I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Bipolar and guilt

on June 9, 2013

I have spoken to some people this week about their experience with bipolar disorder, and there have been a few common themes that seem to run amongst those of us with bipolar, guilt is at the forefront.

See a lot of us, especially as teenagers, acted badly. We weren’t stable and acted out in so many different ways. A lot of us still act out as adults, shutting people out and distancing ourselves from relationships and things that feel confronting or outside our somewhat tiny comfort zone. And that’s the thing about a comfort zone, mine is always changing depending on my mood. If i’m stable and doing well i’m a positive, accepting and open person, I like spending time with my friends and seek them out, but if i’m low, I want to shut the whole world out and there’s little wiggle room for socializing.

I learned through therapy that it wasn’t my fault that i was such a “bad” person as a teenager and that i’ve done some shitty things to people. It is in part the bizarre upbringing I had and in part the bipolar. Since this epiphany, I’ve been letting go of the guilt, and it’s amazing what a chain reaction it has. I’ve started to heal, instead of accepting that i’m just a shit and terrible person and trying to hide my issues with denial or pot or booze or whatever means i could, i’ve been shining a light on them and really thinking about the issues of my past and present that plague me. I don’t think I could confront my problems if i hadn’t let go of the guilt, and that’s not to say i don’t still get pangs of guilt, i most certainly do, but i just remind myself that with my condition, there’s bound to be some crazy behaviour, and i had little control over it at the time, hell i didn’t even find out i was bipolar till quite recently.

So for those of you who feel like you’re just running through the same motions, the same cycle of up and down and round and round, it can be broken. Usually the right meds are part of it, but letting go of the guilt and not hiding from the problems we have is also so important. I know it’s easy to say “let go” but seriously, it wasn’t your fault. You have an illness. If a person with cancer has symptoms, no one judges them, they’re sick, and their illness has consequences, so does ours. The consequences to our illness is our moods, our sensitivity to negativity, and our guilt over past stupidity or bad actions.

Just remember, it’s not your fault. You have an illness, it’s not your fault.

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