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Thursday, July 10, 2008 sidmonkey, Community Member, asks

Q: what is the deal with bipolars and eye contact

i was accused by an non attending doctor to be faking my bipolar because he had read in notes from attnding doctors that i made good eye contact, i have no signs of adhd or psychotic feartues so i don't understand why he would call me and 2 attending doctors liars because i come from a genration that children where taught to make eye contact and speak as  clearly as possible.

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Answers (3)
TMarie, Community Member
7/11/08 5:05pm

I agree with Maureen - get a different doc. The people with bipolar that I've met thus far (in group) are usually great with eye contact, in fact, often better than the folks without, because we can be so deeply interested in people. Or yes, because many of us are intelligent and well-mannered.


There are a couple exceptions I've noticed: when someone's manic and concentration is poor, or manic and they are trying to calm themselves by pulling into their shell, or if they're very depressed or meds have them whacked. 


But I have to wonder if this doc has never heard of the DSM IV re: bipolar II and cyclothymia?


There are no cookie-cutter people, thus no cookie-cutter people with bipolar. How the heck can we get this across?!  Not all bipolar sufferers have adhd or psychotic features. Ridiculous.

Maureen, Community Member
7/11/08 1:52pm

Please find another attending doctor.  I, too, was raised to make good eye contact.  It's polite, not a sign of whether or not a person is bipolar.  Bipolars typically (I was diagnosed bipolar 27 years ago) act like very intelligent, functional human beings when they are medicated or not experiencing an episode.  The attending needs to go back to school.  Good luck.  Maureen

need2know, Community Member
7/21/08 6:17pm

What's the big deal about eye contact?  I had a psychiatrist who would not make eye contact and I had to ask him to look at me when he talked that I would appreciate it.  I do not trust anyone who does not look into your eyes when they talk.  This is only appropriate.  I think this is ridiculous.  Just because we were diagnosed with bipolar doesn't mean we don't deserve to be human and normal too.  I think it is all out of respect that we look at someone in the eyes. 

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By sidmonkey, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/18/12, First Published: 07/10/08