5 Things You Should Avoid Saying To A Bipolar Person

things not so say to a bipolar person

It may be difficult to find the right words to show your support for someone with bipolar disorder, whether you are already close to them or just getting to know them.

Worrying about what to say next can leave you unsettled, especially if you've already said something that was meant to be kind but clearly upset the other person.

Keep in mind that they are dealing with something challenging and need support for bipolar disorder, not words that can tear them down.

Many people make statements that undermine the veracity of their mental illness without even realizing it.

Most importantly, these statements are things you should avoid saying to a bipolar person.

Saying to someone with bipolar disorder, "Everyone has mood swings sometimes," is an awful thing to say.

Saying such a thing to someone with bipolar disorder, who is prone to extreme mood swings, shows an absolute lack of respect for the gravity of their condition.

Another common statement people often say to a bipolar person is that the person doesn't seem crazy.

It's insensitive to the person with bipolar disorder to imply that all people with the disorder should behave irrationally.

Asking someone with bipolar disorder if they've taken their medication can be well-intentioned, but it's not always appropriate.

Especially during an episode or when they are feeling the symptoms of the disease.

Learn more details about things you should avoid saying to a bipolar person below.

"Everybody Has Mood Swings Sometimes"

Every single one of us is susceptible to mood swings.

Mood swings are common, and studies show this is true even among people with no diagnosable mental health disorder.

People with bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and other severe mental illnesses experience frequent and severe mood swings.

The characteristic symptom of bipolar disorder, mood episodes, are distinct from mood swings.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person with bipolar disorder will go through periods of time called "mood episodes."

During these mood episodes, they will feel extremely emotionally intense feelings that last from a few days to a few weeks.

Telling them that everyone has mood swings disregards what they go through. 

"You Are Acting Like A Psychopath"

This is not only a misleading characterization of the condition's manifestations but also contributes to the harmful stereotypes about bipolar people.

According to studies published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, being subjected to that can amplify a person's symptoms and affect their quality of life.

Labeling someone as crazy, deranged, or any other derogatory term for one's mental state is insensitive and harmful to those who struggle with the disorder.

You may be used to using such phrases to label your friends' behavior without realizing how damaging they can affect those with bipolar disorder.

Some people who suffer from bipolar disorder are genuinely good-hearted people who struggle to keep their emotions in check because of their illness.

"Did You Take Your Meds?"

It is best to refrain from making statements about the medications bipolar disorder patients are taking.

This is due to the fact that it can induce feelings of shame if they are still experiencing symptoms despite taking their medication.

This is why it is one of the things you should avoid saying to a bipolar person.

Medication is crucial in the treatment of the bipolar disorder, but it is not always successful in alleviating all of the symptoms.

It's important to remember that just because someone is taking their medication doesn't mean they're "cured" or won't continue to exhibit symptoms.

Don't inquire about the person's medication unless they've specifically asked you to do so.

"You Don't Seem Crazy"

The insidious aspect of this is that you may perceive it as a compliment.

You may believe you are conveying that they have things well under control, but this is not typically how it comes across.

Perhaps the individual with bipolar disorder is between cycles, or perhaps they are adept at concealing their emotions.

They may be experiencing a hypomanic episode in which only the positive aspects are apparent.

People suffering from bipolar disorder do not experience mood swings all of the time.

In fact, many individuals with the disorder also experience periods of neutral mood.

Being deemed "crazy" suggests a host of undesirable qualities, the most negative of which is the risk posed to others.

Consider how this would sound if you were suffering from a serious condition such as heart disease and someone said, "You don't look sick; you look so healthy!"

Don't Take Everything So Personally; You Are Just Overreacting

Statements like this are things you should avoid saying to a bipolar person.

Phrases like these trivialize the experience of the person who suffers from the symptom of overreacting, which is common in those with bipolar disorder.

You can help someone with bipolar disorder by speaking with compassion instead of frustration.

It's possible that your loved one is overreacting in light of how you see things.

However, labeling their reactions as "just overreacting" minimizes their struggles and sends a message of shame rather than compassion.

Most people with bipolar disorder are aware that their reactions are out of proportion.

Unfortunately, they have no control over their emotional responses.

The effect of saying this would be to make them feel even more helpless about their situation.


Carefully choosing your words can help to strengthen relationships, fuel recovery, and improve everyone's quality of life.

If you find yourself about to say the above or anything else hurtful, pause and try saying something that shows your support for bipolar disorder.

You can help someone with bipolar disorder by being patient, encouraging them to talk, and listening instead of talking.

You can make a difference in your loved one's recovery as well as your own peace of mind.

The following are things you should avoid saying to a bipolar person: everybody has mood swings sometimes, you are acting like a psychopath, don't take everything so personally, you are just overacting, you don't seem crazy, and did you take your meds? 


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June 3rd, 2023

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