2012 3rd Place Essay Winner

By Muslim Hasan

We have often heard about how advanced and superior the world will be in the future. Much has been talked, written and filmed on how better a place it would evolve to be then; advancements in technology, knowledge and everything in general would lead to better understanding and cohesion. But would it really be a better world for everyone? While it might hold true for many, not all might be able to benefit from it equally.

Societies tend to follow a stringent path at times, thus side-lining or castigating people who are different or who deviate from norms. This results in people stigmatising others and discriminating against them, who are then left to fend for themselves. A similar predicament is faced by those inflicted with mental ailments, such as the bi-polar disorder, as they are often the objects of hostility and ridicule, even from family or friends of the sufferer. The effects of this are to such a great magnitude that in 2001, the World Health Organization declared stigma to be “the single most important barrier to overcome in the community”. Generally looked upon as unstable persons who cannot be trusted to act rationally, this conduct by others worsens their confidence, leaving them in despair of themselves. Albeit this is obviously not the case as most people with the bi-polar disorder live relatively robust lives.

However, with the world becoming more accepting of diversity and the realization that everyone is equal, regardless of their disabilities things may be set to change for the better. As the world becomes more aware about diseases and anomalies, it also allows people a freer environment in which to discuss such issues in. This is imperative for people with bi-polar, since they need to express their emotions without being chastised for it. The public should be educated about such disorders, so they can grow to tolerate, and at a point in time, even come to appreciate them for what they are. Special programs for specific audiences, e.g. the more conservative ones may also help to open their hearts towards people with bi-polar. But most importantly, they should be empowered and given chances; by putting them in the limelight and showcasing them as viable people to the world, that they are able persons and can do what anyone can and do it as well as they can, any doubts about them being ‘cracked’ will cease to exist.

Nevertheless, it is mere speculation at this point. In order to change the public opinion about bi- polars, much needs to be done. Despite this, there may still remain some people who discriminate others, regardless of whatever they are told. But in all this, our aim should be to ensure a better future, especially for people with diseases like bi-polar. The road will be an arduous one, but I am sure that in the future, and hopefully by 2020, we may reach a level of understanding where bi-polar is a positive quality rather than a problematic disease.

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