It’s bad enough to be bipolar and to do stupid things because of it, but one of the most destructive attitudes that results from this is self-loathing. Spending time and energy blaming ourselves does no one any good.
This lesson has been one of the hardest for me to learn. I spend too many hours blaming myself and reliving the past, for even the smallest infractions. I am continually analyzing my behavior to figure out how I could have acted or spoken better. Then if something major goes wrong, I can beat up on myself so much that I crawl into the hole of depression just for some relief.
Life is not under my control. I know that intellectually, but I obviously don’t believe it. Otherwise, why would I think everything is my fault?
This week my screw-up had to do with my art website. I was changing from one hosting plan to another, and the switchover required doing things in a very particular order. But being anxious to get it finished, I didn’t pay careful attention and just assumed the tech people at the hosting company would figure it out and do it right. The end result is that my website is down and I don’t know how long it will take to get it back up.
Do I blame the web hosting company? Sure, but mostly, I blame myself, once again. Last night I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t fall back to sleep until 6:30. I spent that time agonizing over my error:
Me: "How could you have been so stupid?"
Me back: "I think I just got anxious and wanted to get off the phone with the tech person."
Me: "You always do everything too fast."
Me back: "I know."
Me: "When are you going to learn?"
Me back: "Self blame is a waste of time. It won’t make things right."
Me: "But how could you have been so stupid?"
And so it goes. This morning, I quickly ran to the nearest computer to check if the website was back up. It wasn’t.
Have you dealt with similar emotions? How have you coped? Tell us about it in the bipolar message boards.
Lynne is an abstract painter and writer from Ithaca, New York. She wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder.