The typical story with bipolars who do something tragic, or suffer a tragedy, is that they were not getting treatment or were off their meds. Or they were adding hard drugs and binge drinking to the mix. Either way, they are not taking responsibility for their illness. Much of the American mind-set encourages such behavior. Mental illness is a weakness. Mental illness makes you suspect. If you admit that you are mentally ill, then you are weak and suspect. So bipolars, depressives, and schizophrenics often reject, or barely embrace, the very treatment that will keep them from being the problems we fear they can become.
From Good Cop, Sad Cop, a story about a King County (Seattle-area) deputy fired for being bipolar and honest about it.
And that paragraph sums up so much. We have to fix the stigma before we can see any progress. And that's the hard part. Even me, who's got so much working for her, feels that pressure to be normal and not have to rely on the stupid drugs, which just makes the whole thing worse...but what can you do with society the way it is?
(thanks to spitkitten in bipolars for the pointer -- and this is another thing I should try to dig up an icon for.)