I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to justify myself or my actions. A lot of times I say, “I do this because I’m bipolar….” or this, “Oh that’s due to bipolar” or this, “I blame it on bipolar.” But this is something that HAS to STOP. I catch myself saying things like this and I cringe. Bipolar is only part of the reason I am the way I am, it’s not an excuse I can use to act out or say things I may later on regret. To clarify, I don’t purposely say or do anything to get me into any potential trouble or that could cause regret later on.
When I left my most recent job as a medical records specialist, I blamed it on my bipolar; I thought they were going to fire me due to my bipolar character traits. Thing is, nobody there knew I was bipolar. My performance was in no way related to the bipolar disorder. They stated that my work output was less than the other girls, which wasn’t true. There was a misunderstanding and so on paper it looked like I performed less, but actually didn’t. I tried to explain that to my supervisor and even with all that being said, she sent me home for the day and said we would discuss me working less hours “or make other arrangements” in the morning.
I felt as though I had been plotted against, like somehow they knew of my bipolar and didn’t tolerate it just as my last boss hadn’t when I worked as a paralegal. So I walked into my shared office, grabbed my belongings, threw my keys on the counter and left all my login information in the desk drawer. I said I might come back, but then I never did. That, I blamed on my bipolar. I used my bipolar disorder as an excuse for walking out without formally quitting. I used my bipolar as an excuse to think that staff was plotting against me and used that as reason to leave without returning.
You may think that you can just take responsibility for your actions and be done with it, but in terms of having bipolar disorder, it’s not that simple. It would be all to easy to deal with the consequences of not having a job and then blaming my hypo-mania for “making me” walk out that day. It doesn’t change the fact that I am still blaming something that is out of my control for a behavior that I can control. Impulsivity, although hard to control, can still be controlled. It is one of the side effects found in those with bipolar II disorder, but it can affect anyone. Even then, I cannot blame an action I performed on a character trait, I only have myself to blame.
So how would one stop making excuses for themselves or blaming their character traits for actions entirely in their control? I think we must really analyze why we are making excuses. For me, most traits that come with bipolar are very undesirable. There are traits that affect me only while manic and others only while depressed. But those traits are not permanent. They don’t define who I am, they are apart of me just as much as bipolar is apart of me, but the traits that come with the bipolar is not the real me. I still have to control the traits of flakiness and anger outbursts, even if bipolar is the reason I have them to begin with. It’s me who has the deal with the ramifications of ditching my best friend for drinks or if I yell at a co-worker, not the bipolar. How would it be fair to blame it on an inanimate disorder?
Once we analyze why we are making excuses, we must examine how much control we have over a situation, in life, in relationships, or over a disorder. The more control you have, the less excuses you can make in order to do or not do something. If you live with a boyfriend and you want to break up with him, but keep making excuses not to due to the hassle of moving, you must assess the situation. Are you financially stable enough to not live with him? Can you find people to help you move? Do you have a place to move to after you guys break up? If you can answer yes to these questions, you have a lot of control and power of your situation. You have the power to move out and break up with him, you’re choosing not to for some other reason. You must reassess what you really wan in order to be happy. If you have the power and ability to move on, do so. It should be simple, but sometimes that is easier said than done.
As far as assessing my own excuses about bipolar, I have some control over my situation and I have options. I have the option of choosing a job that best suits my needs, a luxury I know and don’t take for granted. I have the option to take deep breaths and ponder things rather than act impulsively instead of doing anything rash.
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Analyze why you’re making excuses
- How much control do you have over the situation that you’re making excuses up for?
- Reevaluate what your short and long term goals are. in other words, what will make you happy?
Til Next Time,