How Do People with Bipolar Disorder Deal with Things They’ve Done While in a Manic Episode?

manic regrets
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.
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12 thoughts on “How Do People with Bipolar Disorder Deal with Things They’ve Done While in a Manic Episode?

  1. I really understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder less than four years ago. I’m 43 years old. My manic episodes made me hypersexual, drink too much and injury myself to the point of bleeding. Once my medication was set, the guilt hit me like a mack truck. I was obsessed with whether or not I was going to heaven. I apologized to my loved ones for my disgraceful behavior. In short, I was felt responsible for my awful actions. Even though, it was my disorder. I can be logical about it, but I am hard-wired to blame myself. Even today, I am still very ashamed.

  2. So hard to deal with those things. Even if they seem to be small and relatively harmless, it’s always scary when I come out of a manic episode to realize it was like someone else had control of my body. How do you move on from that? Thanks for pulling together theses answers!

  3. M.E. Roberts says:

    I had a super manic period about 5 years ago. I spent a lot of money. It really caused trouble for my husband and me. I sent back much of the stuff but I still have lots of stuff, fortunately some good stuff. I look at it all now and think ,,why did I need this..why did I have to have this or that. Now I am stable and rarely have mania. I have energy without impulses.

  4. pat says:

    Sounds a lot like my Ex. Shame, she was the love of my life and my best friend. We had a very good relationship I believe. She was stable for 5 years, but mostly the last 3 years I think. But went off meds… Her life is a mess now. Makes me sad everyday. I still Love Her and will always be there for her if she needs me.

  5. Chrissy says:

    I’m trying to figure out something. Can people with bipolar disorder forget what they do sometimes? One minute this person said she’d help me and then the next minute she goes after me and she hurt me. I still haven’t been able to forgive her yet. She keeps saying she doesn’t remember what she did but I have a hard time believing it… I wish I could forgive but she really hurt me..

    • I am sorry you are having a hard time forgiving her and I can understand that. I have done things to hurt people in my past while I have been manic. I know I can’t use my illness as an excuse. However, I can tell you that I have forgotten things I have done while in a manic state. Sometimes there are days that I can’t account for. I wish you the best.

  6. Chinkie says:

    I have a long distance relationship a little over a year now, and the person tells me he has bipolar and asks for forgiveness, my heart breaks as I know he is a good person I am willing to stand by him but he keeps pushing me away. Any advise.

    • That’s a really hard one. If you google “relationship advice bipolar disorder” it comes up with a lot of things that might help. It is really hard if he is pushing you away. If he is doing this just in a depressed state, you may want to talk to him when he is less depressed and ask him what you he wants you to do if he gets that way again. I am sorry I can’t be more help. Best wishes!

  7. cynthia says:

    I stop taking my meds like 6 months ago..I’m just agravated and angry all the time for no reason at all..I’m 49and most of the time I don’t know what i want,not content with my life.something is missing ..I don’t feel or am happy .I don’t know??I’ve been avoiding friends and family,even my parents and i don’t know why..i just don’t want to be around anyone..married for 22 years and 3 grown kids…the question is.What should i do?Should i get back on my meds.or Am I ok.

    • I am sorry that you are having such a rough time. I am not a professional and really don’t know what the answer is. I think, however, that the decision needs to be yours with the help and guidance of friends, family, and a professional. I would suggest you not shut people out and allow them to help you decide.

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