Accountability for your Actions with Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness, but many of the problems that come with bipolar disorder are the actions that it provokes. The illness may be in the brain but much of the harm exists in the life around you. You may act out the illness in many ways through anger, hurt, overreaction, panic, hypersexuality, overspending or others. But the question is, are you responsible for your actions when you are in an acute bipolar episode? If you’re severely depressed or manic, are you accountable for your actions?

You Are Accountable for Your Bipolar Actions

I fall on the side of accountability. I feel people need to take responsibility for their actions no matter what – even with bipolar disorder. I feel this way about people with mental illness and people without. If I do something, it was me doing it and no one else. No doubt, what I’ve done may be highly influenced by a disease that is not my fault, but I still committed the action and have to deal with the consequences.

Because, here’s the thing, while we cannot control the bad bipolar signals coming from our brains, we can control our behavior and how we deal with those signals (in the vast majority of cases). The bipolar may make me irritable, but only I can choose to manifest that irritability by picking fights with my loved ones.

You Are (Generally) Accountable for Bipolar Manifestations

Bipolar actions often hurt others. Should you take accountability for your actions even if they are dictated by bipolar?Another example of critical accountability is mania. Many people like the feeling of hypomania and so, when it comes, they don’t treat it and don’t try to quell it. This, of course, in many cases, leads to full-blown mania. And while the mania is not your fault, per se, and it’s an illness that’s not your fault, you did ignore the signals that would have prevented that state. You are the one that chose not to treat a minor or moderate problem and allowed it to become extreme. You are the one that allowed the disease to progress to the point where you were no longer in control.

This is not to say that everyone can avoid a severe bipolar episode all the time, but certainly, all of us are responsible for recognizing our prodromal symptoms to avoid the disease getting out of control whenever possible.

Exceptions to True Bipolar Accountability

Nevertheless, sometimes the disease does cause actions that truly are outside of our control, for example, psychosis. When a person is psychotic, he or she truly does not know what she’s doing and there is limited responsibility she can reasonably take for what she does in that state.

How to Take Accountability for Your Bipolar Actions

I believe it’s important when we exhibit hurtful behavior to stand up and say, “Yes, I did that. Yes, it was highly influenced by my disorder but I am truly sorry and I will work to avoid it in the future.” Even when it’s not your fault, it’s still important to take responsibility because the harm is real. You can’t just throw up your hands and say, “yes, I had an affair because I was hypersexual – it wasn’t my fault, it was the bipolar.” That just increases the harm that you have caused. I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow and it’s hard to take responsibility for things that are so influenced by bipolar, but I believe it is an important one. It’s important not only for our own wellbeing but also for the wellbeing of those around us.

So don’t shirk your responsibility and blame your actions on bipolar disorder. You are better than that. You are stronger than that. And the people who love you deserve better than that too.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Find Lost Marbles on Amazon.

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  1. I wondered if you believed in the “kindling effect” ,I lived with my bipolar spouse for over 30 years ,we were very happy for most of it ,we worked together coping ,we kept the hospital involvement at a minimum because we went to counselling about coping methods and agreed mutual strategies , I always made clear I wonder never consent to a section so my spouse trusted me to get him treated with respect in hospital if he ever became pyshcotic,,,,we where a good team ,however after a bad manic episode which was the first for over a decade he started to have more ,,with virtualy no trigger ,when well he became very unpleasant to live with ,abusive verbally telling me and other people even strangers that I was bad in some way ,either I spent all his money or I was stroppy .He started saying I was the one that was ill ,that I was a bad person ,that I was making him ill ,that I deserved it when he treated me badly because I pushed him to it ,,he started shouting in my face and being agressive and semi violent shoving me ,twisitng my hands ,,which have a painful condition as he was well aware ,,he seemed to watch me for responses and if I cried he mocked me ,,we seperated but stayed close and saw each other ,stayed over often,,however a few weeks back ,for no reason ,I wasnt talking I wasnt ignoring him or contradicting him, I was avoiding any of his normal triggers,he hit me really quite hard with the back of his hand across my face ,,then he seemed to watch to see what I would do he said “there now you can say I abuse you ” ,he kept saying horrible things all the time studying my face for a reaction which I was careful to avoid as I wasnt sure what would make him repeat it ,,did he know he was doing all this ? did he chose to ,,I know he can control his aggression even when hes very ill because hes never violent to his mum wven if he was annoyed with her and met her the same time he was mean to me ,,I just dont understand why hes changed so much

  2. Omg..all you saying you can’t be held responsible for your behaviour…wtf???maybe you all need to be locked up. Be an adult who is proactive in the disease not a child consumed by it.

  3. After an episode of aggressive Mania I often have blackouts and I do not remember what happened during the period while I had the aggressive Mania therefore how in the f*** can I claim responsibility for my actions during those periods that I can’t even recall.

  4. Hello Natasha Tracy.

    [moderated — you can assume it was a bunch of insults against me]

    On topic, I do not believe for even a second that you have any form of mental illness, or you would not be saying any of these things. I call you a phony and a liar, trying to pretend you are one of us. You are not. And if you are the loved one of a Bipolar sufferer, I feel for them, and hope fervently that one day they will be free of the insufferable garbage you spray forth upon the world.

    If this post is removed i will take it as you conceding that you have no response.
    And please stop writing this kind of trash about us just because one mentally ill person hurt your poor widdle feelings.

    • Also, you clearly have no understanding of bio chemistry AT ALL. It is painful reading your fumbling attempts to grasp these concepts and boil them down. It feels like watching a dog try to learn complex mathematics.

  5. Hello – thank you for writing this.

    I care for someone with Bipolar. He “wronged” me (for lack of a better word). He has taken accountability for it and states he regrets his actions, and that actions have consequences, etc.

    He said he does not feel guilty nor did he apologize to ease his conscience. And that his actions have nothing to do with me (which I don’t necessarily believe). What does the no guilt/conscience thing mean?

    I am wondering, to a bp person, does apologizing and owning it help? He has good relationships with others and is very self aware with his illness, it is partly why I like him so much.

    Mostly I want to comfort him and somehow help him if possible in my reactions/actions, but he isn’t really talking to me any longer. He did not say his was sorry nor ever comment on how I must be feeling from his actions, it is what he did and he regrets it and messed up a good thing.

    Whether he speaks to me or not again I still want to learn. Part of me thinks he is jerk who used my kindness without giving much back but another part thinks he is a challenged soul who deserves kindness. I certainly felt that way until he blatantly tried to replace me.

    PS: I’ve known plenty of jerks who are not bp and hurt without remorse. I don’t think this is just a bp thing. I just want to know how the bp thing could be a factor and how to weigh in.

    • I think it’s very difficult to understand the actions of a person with any mental illness, but Bipolar Disorder is one of the most complex, confusing, frightening, and potentially dangerous mental disorders out there.
      Paradoxically people with Bipolar Disorder can go into remission for long periods of time, years even, wherein they show few signs of the illness. They re-establish lives, relationships, and routines consistent with their “real”, ie underlying personality and character, and may seem like the salt if the earth. Then the illness can reassert itself full force, usually in response to some random life trauma.
      The truth is that while you are in the acute phase of this illness you are literally not yourself. Brain chemistry goes crazy. Lives are damaged and sometimes destroyed, including your own, and you are left standingbyhere dazed and confused, and holding the bag of what the disease has left of your shattered life when symptoms subside. It’s horrific. “Moving on” in the way you describe is sometimes the only way to go on for some people who have been through that gauntlet. Sometimes family members/ loved ones and sometimes the person who is ill has to. donthe moving on. Peoplecwantbto make you out to be a terrible person. But, although I was the vehicle for the madness, I am not my illness, and while I can apologize for the havoc it wreaked through me, I cant spend the rest of my life apologizing. I have a right and need for a clean slate. If that cant be given, for real, don’t expect the Bipolar person to hang around for repeated whippings. It wouldnt be good for either of you.
      You stated that he took accountability, and regretted his actions. How is that not an apology? What would it serve to feel guilty over actions he had no real choice about? Why is having him feel guilty a value to you?
      Forgive and move on. If not for his sale for your own.

  6. I’m have bipolar. self diagnosed, i recognise the symptoms all the time. From reading this article its likely that i’m going through psychosis.

    i am so paranoid, its also probably the long term effect of all the drugs i took. i used to be such a fun loving mother and friend. i have never been a good daughter. i was pregnant at 14. My son is now half my age. I still don’t have a stable job. i am assistant manager at a lodge, to a team of unhappy staff. we live-in together, we are overworked to exhaustion, underpayed, and surrounded by cameras and guarded by a security with a dog on his side.

    All these things just make my bipolar worse. im depressed, cant concentrate, it feels like im paralysed. like im incapable of being happy. i know my disease is only getting worse. i feel shame most of the time. I’ll stop there.

    South Africa

  7. I want to say a heart felt “Thank you to everyone who has sgared about this issue, especially those who have figured out that this is a brain disease that takes over a person’s life and is extremely tricky as well as just plain hard to fight. My husband did not stand by me when I became ill. I was demonized, and told that all the good I had done, and the trustworthy, caring person I had been all my life prior to being overwhelmed by this illness was “fake” and a cover for the “real” ie “evil” person I had supposedly been underneath all along. People do not understand the compulsivity involved in a lot of Bipolar behaviors. You’re knee deep before you even know ehat you’re doing, and sometimes you still cant, I mean can not stop yourself. The out of control brain chemistry overtakes you, and it feels like your life is no longer your own. It’s terrifying and shame inducing beyond rational expression.
    My own family abandoned me at first. But leter they behan to have an understanding that I was genuinely handicapped, and came to my aid. In the meantime, I had some harrowing experiences. We are vulnerable, amd the fact is that we are far mote likely to have a crime committed against us than we are to commit one against someone else.
    For those who have family members with Bipolar Disorrder, please try to understand, this is an organic, neirochemical brain disease.
    Your loved one is the same good person you cared about before deep down beneath this cataclysmic disease process. Get them help and support them the way you would want to be if it were you in their shoes, helpless and afraid, despite behaviors that seem to say otherwise.
    Remission is possible!

  8. I am in disbelief that it is 01/02/2016 and I am still in the exact frame of mind as when I posted this in March 2014. I have had heart surgery, jail time, homelessness and 5150s. I want to be accountable, but I just don”t how. Not a good way to start a new year. I would appreciate any good advice. I know I am creating this but cannot stop myself from imploding.

    • Edde. I have a BP WIFE. I Lv her of course. She lives in LA LA land going from one exciting job to the next. Now it’s MLM NO RESponsible for her actions. Our family and home is a drop off location for eating sleep and attention for an hour or so the. Out the door again to prove her self value.

      • Bill Bob: Your statement about your wife using your home as a drop off location for eating, sleep and attention for an hour is my bipolar 19 year old daughter to a T! She refuses to manage her illness with her medication and therapy. She does not take responsibility for anything. I told her she could no longer live in our home until she made the choice to accept treatment so she could better manage her life and that now it is a choice to stay unwell. So she left to go to an apartment in a rough area with no personal belongings, no money and no car to prove that she can make it on her own. Ofcourse she is living with someone who is enabling her poor choices. I love her to pieces even though she has treated me terribly, stolen money from me, wrecked a car that I provided her and lied so much that nothing she says is believable. So now I love her from afar until she feels bad enough to help herself.

  9. Accountability is ownership of the outcome.
    For a person with Bipolar Disorder who has acted out with unacceptable behaviors,
    accountability sounds something like this.
    “I am very sorry for what I did. I recognize that my actions were wrong.
    This happened because my illness took control,
    or I would not have done this.
    I see that you are hurt, and I hurt with you.
    I understand your feelings, and I acknowledge them as valid.
    I deeply regret that I have unintentionally hurt you,
    and I’m very sorry for the pain it has caused you.
    I will do everything I can, while still acknowledging that my illness may interfere uncontrollably,
    in the future., to avoid repeating anything like this.
    I love you, and I hope you can find it in your heart to understand my illness, and to forgive me”

    Responsibility in this case really means “blame”. Though many people still react this way, blame is not appropriate for someone whose bipolar disorder often takes overwhelming control of their feelings thoughts and behaviors.

  10. Thank you for commenting on personal responsibility. I have been dating a guy with schizo-affective disorder. Things were nice at first but now we argue a lot (or at least more than I would like). He turns every augurment into, “I’m the one with the problem” and doesn’t accept any personal responsibility. I have been searching the internet for answers; if they are any as I am at the point to breaking up with him. He likes to talk a lot and he tells me he feels like he is carrying on a dialogue as to him I don’t always answer him back, but I am person that likes to choose my words carefully and think about things before I answer; depending on the conversation. I have tried to explain this to him. Sometimes I don’t like answering him though because he tends to use my words against me, sometimes he will text me about something I said weeks ago that I thought was resolved, but he accuses me…………. When I first met him, I told him truthfully that I still had feelings for my ex-husband but I hoped with time that those feelings would diminish and I thought with making new memories with him that they would. In fact, I hardly think about my ex-husband anymore and I do not feel I am in love with him anymore; but my current BF will not let it go. I have tried to show him how I feel about him by my actions. I feel that I love him, but he is driving me with accusations and not accepting his part in our augurments. I told him that no one is 100% blame or wrong in any relationship but he always thinks he is right……..sometimes after he goes to church to confession he might see that he was mean or rude; and will say he is sorry. We have been having a dilemma on whether we should continue our sexual relationship because of both our religous backgrounds; I am pentecostal but currently backslidden; so I don’t feel the guilt he does when we have sex, but he feels more guilty. For me, I told him I would follow his lead whether we have sex or not. He decided that we should try to be good and not have sex. I was totally okay with this decision. I visited him one weekend and he started making moves that I know would lead to sex so thinking of his struggle, I turned him away. Well he got all upset and I had to remind him that he was the one that decided we should have sex…………..Finally, he calmed down and apologized for being a jerk. He said he thought I was rejecting him……… Okay so a few weeks later, he said it was too hard to not have sexual relations with me; again I was like okay. He stopped going to church so much because of the guilt and having to go confession. So I visited him a few days ago; all week we had “phone sex” and when he visited me a few days earlier he told me how much he wanted me. So when I visited his place, I was ready physically. I brought pretty lingerie to wear. When I first got to his place, I had just got off from work, so I needed a few minutes to just chill; but he was making advances so I asked him to give me a minute. I took a shower purposely alone so I could slip into the lingerie while he took his shower…………when he came out the shower I presented myself, but he turned me away because I wasn’t in the mood when I first walked in the door! I have explained to him before a woman is not built like that, we need time (or at least I do) to warm and I felt dirty because I had just come from work. He told me we weren’t going to have sex and to get dress to go to Walmart. I got to admit, I lost my temper at this point because it feels like he is trying to control me. He brought how I turned him down before. I reminded him that I turned him down because of his guilty feelings.

    At this point, I just feel like he is a control freak and vindictive. I am looking for guidance as to the temperment of schizo-affective personalities. I am at the point of breaking up with him because he has been rude, mean and I feel a control freak. I hesitate in breaking up with him because his last girlfriend hurt him a lot by breaking up with him 5 different times, but I am thinking maybe there was a reason for that.


  11. Thank you for this Natasha. My family and I have been having an extremely difficult time with my sister. We both have Bipolar disorder and I know I have lashed out in the past myself, but with my sister it has gotten to the point that she doesn’t take responsibility and lashes out at us all of the time, to the point that I can’t even go over and visit my family. All these years I have been wracked with guilt thinking she can’t help it, but then the thought comes to me that she still needs to be responsible and take action. When I tell her this, she throws everything back at me. I can’t deal with it as I deal with my own symptoms of bipolar in my own life and its terrible.
    Your article gave me something to think about.

  12. You’ll have forgive me, I’m going to be blunt.. You are WRONG. (I’ve re-phrased this greatly from what I originally wrote before hitting submit.) As someone who has been with someone who suffers from bipolar disorder for the last 30 years, what gives you the idea that you can possibly judge others who may suffer from this disorder based solely on your own experiences. You may have more control in a mania state than others do. Thank whatever deity that you believe in that you do. The best description I’ve ever heard about bipolar disorder is that it is like being in the passenger seat of the car, watching yourself do something stupid, and saying to yourself, “That is really stupid!”, but not being able to changed what you are doing. Bipolar disorder isn’t a cookie cutter diagnosis. Your “honestly” is like saying that all children are human so they learn the same way. I appreciate your right to say what you want to say on your own blog, but I suspect that down the road, after we have mapped the human brain and advanced further in the research of mental disorders we’ll find better ways to treat and help those who suffer from these conditions.

    • You’re right on Jeff. I am bipolar 22 years. Medicated for 10. Gainfully employed. Married. Homeowner.
      SometiMes despite medicine, deep integrity and responsibility traiNing, and meditation…. i still have outbursts and they are just like you said… you are in the passenger seat wAtching yourself
      get angry and yell at your wife best friend parent etc. To state that all
      bipolar pEople must be held 100% accountable for all their outbursts is like
      saying that the metastisized tumor is the cancer patIents fault or that
      starving people in an underdeveloped country are poor because they don’t
      work hard enough. The argument the author puts forth while apparenting
      an attempt to empower mentally ill people in fact diminishes their humanity.

    • Jeff, I am a mother and wife who has been diagnosed with bi-polar 1. I experienced a horrific trauma in 2010 that triggered the onset of this terrible disorder. The prior 38 years of my life were full of joy, accountability, responsibility and everything in between. I know what it is to be A very successful woman with 24 years of solid work, never quitting a job or abandoning anyone or anything. As of 2010, because of bipolar I have been hospitalized 7 times, 4 attempted suicides, worst of all my children were removed frommy care for a period of 6 months. To those who say take accountability, own it, appologize ect…. I lived and comprehend accountabilty, taught young career minded students about values and integrity. I simply and blunty will put it this way. To judge a person with this horrific disease is nothing but one more way to avoid looking at yourself and what you should do to take your own accountability. It is clear the person initiating this blog has been hurt or offended by someone with bipolar. Please educate yourself a bit more on an issue that even have the best mental health experts stumped.

      So, all that being said. My point is, thank you Jeff. You seem like a true loving and devoted husband. I know first hand what this can do to relationships. You are a true inspiration for many people to learn from. I wish you and your loved ones the very best.

      • For the many who are mis-diagnosed and labeled miserably and the few who are doing battle as best as they know how. GOD BLESS, PROTECT and WATCH OVER your precious children. My heart breaks for every article I read. In part, what I battle watching my 39 year old son try to overcome, try to maintain and not hate or resent his life.

        Any DIS EASE in life is not for us to judge and a lesson in human forgiveness. Battle on folks, you are NOT your disease, you should not be labeled and don’t quit. Your family or friends love you and those who you have chosen to share this information about yourself with should be the trustworthy one. Blessings, a Mom trying her encouraging, supportive and loving best.

  13. Thank you so much for writing this article. I was married for 16 years to someone who is schizoaffective (for those not familiar with the term, that means both bipolar and schizophrenic), and I attended a support group for people with mental illness for years. And while many such people due everything they can to manage their illness and take personal responsibility, my ex was one of those who used his illness as an excuse. By the time we divorced, he had no job (I was fully financially supporting us, sometimes working 80 hours a week), he did barely any housework, spent money faster than I could earn it, and would become physically violent towards himself, inanimate objects, and towards me. He sat around all day playing video games and going bowling, all the while I made his doctors appointments, filled out all his paperwork, did most of the housework, and all the errand running. When I finally became so exhausted that I realized he was going to have to start helping out some because I was starting to break, that’s when he really started having outbursts. Finally he divorced me and moved back in with his parents. I’m so glad he divorced me because I felt too guilty to divorce a sick man. But looking back, I don’t think I would have survived much longer. Sadly, many of the support groups I went to just became complaining sessions where people would take turns justifying each others’ behavior, almost no matter what. And all the psychiatrists would do is raise their medication levels. So God bless you for talking about personal responsibility. Yes, the illness is very real, and can be extremely difficult, but in the end, if the patient takes responsibility where ever possible, it ultimately makes their life better, too, and not just everyone around them.

  14. I don’t chat…..but I do now! I am the mother and ready for the psych. couch over my 38 yr old son. NEED help and you guys have his issues to a degree. I shall be short and “long for” your comments, no pity needed. At age 29 my son had a near fatal car accident, YES he was drinking (dual dx. unfound at the time) after an ankle crush (riveting pain) there were hospital notes of concussion. the ankle was sooooooo bad no one paid attention to that. broken hip surgery came the next few days, rehab. hospital 6 months hospital bed at home, etc. etc…..horrible for him, but I have been crying out head injury for years….this TRAUMA took place Halloween 2006. I’m now broke*, we now live together, his “significant other” said he was no fun and she left him. He did work, but the ankle pain grew, xrays now show bone on bone. REFUSED SOCIAL SECURITY….he WAS gonna keep going, like living in denial….I helped him*. Well, I was wrong, a Bi-polar dx came this past December after I forced a psych. evaluation. Have gone round and round with the doctors and round and round with lawyers and in my practical loving ways have gone round and round in my head asking what in the world are we faced with ??????…. Accidents and Impulsivity… thinks he can have a few beers with the guys pre-oxycodone days…..UNBELEIVEABLE hard luck, next to no luck at all….2015, ahye, yes Bi-polar answered all my queries. That’s the story! Here are the questions. I kept my son safe, jail free, pd. most medical bills pain management charges $50 a month FOR SEVEN YEARS then the cost of rx. and they went to morphine with the “new” rules, but my son has the same old injury of a tri-malleaor ankle crush…that didn’t change, the pain meds/rx reduced and he says morphine hardly works after both oxy’s. Doc added neurotin, seroquil and some mood disorder pill that begins with a D….AND meloxicam for inflammation and then omeprazole for his stomach. I figured bi-polar accurate based on teenage days once he moved in with me to observe his day to day. I swear to him the bone on bone ankle pain is bad YES. BUT the dx. of Bi-polar reassures me whatever pain he already has is MANIFESTED, DOUBLED, WORSE, EXAGGERATED as Bi-polar is a brain thing and it’s in his mind, his processing. Fatigue is bad, ridiculous reasoning, he doesn’t know when to stop, he helps others before himself, hygiene nasty, wore out the carpet on a smoking path to the outside of the house! TELL ME PLEASE, AM I WRONG, HE HURTS YES, he has legitimate pain, too young for ankle replacement, fusion will sit him down for 3 months non-weaight bearing he gains much weight and then that hurts the ankle too. BUT HAVING BI-POLAR MAKES JOINTS AND PAIN WORSE YEAH OR NAY???????????????????? BiPolar
    mis-firing in the mind makes him FOCUS just on ankle in anger and makes pain worse? Yeah or nay? If surgery isn’t an option right now, SOMEKIND of therapy he agrees to participate in could help him RIGHT?

    NOW LET ME TAKE A MINUTE TO SAY: If you have felt lost, someone you cared about left you, family refused to help you, lost the job and or hobby you loved, I TRULY, truly say how sorry I am this took place in your life. As you are already doing right here, share in support and information …while you may want to cry and complain- how generous you are to reach to help another, keep it up. I was very impressed with you guys and gals out there. Thank you, I love my son so much it kills me to see him in such pain and battle the mind, he said he knew and was afraid of families thoughts about him and insurance declining him for coverage.

  15. First of all,there is no way in the world to be absolutely certain anyone you marry won’t cheat.
    About 75% of husbands cheat. That is actually how many who will ADMIT they cheat. Be realistic.
    You haven’t mentioned a substance abuse problem. That makes the likeliness that he will cheat even higher.
    Get A safety deposit box in your name only. Don’t get married until you have saved enough money for a year of expenses that you never touch. Don’t tell him or anyone else you have this. It’s your “if my world falls apart” fund.
    Unless you enjoy suffering, and have the patience and forgiveness of a Saint, don’t marry someone who is bipolar unless you are sure you can take WHATEVER comes. Do not be someone who marries one of us and then leaves because their bipolar spouse is acting bipolar. That will only be adding o the despair and instability of HIS life. Remember, you have an escape hatch (divorce) but he cannot get away from this brain diseasle Don’t play your advantage and stay or go because you feel like it, that would really be immoral. Just as it would if you dumped a spouse with cancer. This disease is progressive. It will probably get worse over time. Do some research and really find out what you’re letting yourself in for. You owe it to both of you not to say “in sickness and in health” unless you’re dead certain you can take care of him, and you want to. A marriage with someone bipolar is very likely to be a caregiving marriage. You woke be marrying someone who has probably the worst brain disease out there. Parkinson’s? Pffff! Alzheimer’s? Too disconnected to really do much damage. Bipolar Diorder is an organic, neuro-chemical brain disease. The moods are only symptoms. The tip of the iceberg. Beside which if you have children with someone who is bipolar, any child you have will have a 50% chance of being born with the genes for this disease. Tread very carefully here, my dear, you are headed “where angels fear to tread”. I’m Bipolar I and I have left the proverbial “trail of bodies” in my wake. Never intentionally. My disease makes one’s impulses often impossible to resist. I wish you all the best.

    • Angela, I’m 49 and have never cheated on a woman in my life. Current research says women are more likely in some cases to cheat then men. The stero-types are not very accurate as I’ve always suspected. They do say men and women cheap for different reasons and my story of course is just anecdotal but their it is. This every guy is running around the corner cheating on his love is just wrong. Men don’t just think about sex. We do feel unloved if we aren’t getting it but that is a big difference. Many of us value a good woman if we can find one as the most valuable thing in the world. With a priceless thing beyong comparison and only ask for the same in return. WN PA

  16. Holding one accountable for true bipolar-induced behavior is no difference than holding one accountable for insulin-induced behavior, or cancer-induced behavior.

    They are all diseases that affect one’s actions. You cannot pick and choose.

    • Sort of. Will reply in full when feeling a little better. There ar variables here of lenght intensity and so on to consider. As a BP it’s easy to pawn of responsibility and just as others to take away my rights. Cancer and diabetes both have these variable in similar mostly way. A few are different, but I suppose maybe not much at all or at all. WN in PA

  17. I have been searching for clarity with the man i am in love with. My soon to be husband was diagnosed 3 years ago, He did everything under the sun when married and not knowing what was wrong with him. We have known each other since high school. However we fell in love and he was open about his disorder. He choose not to be
    with anyone sexually or dating for a year in a half. He wanted to find himself and figure out who and how he wants to be as a man with this illness, Everything was great for the first 4 months. His medication stopped working so they switched him then they need to again because its not working. He is really depressed and shutting me out. Not even knowing it. We dont fight, yell, or disrespect each other and he always tells me he loves me. He even brings me flowers every couple of weeks. Not lately. which is ok! But, we have not had sex since feb and he said
    there is no drive there because of the depression and the meds. How do I know if he is cheating on me and is this just a side affect. We are supposed to be married in 3 months. I can deal with the highs and lows, but noth the cheating. He tells me he hasn’t and wont because he does not want to be that person now knowing what he has. He says its too much work and its not worth loosing what he has.. Please help shed some light please…

  18. As a person with rpaid cycle bipolar, I definitely believe in accountability… preventative measures, like medications, getting enough rest, maintaining a regular schedule and for me lots of exercise should always be taken seriously. As well as learning to recognize your triggers, and using meds as soon as you feel overwhelmed, anxious edgy ect. Sometimes though despite doing all these thing to the best of my ability I still have outbursts, or extremely over react… I don’t know if it will always be like this, as I have been under extreme amounts of stress lately due to yet another court battle over my son. Also I recently decided to halt all self medicating with alcohol and Marijuana, well not super recently but about six months ago, and the edges are sharper now, although the benefits far outweigh this sharpness… I am finally dealing with this head on, trying to do everything I can to manage my crazy emotions. I’m luck to have a small but extremely supportive and understanding network of people in my life now… but my point is sometimes I still have outbursts and say and do thing I m horrified by. I find in that talking it out with those affected by me, apologizing and trying to explain works wonders, for them and for my conscience

  19. This is relative to the severity of your Bipolar Disorder. Some people are more compulsively driven than others by this disorder. No blanket statement can be made as to what someone is responsible for because it depends on the person’s capacity to make rational decisions and take reasonable actions. We don’t adequately recognize in our society that there are people who cannot be held responsible for their actions. Who is anyone else ever to say that someone is “using Bipolar Disorder as an excuse” It’s not an excuse but it is a reason. If a person can’t formulate consent and they can’t formulate intentionality they are not culpable. The truth is true whether people like it or not.

  20. I think think you should take accountability in the sense you must clean up the mess that could have been made when you were ill. I don’t think you need to take full responsibility for your actions though, especially when your manic. I think your not putting in here the fact that many people who have gone through a manic episode didn’t know they had bipolar in the first place. I take accountability for my actions in the sense I tell people close to me what happened. I don’t apologize for being manic the first time around (my only time), because I didn’t know. I have absolved myself of the guilt and embarrassment for what I did when I was manic. It wasn’t my fault. I think the law many times wouldn’t agree with you. When someone has mental health reasons that influenced their behavior they get a much different sentence. I don’t feel like I was in control of my actions when I was manic. I suggest as an advocate you also help people be forgiving of themselves. People with Bipolar are way to hard on themselves for what they did when they were sick!.

  21. I’m actually just trying to understand a relationship I’m in and out of. I hope that’s not to voyeuristic, but I don’t know what I’d contribute. I have to say thanks, though. This has been the most pertinent and informative forum I’ve checked out. Thanks again

  22. I have a really great husband and three beautiful kids who I seem to treat really badly, at least once a week. I know that I am responsible but also know that I cannot stop the hurt I am dishing out. It just feels like if it doesn’t get out I will explode. My skin crawls and I feel like pulling my hair out and hurting myself so I lash out instead.
    Just diagnosed bipolar so still trying out the meds to find one that can control my moods and obsessive behavior and anxiety. Yes, I am responsible for all I say and do, I just can’t stop it though.

    • I feel great sympathy for you Claire. So lucky (I believe) I never had children. Can’t even imagine having this disease and having to care for children. Even the thought over the years has boggled my mind. You can only do the best you can and if you get too bad just stay away from your kids if you must and can. Explain to your children
      that it is an illness like all others and you are sick.
      You are not responsible for everything. You are sick. Always keep that in mind. If someone has a sudden heart attack while driving they aren’t at fault. Neither are you. Others will most likely make you feel so, don’t buy it.
      Hope it works out. WN

    • Your wonderful husband will react to this if said privately and calmly.
      Then TELL the children (and husband) what your illness is all about. Tell them what your symptoms are, and apologize before hand.
      “I have an illness that makes me nervous, irritable, I say mean things w/o thinking, it makes me act out in thoughtless ways. I become insensitive and many times I show hurtful actions–but it’s when the illness is in full battle array–it’s not me. I’m feel helpless when it happens”.
      “And it’s not your fault.”
      ” It’s like trying to laugh when your eye was just poked out w/ a stick”. Kids aren’t as stupid as some would think. “For no reason you can feel like the dog died”. Kids know that feeling. You can’t control your crappy behavior b/c you haven’t found the correct meds yet. Tell them. Many permanent illness’ can cause the chitty, mean, unwarranted reactions we bear w/ them. You are teaching them tolerance at best w/ an explanation.
      In the mean time ask/beg for their understanding, and again tell them how SORRY you are for hurting them.
      Hug them when you can. Reward them for trying to understand. Kids are so forgiving.
      You can stop some of it, you don’t sound like you’re above reproach when feeling sane.
      Maybe a tranq or two in the hopeful interim.

    • I totally disagree but the author of this article… it’s like saying some of that a seizure she took my medication… I hope you got the attention you one of the article cuz you just leave out a few people up

  23. Dear Natasha,
    Thanks so much for your brave and brilliant writing! I have thought about this topic a lot. I remember how my doctor told me months after my first full blown mania, when I started to realize I had caused people pain, especially my husband and children “well, that was not you who did that, it was your mania!” I did not like that view and still don’t. It is ALWAYS me who chooses to behave in a certain way. It is ALWAYS me who decides to pick some stranger in a club and tell him or her all about the universe. It is ALWAYS me who stays up all night to write mails and check my facebook account all the time. It is me who skips the meds. It is me who knows I desperately need some sleep and don’t allow myself to calm down. It is me who spends. Me who drinks. Always me and not my bipolar. My bipolar doesn’t have legs, money or a car. It has no knowledge of the German and the English language. It cannot scream at beloved ones or work 24/7. It has no clue how to write an email, search the internet or use a credit card.
    And so…
    The short and ugly truth is that we indeed are accountable for what we do, be it in the wings of (hypo)mania or under the grip of severe depression. We can and should choose to change our behaviour, our thoughts in ways that provide us with a bigger chance of recovery than just strolling along with what bp tells us.
    Lots of love and support to y’all! It really makes a difference to me to know you are out there. Dear Natasha, your blog is so supportive and inspiring. I can only hope that you get some of the good vibrations back:-)))) good night from Germany, Melody

    • If only it were that simple Melody. I don’t think it is. Thinking we have more control then we do is part of being alive. For those with BP and those without. Good night from a shitty part of the US. Wish I was in Germany. I loved it there. WN

  24. I agree on accountability. I speak from my own experience with Bipolar. The times I was so depressed that I attempted to take my life, to the times I felt that I had all the answers and could do no wrong was when I was off my medication. The first step is to except there is a problem and address the issue with your doctor. I consider my disorder no different than any other disorder and it is my responsibility to work to keep my disorder in check. I also agree with Stevie Nicks were she talks about how someone with bipolar feels after they hurt someone they care for. It is anguish for us. We continue to play the event over and over in our head that left unchecked would very well throw us straight into depression. I truly believe normal people do not understand how events effect our thought process and how much we live inside our heads.

  25. I too, fall on the side of accountability. If there’s something I did or said that was out of line-don’t worry –I know it.
    It will bother me all night. I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, but I have to feel good about me.
    If I did wrong, I will find a way to admit it, and make things right. somehow.
    Otherwise, my self esteme becomes an issue.
    I can’t chit on others and feel good about me.
    Many times I’ve felt, that we’re seen as “soul-less” b/c of the stigma of this illness. Blathering idiots even.
    Others detache themselves in a heartbeat, when one admits to having a mental illness.
    B/c they can’t relate or are afraid of you. It’s contagious. You’re just a heap of bones covered in skin.

    I don’t want to be the one who leaves the party only to have the leftover sane women talking about the awful things I said’ or ‘did’ . I try to smooth out what happened or explain what made me say, what I said, before I leave.
    It takes a lot to trigger me, but they’re pros.
    I admit to using the white lie- that I have fibromyalgia. The crap I’ve covered up using that illness is a lifesaver.
    It has a myriad of the same symptoms.
    I can’t tell my family what I have. No. No one I know is interested in reading the DSMV <?
    Or Bipolar for dummies either. They like to lump mental illness' into schizophrenia, or schizophrenia.
    Bipolar would be somewhere in the North Pole. You know, near Santa.
    And I can't change them, they are who they are.
    I just want peace. When out, I'll sit in that chair, w/ my faux cocktail, and smile. My husband knows my signals, (about when we're leaving). And just when I've heard enough 'triggers' from family, about my shoes, house, clothes or my life and how I conduct it, I see my mental bar lights blinking off and on-
    and I know, it's closing time.
    Sane women pull all kinds of crap to piss you off. Sane my buttocks. Most sane women are freekin crazy.
    And many sane women don't care what they say or who they hurt. Especially if they drink. Especially my family.
    Owning fault? That's just our problem.
    They rarely take responsibility in what hurt they've caused others–and they're bipolar-less!
    They don't care. They don't have that gene.
    It's is us 'crazies' who write on a blog, and feel guilt, on owning up to our faults.
    So I guess, I do, I will, I should …..but do I like to? it depends……. xoxoxox's

    • “Sane women pull all kinds of crap to piss you off. Sane my buttocks. Most sane women are freekin crazy.”
      And many sane women don’t care what they say or who they hurt.”

      Why is it, and it’s likely rhetorical, that “sane” people can blow up over the most inane things – throw past arguments and beotching up in your face, time and again – decide, at often the last moment, that they do not like something and go off OR decide to pull a “I’m not going” chit… or, decide to withdraw and isolate and refuse to speak to you, etc..

      and it’s perfectly justified and okay for them to do so?

      you have to “see” their point, agree with their justification, understand that perhaps they are angry over something and are taking it out on you… or that they are in need of venting

      but when one, for whom they know has Bipolar, were or was to do anything even remotely similar…. it’s not okay, it’s not justified, it’s not valid and you are labeled the biggest beotch or basturd
      or better yet…. “you are abusing me with your anger and your verbal words!”

      It’s okay for them to call you a little beotching chit… but you try calling them one?

      They can abuse the he-double hockey sticks… out of you, but, do not try to defend yourself or be upset yourself… you may then be questioned as to “did you take your meds? Why don’t you just calm down, behave, and take a pill.”

      • Not the writing style I perhaps would ever use, but very well-made points. No-one and I mean no-one is perfect on this little world of ours!

  26. My last-ditch behavior-protection strategy is to metaphorically lock myself in a cage and hang a sign on the outside that says, “Beware of Bear: Do Not Feed.”

    Non-metaphorically, this means going into a room or space that other people do not need to be (not the kitchen or bathroom, not the middle of the main hallway on the floor, etc.) after having notified anyone who lives with me that my bipolar is flaring up badly and I’m just plain not fit to be around human beings.

    This isn’t a “solution”–it’s a stop-gap for when I’ve already left my doc voicemail to say something is badly wrong.

    I don’t expect others to wait on me, take care of me, or walk on eggshells around me.

    This is *strictly* a matter of creating a quarantine zone between my behavior and other people—and most of the time what I’m afraid I might do is be insensitive to their feelings, or fall apart in a crying, suicidal crisis, or generally be real awful to be around, or “act weird”—way weirder than their threshhold of weird, anyway, or yeah, yell a bunch of things I’ll really regret later.

    When that happens, it really sucks to be me. I would rather not “share” that suckosity with other people who *don’t* absolutely have to go through it.

    Unfortunately, I *have* had more than one person in the course of my life be the kind of person who would take these fragile times as an opportunity to poke me with a pointy stick and escalate the drama. I haven’t had that happen in a long while because I select against that variety of crazy in people I hang with.

  27. I *somewhat* agree with you on this one, and somewhat disagree. While in the midst of an episode, a bipolar person has diminished capacity. One of the questions with diminished capacity is if you did it to yourself—did you get drunk before you got behind the wheel. It’s so soundly established now that treatment is necessary if you have a mental illness, that IF you know you have a mental illness and IF you then don’t attempt to gain and responsibly participate in treatment, you’re diminishing your own capacity.

    Now, if you didn’t diminish your own capacity, the next question is if you knew your capacity was diminished. So, for example, if someone else spikes my drink with alcohol without my knowledge or consent, but I recognize I’m drunk, I can’t go out and get behind the car with the excuse that I didn’t choose to drink the alcohol.

    Where I think it’s important is when you have diminished capacity, it matters how you attempted to mitigate its effect on others. If you are hypersexual, and others know it, and you are staying home because you feel hypersexual, to protect yourself from the risks of acting out, and someone you’re attracted (enough) to—knowing this—comes over to your house to try to seduce you, somehow lets themselves in (you didn’t open the door), and you have sex with them, I think diminished capacity applies.

    You messed up, it hurt your partner (assume it was cheating). But you had diminished capacity AND you took steps to attempt to minimize the risks associated with your diminished capacity AND you had someone with full capacity intervene to subvert your efforts.

    It’s understandable for your spouse ot be mad, you should be sorry and apologize, but the “real” question is how to ensure the full-capacity, intentional subverter does not have access to you anymore.

    Say you’ve locked up your money and credit cards to make it harder to spend, you’ve tried not to be around people, and a toxic “friend” comes over, persuades you in your diminished state to join a friendly poker game, and “loans” you the money to play. Again, someone else’s intentional subversion sabotaged your self-care efforts, and the responsible answer is to cut the toxic person out of your life. And I would argue that you don’t owe the money, either, if they *knew* you had diminished capacity and *knew* you’d taken active measures to avoid the risk.

    Those are fairly unlikely, but we can accidentally pick up some strangely toxic friends, so it’s worth mentioning.

    The *likely* one is when you are feeling unstable, you withdraw from people while you’re addressing the meds issue with your doc, you tell someone you’re unstable and to leave you alone, and they insist on picking right then to get in your face and pick a fight. In the kinds of crazy families we tend to encounter, a family with one or more members who *seek people out* when they’re unstable and in a state of diminished capacity *for the purpose of picking fights* —- Sorry, but in my experience having more than one of those toxic relatives in your extended family, or toxic acquaintances, is far more likely than not.

    It’s not an excuse for *choosing* to cut loose and be a brat when such a person shows up. However, if someone shows up when you’ve withdrawn and *tries* to make you lose control, and succeeds, I don’t care that it’s not popular to say so, that is THEIR fault.

    We can try to minimize the number of toxic people in our lives or minimize the amount of time spent interacting with them, but we frequently can’t *perfectly* insulate ourselves from toxic people who deliberately take advantage of us when we’re most vulnerable.

    When a predator seeks us out to prey on us, the *predator* is responsible for the drama that ensues.

    All we can do in the aftermath is attempt to reduce risk by using that event, if necessary, to support cutting off that person’s ability to have contact with us.

    The point with diminished capacity is, “Did you do what you could?”

    Sometimes, recognizing that a toxic person is taking advantage of your illness and holding them accountable for that bad act IS part of “doing what you can.”

    But to be emotionally willing to do that, you have to be willing to recognize that in cases that *should* be rare, what you do really is someone else’s fault. In order to prevent you doing crappy stuff again, you have to embrace the functional solution of recognizing predators as toxic people and cutting them out of your life.

    So, components of responsibility for our mental health: 1) tried to minimize time spent dimished (treatment); 2) tried to self-isolate from opportunity to behave badly specifically while diminished; 3) acknowledged knowing sabotage by someone else as predation and took reasonable, achievable steps to try to remove the toxic person; 4) where removing predator is difficult, pointed out predation to support circle to get help separating you and the toxic person.

    Obviously, not everyone who picks at you until you explode when you’ve said, “I’m not fit to be around people right now,” needs to be cut out of your life forever. SOMETIMES it works to go back to that person when you’re stable again and explain to them why they should never, never, never, ever do that again. Sometimes they genuinely didn’t realize they were hitting your last line of defense against personal bad behavior and didn’t mean to do a terrible thing.

    Basically, it’s just like when you’re extremely suicidal, going to the ER or crisis center. You realize that you’re non compos mentis and need to be temporarily in the custody of sane and rational adults.

    Bipolar disorder isn’t the only mental health problem in the world. Sometimes people who do not have bipolar disorder have a personality disorder that draws them disproportionately to us bipolar people, and leads them to have their condition interact badly with ours. Narcissists, sociopaths, the occasional borderline, OCPD–their crazy mixed with our crazy can make a toxic brew. Holding THEM responsible for THEIR crazy is frequently the only way we can count on being able to responsibly manage our own. Sometimes you just have to say, “Hey, you and i can’t be crazy around each other. Bad things can happen.”

    Part of taking responsibility is doing what works. One of the traps we are vulnerable to getting caught in is hanging our heads and saying, “It’s all my fault, I’m a crappy person!” — when what we need to do to avoid behaving in crappy ways is hold other people responsible for their part, too, and then be proactive about our risks.

    Sorry this is long, obviously it punches my buttons.

  28. This absolutely resonates. It hit me like a ton of bricks that I damaged relationships left, right, and center with men because of my impulsive, erratic, bipolar behavior. My 20s were a wreck and I was involved in seedy behavior with seedy people, putting myself in extremely dangerous and scary situations. And sometimes I would a get a high from it… from escaping the danger! Looking back now, I understand that I was in and out of various mood states, flipping from suicidality and a couple of weak suicide attempts, to extremely reckless behavior, and impulsive decision-making. I was unable to gain control. I somehow managed to make it through graduate school, and stay out of legal trouble. That was a gift. I am gainfully employed in my field and have a high level of performance.

    But I finally realized that these mood swings, the depressive episodes, the complete unpredictability was my own illness rearing it’s ugly head and a key reason why my longest relationship, most fulfilling (to the level that I am capable of feeling fulfilled in relationship) did not result in marriage. I was the major cause of the disintegration. Having said that, I have been single for over 11 years, which I believe is due to the swinging moods, and difficulty tolerating closeness and vulnerability. I may be very excited about a date at 10am, and by 6pm, the idea of the date is agonizing, tortuous, extreme feelings of DREAD, and I have made up a lie to cancel. The dark hole rears its ugly head, and I feel empty, sad, vulnerable, and depressed.

    The way I have coped in my 30s is to keep my circle small. There are people in my life, and one has bipolar 1, that cannot understand the depths of the pain. The friend with bipolar 1 says she only wants to think of positive things because she doesn’t want to be brought down. I don’t stay in good touch with these people when I am in a severe depressive episode, so as to not trigger myself or say something I will regret. Again, very isolating.

    With the inner circle friends, I will see them, but I strongly limit what I say and express. They don’t know how much I think about the darkness, and emptiness, and dread, and how I wish it would all end, and how I am going to get through each day. They don’t know how much I think about death and how morbid I am inside. I put on a different face because I don’t want to be alone, and they don’t want to hear about the darkness, nor can anyone really handle it. It’s a burden.

    I have no relationship skills with men, because I am not stable enough to deal with conflict. I have apologized to friends when the moodiness and terrible outbursts, and overreactions, and bursting into tears for no reason, disrupt our relationship. Lucky for me, they accept my apology and I try to not repeat it. When I tell them I haven’t slept all night, my mind is racing, random thoughts popping into my head left right and center, that I can’t stop them, they tell me they understand… it’s that I have responsibilities and we all have things we stress over. G*d bless them for trying to relate! It’s so hard for them to understand what that means and what that feels like and how irrational it is, and that there isn’t an external cause for the racing mind…. They don’t understand that “normal” is not my baseline. Depression is my baseline with random spikes of feeling “high,” which is triggered almost immediately by little to no sleep. The danger is that after the high, comes the plunging depression which is more excruciating and severe than the high was.

    The high part has been made apparent at work, when one co-worker told me I keep pacing the halls back and forth. The interesting thing is I had no idea I was doing it. Low and behold, within 12 hours, I was hypomanic and spinning.. did not eat and felt high, impatient, adrenaline, and all the other stuff. I loved it! But I hated the irritability and low patience that always accompanies it. To no surprise, the next day, a mild depression came on.

    So, I wonder, how will I connect and relate to any man with this chaos inside.. the thoughts and feelings, and erratic moods… who will love me and accept me? who can I even tell? what would they say? are they capable of handling it? would they want to? do I have the skills to even make it work? It’s too much for me to bear, and no one knows (well now my therapist and pdoc know)… no one in my personal life/social circle knows. I hide it. I am extremely high functioning.

    Well, I am learning how to control my outbursts, though I still cry often at work, but privately, and I am learning that the intensity of my mood will pass, no matter which way it goes. I am learning conflict resolution skills. I am learning to take a moment before I respond when I am triggered. I fail at these coping strategies very often. Very often. But I try and I am successful SOME of the time. I am still struggling with a sense of being overwhelmed when people talk to me for too long about the mundane, minute details of unimportant things. It’s overloading to my mind, and to my senses, to listen and empathize to mundaneness, and overly detailed stories that aren’t very significant. I do NOT do small talk! I do not set boundaries around those conversations.

    What can I say? I am learning how to live with this illness and not damage anymore relationships that come along, and I am learning that I may have to live with the darkness tucked away, deep inside, without a single other person ever knowing.

      • Hi Maria,
        I am on wellbutrin 300mg XL, lamictal 200mg, trazodone for sleep, .5mg klonopin for anxiety as needed (about 2 times a week). The meds are helping me from spiraling as low into the deep depression. I feel a little hypo at times but it’s manageable. The normal days are more often now.

  29. When I first received an official diagnosis of Bipolar, it was 2006. I had completed, yet another, inpatient stay stemming from what I call my mixed mania states as “squirrely”.

    In being diagnosed with the disorder, after nearly 30 years of being told I was simply Major Depressive… I “knew” in my mind and soul, that Bipolar was accurate and I’ve still known, these years later. I do not argue the diagnosis and have received it, time and again.

    However; in “knowing” that I had Bipolar… I set about engrossing myself in ALL things Bipolar related. Whether it was books, movies, internet, etc. I had to learn about the disorder to understand it. In doing so; I realized that much of what behavior I had exhibited for some time, was most likely due to a mood episode and not fully realizing that it was that – a mood episode.

    So, I tried aggressively to have my family ALSO understand. I tried to explain why things happen and where I might screw up and how the meds are supposed to help, etc.. and they had no want or desire to know any of it. They kept commenting, repeatedly, throughout that 1st year “So, you are blaming all your shit on a mental illness?”

    Years have passed, the need and want to explain has so long ago went away. I’ve engaged myself more and more into therapy and therapeutic techniques/tools, etc… I am not as vehement or as engrossed in of ALL things Bipolar and I’ve tried so hard to keep Bipolar from magnifying, controlling and manifesting within my life.

    Only… certain factions of the family have not forgotten 2006 and it’s been 8 years beyond it. A older sister has commented, recently, how she does not “see you as mentally ill like other people. You are not as mentally ill anymore.”

    I just hide it better and I try to recognize my contribution in whatever may pop. I recognize that I do have some contribution to all things and in as such, I am both accountable and responsible. I do not always catch myself, but I’ve gotten better at it over the years… I try to minimize as much collateral damage as is possible.

    The less damage is incurred when you hide yourself.

  30. Something of topic Natasha. Kevin Trudeau 10 years state prison. I hope the True Hope people are next. I’m going to write him in jail and see what he knows. Maybe some good treatment and some snacks and I’ll fing something out? W.N.

  31. Okay Natasha and others, I am going to go way out on a limb for the greater good of the group on this one and give you my account of the struggles I have had to overcome in my past. Don’t say I didn’t warn you and please don’t judge me.
    I would like to comment on this issue about bipolar responsibility. Up until the time I was about 35yrs old, I was able to keep my BP in check. I actually benefited from it, using my hypomania or mania to work longer hours at an unheard of pace. I spent 17yrs in healthcare management, until 2000 when my dual diagnosis began to kick in. It was quite convenient because I injured my back and what started from a regiment of Vicoden and Somas grew to something else entirely. My pain from the herniated discs was so intense, that the effects of the pharmaceuticals began to lessen. I had used cocaine somewhat socially in the past, but this time it would completely take over my world.
    I was the Director of Finance for a healthcare management organization bringing in revenues in excess of 100mil annually. I was right there at the helm running the show, right in the middle of a crisis situation. I would never use at the office, but when I left, it was party on. For the next three straight years I would still be on a strict regimen of Vicoden and Soma, but now I would also be adding a toxic daily mixture of Cocaine, Marijuana, Alcohol, Xanax, Valium, Rohypnol along with my BP meds Seroquel, Depakote, and occasionally Lithium.
    In 2003, life became completely unmanageable for me. I began going into a drug induced BP psychosis scenario. I had always been an avid hunter, so I had both a 9mm Glock and a HK G3 assault rifle. I would barricade myself in my house, and field strip these weapons obsessively. The psychosis would always rear its head and I would be on the inside of my front door literally hearing people trying to come into my home. I would even be arguing back and forth with these people through the door. It was during this time that I somehow, someway, abandoned my job, and I also decided to keep my company laptop and was consequently arrested for felony theft of the laptop. I was so embarrassed, I had never had a record, never been to jail and here I was screwing up my life. I was placed on deferred adjudication felony probation for four years and given 400hrs of community service along with fines and restitution. I thought this time I was going to stay clean but less than one year later, I relapsed and was arrested buying Cocaine in a drug sting. Since I violated my probation with yet another potential felony, I spent 31 days in county jail without bail before being release awaiting trial. Fortunately, my father went to school here in Houston with a very famous defense attorney by the name of Richard “Racehorse” Haynes. If you have not heard of the man, he is on Wikipedia, check it out. Since I had close ties, it ONLY cost me $40K as a retainer to enlist his help. There went a large part of my 401K. My court in Houston was 183rd and that was Judge Joan Huffman. I would now go in front of her yet again, but now for a drug charge. In Houston, any amount of Cocaine carries a sentence of 1.5yrs state prison. Mr. Haynes postponed my trial eight times trying to get some sort of leniency for me due to my mental status. After the eight visit, my judge Joan Huffman left the bench and was appointed Senator District 17 in Texas. She was also replaced by a new judge, a stand-in if you may, until the position was filled permanently. It just so happened that this temporary judge learned law from Mr. Haynes, and as a result worked a deal for me to plead guilty to possession in exchange for 2yrs additional probation that would run concurrent with the three years I already had left. The good part, no prison, the bad part, two felonies, an extra $27K and I would really never be able to work again in my field with a criminal background.
    After completion of all my legal issues in 2007 and completion of two stints in a mental hospital, I have been completely clean for a little over ten years. Even though I knew there was nothing left under my control, I also knew I began this snowball of destruction. I had been BP for 35yrs and a highly functioning addict for 18yrs. So it is quite difficult for me to say who is responsible for what specific thing. I mean, I didn’t ask to be BP, but I willingly self medicated, I didn’t ask for the psychosis, but I did bring it on. I don’t remember keeping my laptop, but the courts showed zero compassion for me being BP, unlike all the movie stars out there that just get a slap on the hand. Now I guess I am fortunate, because the BP meds brought on Kidney Disease, specifically Topamax. Then the meds brought on Diabetes and Neuropathy of both feet. With the weight gain I also have Sleep Apnea, and then the Diabetes has brought on Pre-Glaucoma due to the high pressures in both eyes. So why do I say I am fortunate, I do so because now I qualify for SSDI. Not only can I not find work, I cannot work if I wanted to. Ten years of not working, losing my car, my health, my mind, my bank account, my 401K and almost my marriage, kids and home really sucks. But I wake up every morning thankful for everything I still have and the relationships I either still have or have mended. , Someday, hopefully, I will be ability to somewhat harness everything. I couldn’t feel better. js

  32. Wow this is powerful. Accountability is important and i truely want to put this into practice more. Im blessed to have an amazing wife to help me too. I am also very blessed that I have the Lord Jesus to give me strength and Joy in the hard times

  33. I unfortunately agree. I have been in denial for some time now about my BP diagnosis. I definitely fall into the “enjoying the hypomania state” category which has led to this denial. I have also used the excuse for my behaviors that you (my loved ones) do not understand how difficult it is to be me! Now, my greatest fear has come true – I am completely alone, with no one to call or even to use as an emergency contact. I am in legal trouble, financial trouble and trouble recognizing any personal strength. I do not know how I am going to be accountable for the mess that I have made with my life. The last friend that I had in the world, whom I have known for decades, let me go last year with the phrase “you are untrustworthy”. I may be untrustworthy to others, but I know I can trust myself because I will be accountable for my actions. Thanks for this uncomfortably honest blog.