My landlady has accused me- not to my face but via a series of e-mails- of using my bipolar disorder as an excuse not to be a tidy and considerate housemate.
Let me lay out the scene for you. I have left the house in an untidy state- no denying that. M, the landlady, comes over with an electrician and begins to shout at me regarding the state of the house. I tell her politely that I understand she is angry and upset, but she must stop shouting at me. She responds by saying that she is hard of hearing and cannot always tell when she is shouting.
I let that one slide.
Now here is the crucial conversation, which has since been twisted to fit her own need for a story.
Me: I have to leave now. I have counselling.
M: Oh, you have counselling? No wonder you need counselling! Maybe if you tidied up a bit you’d feel better about yourself and you wouldn’t need counselling!
Me: [having snapped] I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER! And last I checked, that wasn’t cured by cleaning a few dishes!
M: [rants on about how she lived with a very clean, tidy bipolar man for seven years]
What I meant during this conversation, by revealing that I have bipolar disorder, was that her comments about the necessity or otherwise of my counselling were not needed. That I have a genuine medical reason for university involvement in my personal affairs, and that these were not to do with “feeling better about myself” because of my tidiness, untidiness or otherwise. What I did not mean, was that my bipolar disorder should excuse me from cleaning the house. To me, this appears obvious.
To her, however, it does not.
She has decided to attack, saying that I am playing the “poor me bipolar” “victim card” and using it as a “pathetic excuse” not to live up to her standards of cleanliness (all direct quotations). She has called me lazy, among other things, and accused me of expecting people to tiptoe around me with kid-gloves.
Am I lazy? Sometimes, yeah. Am I untidy? Yep, yes I am. Might it have been inconsiderate? Maybe, yes. Have I ever used my bipolar as an excuse for untidiness, laziness, or a lack of consideration? No, no, no, no, no.
I have always been loathe to use it as an “excuse” for anything- I have refused essay extensions in the depths of my lowest lows. I have avoided applying for Disabled Students’ Allowance, until this, my fifth year as a student at a university. I have allowed people to believe I am unreliable, or fickle, or lazy, rather than explain that I am changing my plans because I am too ill to go through with them, be they plans for coffee or plans to meet up for joint study. I have made other stupid excuses for my behaviours, no doubt: I was drunk, I was busy, I was tired. I’m not perfect, sometimes I’m a bloody nightmare.
But one thing I have never, ever done is used having bipolar as an excuse, particularly not for something so stupid as an untidy kitchen. So I am (rightly, I feel) angry and upset at the onslaught, which was approximately five paragraphs long, detailing everything I had done wrong and accusing me of, among other things, using the most horrible experiences in my life as excuses for not keeping my shoes out of the living area.