her piano. She also loves photography and hopes one day she will be able to take it up more and maybe one day possibly make it as a career.

You can follow Lisa on Instagram and her personal blog.

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