Journal Entry: A Child's Bipolar Story - "Hopeless"
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Author: Anonymous (2002; from the journal of a high school student who
functions at the second grade)
Collected By: Ann Hull, MEd (former teacher and friend)
Editor: Shaheen Lakhan
Volume 1, Article 11
Ann Hull is an educator, writer, and researcher with over 25 years of
experience. She has encountered bipolar disorder in her personal family setting.
Moreover, for more than eight years, Ms. Hull taught children in a special
education environment, who had been diagnosed with a number of psychiatric
[Editor's Note: The following journal entry portrays a child not only
suffering from the disabling symptoms of psychopathology, namely bipolar
disorder, the child is also facing the harsh and real impact of societal mental
health stigmatization (bias, distrust, stereotyping, fear, embarrassment, anger,
and/or avoidance). Stigmatization of those inflicted with mental disorders has
persisted throughout history. Such ideology has built barriers that discourage
people from seeking mental health treatment and, often forgotten though
significant, thwart treatment plans for those who courageously seek management.
It is especially troubling in children, for they are seen in context to a larger
unit (family, peer group, and their larger physical and cultural surroundings).
In their age groups, human contact is essential for proper development and
stigmas may deprive children of their dignity and full participation in society.
The Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona, addressed mental health in a famed and
report that recognizes mental illness and stigmatization as a public
health dilemma. He states that that in the past 40 years, stigmas in certain
context have intensified despite our improved knowledge of mental illness. He
found that programs of advocacy, public education, and contact with persons with
mental illness through schools and other societal institutions may reduce
stigmas, in addition to active research into psychopathology. Dr. Carmona puts
it best, "most importantly, [people] should become far more receptive [that]
mental health and mental illness are part of the mainstream of health, and they
are a concern for all people".]
Last night I heard my mom say she wishes maybe, I had cancer or something,
instead of what I gotómy bipolar.
That really made me sad and made me mad!
When I finally asked my mom, "why", she said,
"If only you had cancer or lymphoma or something like thatÖ
Everyone would understand, everyone would feel sorry. .
That would be so much easier than BipolarÖ"
She told me I would have a greater chance of being cured and of living, of
She said Iíd have fun with all the flowers, balloons, toys, and special
She said important people like rappers and athletes might even help me, might
even do fun things for me!
And if I shaved my head bald, no one would make fun, they would even say,
Mom says then, insurance would cover more, and people would maybe even help
me with money, if we needed it. . . Instead, nobody wants to give anything nice
or pay any attention to a "bad" kid like me.
Iím just a waste. Is it my fault? My momís? My dadís?
But my doctor says I can help myself some. And my family. There are things I
can do, to help my BP.
So, I donít feel all that bad. I just need people to care, too. Not just to
be "sick" of my "sickness".
I want to be "normal"! I want to be well! I want to be good! I want to try! I
But, please, please, help me and care for me, too, even if I donít have