I’m furious. Furious enough that I’ve been driven straight into hypomania. Not a place I really care to be.
This is a bipolar post, just give me a minute to set the scene.
Last night, I watched the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Richmond, VA. (no, that’s not why I’m furious). I love NASCAR and through hubby have learned enough about the sport to really appreciate it. But, the beginning 2/3 of the race was pretty boring. One guy leading most of the time, not a lot of passing. A lot of guys playing it safe to keep their points so they would make the Chase (NASCAR’s playoffs).
ANYWAY, cut to lap 363. Ryan Newman bumps Tony Stewart. Once. Twice. Three times. At which point Tony Stewart has had enough and intentionally turns down into Ryan Newman. This causes Newman and Stewart to wreck and in the process collect 5 other drivers in the mess.
Ok. Here’s where I get pissed. Ryan Newman’s post crash interview.
And I quote:
Ok, I’ll do a benefit of the doubt. Driving these cars is stressful. They’re going a couple hundred miles an hour at points. They’re driving within inches of each other. It’s over 100 degrees in these cars and they’re wearing fire suits. It’s a long night and I know they are stressed. The crash was bad. Several cars, including Stewart’s, were on fire. Tempers are hot.
I get it.
However, Ryan Newman has been doing this for a long time, 17 years in the elite Sprint Cup races and longer if you count ARCA, Truck and Nationwide Series. After 17 years as a professional athlete you learn how to be a sportsman. You learn that if you can’t hold your tongue, you don’t do the interview till later. It is an option.
You do NOT use the word bipolar the way he did. He practically spit it out. It had malice behind it.
And it wasn’t used properly.
Ignorance on his part.
Ferocious anger on mine.
We are marginalized every time someone says something like this. Every time someone says that the weather is bipolar, our struggles are belittled. Every time the news reports that someone who comitted a horrendous crime was mentally ill, without reporting that, as a group, we are more likely to be the victims of crime then perpetrators, a stereotype gains strength.
Ryan Newman isn’t just some guy who made a passing comment to a friend. This was a nationally televised event. He did a lot of damage in a heartbeat. Fans of Newman heard those words and potentially took them as gospel.
He damaged me, in a heartbeat.
Because my anger threw me to hypomania. Because now my temper is short and my anxiety is high.
And he damaged us in the same heartbeat.
Because people heard him and learned that it’s ok to use the word “bipolar” as a slur.
Because people heard him and don’t know the suffering that can go along with a diagnosis of bipolar.
Because people heard him.
I heard him.
And it hurt me to my soul.
But, I promised the other day that I’m going to start fighting publically as soon as disability goes through and I can use my real name.
And that promise now has even more teeth.