Can’t I “have” some other explanation for my behavior? How about a lousy childhood or anxious or unreliable or just in the dumps or Seasonal Affective Disorder… Not BIPOLAR DISORDER. Making the decision to accept the diagnosis may take many hypomanic/depressive episodes or maybe even years. Yet reality is reality. If we could get an x-ray of our brain that showed our disease then accepting the disorder might be easier.

We know the downside of this disorder; ask yourself, “What’s the benefits?”

Two published writers with Bipolar-1 with psychotic episodes share their reflections on this very issue:

Kay Redfield Jamison in An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness writes, “So why would I want anything to do with this illness? Because I honestly believe that as a result of it I have felt more things, more deeply; had more experiences, more intensely; loved more, and been more loved; laughed more often for having cried more often; appreciated more the springs, for all the winters; worn death ‘as close as dungarees,’ appreciated it—and life—more;; seen the finest and the most terrible in people, and slowly learned the values of caring, loyalty, and seeing things through”.

Two full pages, 217-219, she describes her answer to the question, “What’s the benefits?’

Marya Hornbacher in Madness: A bipolar Life, “I try to build a future out of contradictions; madness is only a small part of my life, yet sometimes it completely takes over my life.
Both things are true. That’s all right. It has to be.
And it is. I relish my life. It is a life of which I am fiercely protective. I have wrestled it back from madness, and madness cannot take it from me again. I will throw it away. So what if it isn’t a normal life? It’s the one I have. It’s difficult, beautiful, painful, full of laughter, passing strange.
Whatever else it is, whatever it brings—it’s mine”.

Seven full pages, 273-279, she describes her answer to the question, “What’s the benefits?”

What’s your answer to this tough question?

We may not be able to articulate our thoughts like published writers. Most likely we can identity fragments of the answer.

Write me yours; I will add mine and I will post all the responses in a blog or on my web-site. Our reflections can help others to wrestle with the question; “What are the benefits of living with bipolar disorder?