I don't know how many people who read this blog have a spouse or partner who's bipolar. But one of my regular readers and "commenters" does. And yesterday in response to the post on irrational anger, she wrote that she's often the recipient of this type of behavior.
I'd like to say, once and for all, "It's not fair for someone who's bipolar to treat a loved one or friend badly and blame the illness for his/her behavior!"
I'm surely not perfect. And there were years when I exhibited behavior (mostly medication- induced) that was symptomatic of bipolarity, and I didn't know it. No matter how many books I read, at the time I didn't find any in which behavior like anger and irritability were considered symptomatic. (There are now books in which this behavior is discussed.)
Had I known earlier about these patterns and symptoms, I would have changed earlier. I didn't know then; I do know now. And I have significantly changed my behavior.
In my case, I use deep breathing to calm down when I find myself getting angry and/or irritable. If I can't stop the behavior with the person involved (unless I believe my anger is justifiable and it's not a symptom of illness), I give myself a "time-out," meaning I explain that I seem to unjustifiably angry and need some space. If I still feel angry (and I'm at home), I play my harmonica or one of my other instruments.
It would be less than honest not to admit that I have lapses of which I'm not proud. We all do, but personally, I'm tired of seeing and/or hearing about "bad behavior" and having people blame it on their bipolarity. It gives bipolarity a bad name, and as far as I'm concerned, that's a real cop-out!
What do you think?