Right so, hi. If you guys haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m the one that actually runs The Bipolar Blogger Network. In spite of having a nominal co-founder, it’s been me behind the curtain for… eesh, four and a half years now. I’ve seen people come and go, I’ve had to be ‘mean’ to some folk, kind to others, and often make people wait forever for responses — sorry y’all, you seriously have no idea how much time and effort each evaluation takes. It takes awhile for me to find the spoons to do them, but I try to do them and do my best for everyone because I value my network, its bloggers, and its readers.
So you might guess how I felt when one of my best friends messaged me this:
GP found dead after being suspended over bipolar disorder blog
My heart clutched uncertainly at the headline — it couldn’t be who I thought it was. And then I read down… and it was. It was one of our network bloggers. Or former — she pulled herself from the network when the complaint happened. When that happened, I couldn’t imagine that it would lead to her
death murder at the hands of stigma. I was merely sad to see someone who was sweet and friendly having to hide herself because of a silly person complaining (now a murderer).
According to the article, she died on the 24th of November. My last email from her was on the 11th of November. Of course, I’m sad. And angry. She, like so many of us, wanted to blog because it is great therapy. We have a great community amongst ourselves, filled with understanding and compassion, and freedom of speech means that we should have every freaking right to do that. Yes, she was a doctor, but how under the Light should that preclude her from wanting to write about herself? I’m soooo sorry it wasn’t something sexy or acceptable, but also, really? REALLY?! One thing that I love about the UK is that is generally a lot more tolerant of bipolar. We have organisations like Mind and Bipolar UK that do their best to provide support and spread awareness, and I have felt perfectly safe in my life and position.
But then, I wasn’t a doctor. I’m not in a position of ‘public trust’, per se. But here’s the thing — why should she as a doctor not ‘be allowed’ to candidly get things off of her mind? What possessed the person who thought that her ability to work should be questioned because she had a mental disorder, one that she was getting treatment for and doing her best to manage her work/life balance? Yes, bipolar can affect one’s quality of work, but so can a bad night’s sleep, a night on the drink, an argument with someone, anything. Should it mean she is incapable of being a doctor? Apparently, one out of one stigma-wielding patients says so.
I just. Ugh. This is part of why I write — I want to show that those of us with bipolar are people like anyone else. Sometimes we have it a bit (or a lot) worse because we have an exceptional set of circumstances to deal with. I have bipolar, yes, but I also have a beautiful and happy family. I have a job I can work from home. I have hobbies and friends. Wendy had all of these things too, less the job at the end. Someone let their fear rob her husband of a partner, her children of a mother. Someone let their fear rob a woman who loved her job of her job.
Someone has a lot to answer for. A part of me wishes I was an angrier, more vengeful person, one that would demand repayment in kind, Hammurabi-style. I’m not though. I hope this person, whomever they are, realise that actions have consequences, and that their actions rebounded severely. I hope that they think in future about stigma. I hope that people read about this, and think about how stigma kills. Because it does, and this woman’s only ‘sin’ was to want to write about her disorder.
Anyways, I’m going around in circles. I just had to get it off my chest because I’m flailing and upset. Goodbye, wychdoctor. Goodbye, Wendy. You are definitely missed.