Narratives of mental illness don’t always begin or end well. For those who are able to successfully manage their afflictions and live rich, full lives, few things matter more than narrative. As someone who was diagnosed bipolar 12 years ago, I know how important stories can be. I am functional and productive today because I have been allowed to control the telling of my history. My life has been interrupted by mania, yes, but by being the primary narrator of these debilitating events, I’ve been able to salvage some agency. Besides, my few days of mania have not overshadowed my years of lucidity.
Overused in popular mental health discourse, the word ‘stigma’ had recently lost some of its import. Swamy has given it back some of its sting. Even though his byte lasts only a minute, he builds suspense. He drops the word ‘bipolarity’ as if he were speaking in an exotic tongue. His obvious presumption—not many people know what it means—is perhaps on point, but Swamy exploits the foreignness of the word with a sly cunning. Gandhi, he then suggests, is violent because she is bipolar.
“Priyanka Gandhi’s Mental Health Isn’t Subramanian Swamy’s Business”