In a post for The Root, I write about former House Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. and how being bipolar both does and doesn't play a role in the kind of decision making that lead to Jackson's downfall. In it, I also write about my own failures in judgment, also often related to money when it comes to the disease. We don't choose this disease, it chooses us. Ultimately, the only thing we have any control over is if this pain will be self-inflicted or if we'll wear out our welcome in the world, putting it on others.
This story is about when we take it out on others, or in this case, our wallets.
From The Root:
I lived and worked in Bakersfield, Calif., as a newspaper reporter for five years, and other than some great friends and wonderful work experience, I had nothing to show for it. I was broke, again. And I couldn't tell you where the money went. Restaurants? Clothes? Prince records? It made me long to have a substance abuse problem.
It's easier to explain how you can blow your salary on nothing if cocaine is somehow involved.
I returned to my parents' home in 2007 with only three pairs of shoes and two tons of self-loathing that I pushed around in some Sisyphean quest to accept defeat. My mother told me that living with me when I was alternating between being hysterical and completely comatose was like living with an alcoholic who wasn't drunk.
All the selfishness with a lot less booze.
Bipolar sufferers, when at their lowest and most self-pitying stages, are like smarmy reality-show contestants -- we aren't here to make friends. Depending on how it manifests (because everyone is awful in his or her own special way), you might be alternately too smelly, rude, angry, sad, violent, neglectful, selfish or obnoxious to love. Which is tragic, since typically the best indicator of being able to survive this disease is being able to care about something or someone bigger than yourself and how horrible you feel.