How Do People with Bipolar Disorder Deal with Things They’ve Done While in a Manic Episode? By Bipolar Bandit (Michelle Clark)

Article written by Bipolar Bandit, Michelle Clark. She is a mental health advocate and blogger who aims to educate, inspire, encourage and advocate. She has been blogging for 10 years.

Michelle has lived with bipolar disorder for 35 years. We met through Instagram and got to chatting about our blogs, I received permission to share a few of her pieces, which I am excited to do. I hope that you find this material helpful.


I have had several manic episodes in my life. Some of the things I have done, I don’t remember. However, I do remember bits and pieces of each manic episode.  Over time, it is easier to deal with them. I usually sink into a deep depression after my manic episodes so I keep focusing on the “stupid” things I did while manic.

It is during those times I am really regretting the things I did and am  not able to realize they were things I never would have done if I was not manic.  It takes me a long time to forgive myself. The hardest things to deal with are the things I did that hurt my family or friends. I find myself feeling ashamed and embarrassed by what I have done. This often causes me to withdraw from my friends.

It  is true that time does heal.  There are things that I did 15 years ago that I now am able to joke about and laugh at.  Of course, I try not to bring things up and if I remember something, I try to focus on something else and forget those things.

I posed this question in some forums and groups that deal with bipolar disorder.

These are the anonymous answers I received:

  • I have learned to forgive myself for the most part and can even often laugh at myself. Some things I have done  have put myself in real danger and I still have flashbacks from them. I also still struggle with shame. I try to give myself a break though.
  • I’m able to laugh at the things that have been settled out of court or are no longer a worry because of the statute of limitations ; )
  • During my mania, I have this attitude that nothing matters. There will be no consequences for any actions I do. At the time, I believe there will be no one I have to answer to either.
  • I wish I could forget the all the things I’ve done. Thankfully I can laugh at some of them and I’m sure there are SOME that I’ve forgotten. I think that remembering some of them helps remind me why medication is a good thing. Forgiveness is something I work at and have to keep striving for when the memories come back to slap me around.
  • I’ve forgotten more than I remember but I’ve forgiven myself for plenty too.
  • I can’t forget or forgive. I really wish I could because I am constantly haunted by the past.  When you are  constantly haunted by the past & u get flashbacks/nightmares that are so real its as though the bad things are happening to you all over again. Keeping these memories in the past is easier said than done.  It doesn’t matter how busy I keep myself the past won’t leave me. However I try every day to rid myself of these memories.
  • There’s nothing you can do to change the past. The future is forward and you can change that  just by taking a little time and thought. I work hard  and keep so busy that my head is always in a tired state so I can’t really think.
  • I try in my best way to explain to others what it is like to have a manic episode. Yes I have a great sense of humor about it also.
  • Unfortunately, the people in my life don’t understand being manic. Its never an excuse for what I’ve done or even a reason. I see it as a learning experience, but don’t always forgive myself.  I’m learning to see it for what it is and not look back.
  • I play the “coulda woulda shouldas” over and over in my head.
  • I don’t know.  I’m still trying to figure that out myself.
  • I just try to pick up the pieces, say my apologies, and try to figure out the whens or whys. I still don’t have an answer, but I keep trying.
  • Tell myself I’d never have done those things if not manic. Also sharing with people in the same boat!! If  friends judge you then you’re hanging round with the wrong people.
  • Sometimes I respond with what appears to be denial, but I think it is more a case of skewed perception of reality { common occurrence with me } that clashes with the perceptions of others. It is embarrassing to me at times, but there are times when people will manipulate me & turn things around to make anything that goes wrong or is misunderstood *my* fault. Like the classic finger of blame pointed at a pregnant Roman, accusing her of over-reacting because of “pregnancy hormones,” it sometimes comes down to “no, actually, you are merely conducting yourself like a “jerk.” Sigh. I *have* bipolar, it is not *who* I am.
  • Sometimes I can laugh at things I did. However, other things cause me to hang my head in shame and embarrassment.
  •  I have quit several good jobs during a manic episode. I had good reasons for quitting, but it wasn’t until I was manic that I  got fed up enough to quit and tell them off good. Am I ashamed? No. Do I regret it? No Did I apologize to anyone? No. I never had the need to. They owed me an apology if anything because they screwed me over. I never got one, however.
  •  I just know when I’m thinking about it and reliving it in my head, I get mad at myself. I start picturing it over and over and over and over and over. Then, I just snap out of it I guess. I feel like s*** afterwards though for a few hours because I can’t take it back.
  • Its hard for me to deal with all that. I black out then get told what I did. Its horrifying!
  • Thankfully 2 of my best friends understand why I act the way I do sometimes and they know it’s never a personal thing but no I’m not proud of it and I’ve learned to control it way better over the years.
  • I do forget things regularly and people  get frustrated with me over it. I definitely have not been able to forgive myself for what I have done and said while having a manic episode.
  • I deal with it with a lot guilt and difficulty
  • I forget things that I’ve done and they usually aren’t funny. For the most part, I’ve been able to forgive myself with the help of my husband.
  • I can forgive myself. However, my husband punishes me for over a week with silence and shouting curses at me. It makes me catatonic and I feel a lot of mental pain.
  • The people in my life don’t get it.My husband gets it so I pretty much stick to myself.
  • I definitely relive at least some of the memories of things I did while manic.  Some have come back to haunt me.  I am having a hard time forgiving myself, but I tend to blame myself for everything even if I am not responsible!
  • It’s very hard to deal with once I sober up. I can’t really laugh. I did a lot of inexcusable things, ruined my relationships, incurred huge debts. I can’t really forgive myself.
  • First I have  flashbacks, then I laugh, then I forgive and forget. Then, I do it over and over again.
  • I apologize and try to forgive myself, but sometimes its easier said than done. I try explaining to people what its like to have a manic episode and what it’s like to have these thoughts and images in your head. I know they do their best to understand, but it seems like they have a hard time with that.
  •  I can’t seem to get over any of the manic episodes and I’m estranged from most of my family because they don’t understand that it’s not really “me” when I’m manic. I’ve apologized and asked forgiveness for the last time. It has limited the number of people sharing my life, but the friends and family members who love me are quite enough!!!
  • I try to forget the stupidity and hope that people won’t remember.
  • I feel that the best remedy, for me anyway, is forgiveness, forgive yourself and others, and belief in a higher power–without those I would be in emotional chaos. With forgiveness I find peace.
  • I just had a full-blown maniac 3 months ago and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had auditory, visual and even gustatory hallucinations and based on these hallucinations, I thought that I was leading a revolution and had super powers. In that few days I did truly embarrassing things like scolding my brother in the middle of shopping streets, talking to my friends and teachers about my “ambitions” and “visions”, entering the cars of random people, thinking that they were my body guards… I still feel shameful and embarrassing about these memories but I find some comfort in knowing that there are people who had similar experiences and are coping with the disease.


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She also founded

Mental Health Advocates United FB page

Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses Group

[Thank you, Michelle, for allowing me to share.]

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