I am Bipolar.
In the various cycles I experience, I’ve done some pretty horrible things. I’ve hurt a lot of people over the years and caused much damage to others. There have been financial disasters, legal issues, job losses and troubles. I have brought others around me down with my negativity and despair. There has been much frustration with those who have had to deal with all my mood swings. I’ve driven like a maniac and put other drivers at risk. As a boss I’ve fired people for the simple reason I didn’t like them. I’ve maneuvered myself to take over other departments, knowing full well the other manager would end up losing their job. My leadership style has been very demanding and exacting. There are times I’ve been downright mean.
Just ask one of my four ex-wives.
I’m not going to make any excuses. I am who I am, and part of that is being bipolar. The illness can cause many problems, but that doesn’t absolve me from my own personal accountability. And it doesn’t change how I’ve come across and affected others. It’s who I am for sure; but it really isn’t what I am.
I am not a jerk.
There are people in this world who are genuinely not nice. Some of them suffer from other disorders such as narcissism or anti-social behavior. But some people are just self-centered and completely disregard everyone else. I think we all know someone like this. There are bosses who are only interested in furthering their own careers or building a fiefdom. Friends who are backstabbing and fickle are unfortunately common. There are liars, cheats and thieves. Some people just don’t care about anyone but themselves.
But I’m not one of them.
It’s a totally different story when I’m not caught up in an extreme mood swing. I care deeply about others, strangers or not. I’m sincerely interested in the opinions of others, and will always consider another point of view. Chivalry is not dead and I’m a firm believer that is how we should be. I will do anything for anyone (as long as it’s not expected or demanded. That’s another story). Responsibility, accountability and acceptance of my deficiencies are very important to me. I’ve mentored my employees and done much to further their career. I’ve even developed lasting friendships from those who have worked for me in the past, and worked hard to find them positions that are better for them. Being courteous and having good manners are part of my core makeup. There must be many likeable, no, lovable traits about me or I wouldn’t have been able to attract so many different women. My marriages have all ended badly, but they started wonderfully.
That’s not so bad, is it?
I’m not alone as one who is bipolar with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities. I used to attend a bipolar support group, and it was interesting to see all the different behaviors of the other members as they moved through their own cycles. There can be a lot of meanness and aggression sometimes. Depression can be very evident in the ‘hands off, leave me the hell alone’ attitudes. But you know what? Everyone I’ve ever met at this support group is really nice. Even though there are times that some of them go through periods of unpleasant natures, deep inside you can see a caring and considerate person. As a matter of fact, all the bipolar people I know tend to be even more sensitive and supportive than average. With this disease there is much empathy, sympathy, and support for others as we have gone through our own difficulties. We can understand so many diverse problems from dealing with the many different features of our own illness.
I think that being bipolar makes you an even more exceptional human being.
But there’s always that dark side.
I am mean. I am selfish. I am hurtful. I am vindictive and manipulating. I am careless and uncaring. I am a Jerk.
But I’m a good man too.
I am bipolar.