Diagnosing People Based Off ONE Incident with NO Mental Health Background

Why Am I Writing This?

Today, a video came out of a woman at an airport going off  because some sources say she missed her flight and others say she is on the No Fly List.  I don’t know and I really don’t care at this point, however, there is a viral video of this woman, going off and trying to attack the people behind the desk, and threatening to beat people up in front of THEIR kids IN FRONT OF HER KIDS.  The daughter is seen PLEADING with her mother to stop because she doesn’t “want her to go to jail”.  The other child, he’s just standing there.  You can see the video and an article here: 


Now, while we all saw the same video, there were many opinions that were given BUT the subject that people KEPT bringing up was that “maybe she is having a psychotic break” or “maybe she has a mental illness”.  Some started NAMING them.  You know the usual ones that I spoke of in my other posts about people claiming people have the three main ones: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and OCD.  It’s like those are the only ones that they know of so they throw that out there.  I stated that we have to stop assuming that someone’s bad behavior is a result of a mental illness as that gives people WITH a mental illness a bad name.  It further adds to the stigma that this is typical behavior. 

One lady decided she wanted to come for me because I stated that I have bipolar disorder and I have gone off on people before.  It is no secret to my friends nor the (few) readers of my blog.  With that said, I was STILL responsible for my actions.  In ANOTHER blog I made, I stated that we cannot USE OUR MENTAL ILLNESS AS A CRUTCH! Yes, I have bipolar disorder (diagnosed) but does that give me the right to go out here and attack people because….bipolar?  No!  I have choices:

  1. Ignore the diagnosis and keep being “me”
  2. Self medicate
  3. Take my meds and seek more help in finding ways to cope with said mental illness.

In my DMX post on here, I talked about how some people don’t want to get help because it makes them look “weak”. Mental illness, especially in the Black community, holds a stigma that many try to stay away from.  In staying away from said stigmas, you are doing more harm than good to yourself and those around you.

Again, we are going under the ASSumption that this woman actually has a mental illness and isn’t just having a tantrum or doing something that she thinks is cool because it scares people (and, yes, people do that).

Back to the lady that came for me (somehow many of my responses were deleted. I don’t know if the person that I commented under did it or what.  I don’t care at this point but I did get at least one screenshot).  She stated that, since I have bipolar disorder, I should be more sympathetic. I told her that I am a realist and think that people should be held accountable for their actions as we all have choices.  If she was diagnosed with a mental illness, then she needs to take accountability for the diagnosis.  And IFF she wasn’t diagnosed, it is not up to random people to diagnose her based off one vid.  I also told her that I do have bipolar disorder and a degree in Psychology. and that she didn’t need to talk to me as if I were a child because she kind of scolded me for not taking the side of my sister in mental illness or something.  She then said “How do you have a degree in psychology and don’t know shit?” and proceeded to tell me to go and take my meds. 

Let’s Unpack This

How can you call yourself advocating for a person that might or might NOT have a mental illness and then perpetuate the stigma that drives people AWAY from seeking help?  She meant to insult me.  At this point, I had to call her out on this.  It is not an insult to me as I know that I take my meds every single day and, if she were in my presence (and I told her this), knowing my diagnosis, she wouldn’t say it.  She thought she knew what she was doing and who she was messing with. 

In a roundabout way, she apologized to me.  She said she went below the belt because she was basically offended that I said that she was talking to me like a child.  She actually said “in your bipolar brain”. 

So you say that this lady has a mental illness and I should be sympathetic but you just made fun of MY mental illness that I am NOT ashamed of.  Where is the logic here?  You wanted to rely on a negative stereotype about people with mental illnesses by insulting a person who is trying to enlighten others about the many faces of mental illness.  Got it!

This world is just a mess and I don’t really understand anything anymore. I did her a solid by not including her name.  Another woman decided to come for me by using the example of a drug or alcohol addict pretty much thinking they are better than those that are going through a struggle they had to go through.  She told me that I should have more empathy as a person that has been in this woman’s shoes.  I had to tell her how inaccurate her assumptions were regarding me and told her she should probably learn more about me and certain situations before speaking on them such as in THIS situation.

A Recovering Addict vs A Person on Meds with a Diagnosed Mental Illness

So let’s talk about this. FIRST of all, you cannot be CURED from bipolar disorder or recover from it. Second of all, I stated that there were a lot of assumptions being thrown out there when NO ONE knows this woman’s mental diagnosis. There are people IN THIS WORLD that think it’s cool to act like this.  Everyone that acts up, goes against the grain, is inappropriate, or violent doesn’t have to have a mental illness. They literally don’t have to have one. 

And when we insinuate that they DO, what are we saying about those of us that continue to flourish WITH a diagnosis?  We are NOT our diagnosis.  I used to know how to link my past posts into my current blog but this new format is annoying. 

I am in bipolar groups and, one day, we all told what we did for a living.  If you saw some of the jobs these people had, you would be surprised. We all don’t run around hitting people, throwing things, looking for a fight.  We find ways to project our feelings in a way that is more conducive to just making it through. 

I speak often on the methods I employ so as NOT to act like this woman did (who may or MAY NOT have a mental illness).  I know my triggers, I stay away from things that trigger me, I take my meds, I see a therapist. 

With that said, I also know that some people don’t have those options. I have been unemployed and had nice psychiatrists that would give me samples that I had to spread out and that didn’t end so well.  I got lucky in some aspects so I get that.  But we can’t use our diagnosis or non diagnosis to continue to act out because we just can.  And, if you are arrested or disciplined for your actions, you have to take accountability.

I have told about being put away before for my actions.  I knew what happened, I was triggered, I had missed ONE day of my meds, and I SNAPPED.  I’m not ashamed of sharing that story.  We all make mistakes. But, what we learn from it is what matters. I took accountability for my actions and still wear the scars on my fingers as a reminder. 

If being realistic and not making excuses for someone’s actions in front of their children makes me judgmental,  I will have to wear that badge. What irks me is that she even walked away for a while and came back to do more damage in addition to ignoring the cries of her child.

I am no better than this woman in any way because I have done some things.  I also have flown under the radar (you can read about that in The Story of My Mental Illness) and people assumed that there was nothing wrong with me for YEARS. But I personally knew as a teenager that there was something wrong and I needed help.

In the End

No one knows if this woman has a diagnosis and it isn’t our place to diagnose her. We don’t know this woman but we know THIS instance.

When I tell people I have bipolar disorder, many are surprised because “You don’t act like it.” Bipolar disorder has many faces. No one is the same. Mental illness comes in more forms than the three that everyone likes to claim.

When you see someone acting out, don’t just assume that there is a mental illness present. Just as we can’t assume that just because a person seems to have it all together, that they have no mental illness. We learn and we handle our situations in our own way.

Also, if you are not a professional, have studied psychology or psychiatry,  or have a mental illness, don’t assume that you know about those of us that DO suffer from mental illness.  There is a lot you don’t know and I would suggest maybe talking to those that admit they have a mental illness or join a Reddit group and just look at the conversations so that you can learn. You would be surprised at how different the world is for many of us and how we fight daily to do better even when we don’t feel like it.

Published by tallgirl79

Blogging about life. Well, my life. As a black, bipolar, mom to a teenager with special needs, well, there is always a story to tell. From my aversion to having a man to my weird experiences while trying to avoid people, it's all there. Being me is.... different but it always makes for good blogs.

3 thoughts on “Diagnosing People Based Off ONE Incident with NO Mental Health Background

  1. oh 100%. I agree wholeheartedly with this post. We can’t just blindly lable people losing their sh*t in public (or anywhere, really) as “mental” because that might not be the case. They may very well just be tired, fed up, frustrated or maybe their volcano of ‘stuff I’ll put up with and be quiet about’ has erupted and they can’t contain their rage any more. On the other hand, I applaud you for recognising that there are many of us with mental illnesses and we can’t use them as an excuse for terrible behaviour. Like you, I have to own my behaviour, apologise for it and do my best not to repeat it. I can’t shrug and simply say “Oh I have mental illness – oops”. I’m so glad you address this in such an open, honest way with a lot of compassion. We are all doing our best to get through our days.

    1. Thank you. I want people to understand that there isn’t anything wrong with having a mental illness and that we are not defined by a diagnosis. Society has people out here hiding their true selves so as not to be labeled. I don’t mind who I am or my diagnosis. Thank you for reading.

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