Strive For Integrity ––And Don’t Let Bipolar Control Your Life

Last Updated: 17 May 2019

You are not alone if your mood swings can make you mean and nasty. But integrity helps you stop yourself before you unintentionally hurt others.

Integrity is a word I cherish. It means acting the same no matter what situation arises. This is especially important in our up and down bipolar disorder world. When we are unkind to people in person or online, we enter into a world where our relationships will crumble and our reputation will be ruined. I came close to this and realized that I didn’t want to let bipolar control my life in this way, so I changed. 

Consistency is my main goal in life. This is incredibly difficult when you have bipolar disorder. I experience violent rages when I am in a dysphoric manic mood swing. I am suspicious and unloving when paranoid. I am dramatic and lonely when depressed. I rage and I cry and I want to harm when the world is overwhelming and my bipolar is creating nasty thoughts. 

You are not alone if you also struggle with mood swings that make you mean and nasty. We have the same illness. 

This rage and loneliness and anger and out of control despair are a part of my illness  and I refuse to take these symptoms out on others. Rage goes into my journal. Loneliness goes into my work and despair goes into the ears of my health care professionals and the the friends I feel are able to help me find peace. 

My bipolar is not taken out on others in social media. It is not sent in vicious emails or unkind texts. I may have an awful mental illness, but I am still a person with free will––I have choice.

I can be upset. I can be angry and I can let people know, but I do everything possible these days to stay measured and thoughtful or I REMOVE MYSELF from the situation. 

This saves my relationships and allows me to live a life of great pain while still having integrity. 

What we write online is seen by everyone. This is a small world. Please know that what we do is not anonymous. It is not for ‘your eyes only.’ It is written on our hearts and in our memories. If our bipolar is not managed successfully, this will spill into our everyday behavior and create catastrophes. 

It we are abusive to people in our lives, even if it is due to being ill, the behavior still affects the person on the other end like any abuse would affect a person. 

Mental illness is not a get out of jail free card for abusive behavior. 

Depression is not an excuse for being mean if you know there is treatment available. 

Dysphoric mania and feeling crap is never an excuse for foul language and dangerous words in person or online.

Integrity means we stop ourselves before harming others. We do this by taking our bipolar management very seriously. There are no other options. 


About the author
Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, Get It Done When You’re Depressed, and The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder. She is a columnist and blogger for bp Magazine, and she won the Mental Health America journalism award for the best mental health column in the US. Julie was also the recipient of the Eli Lilly Reintegration Achievement Award for her work in bipolar disorder advocacy. Julie is a bipolar disorder expert for ShareCare, a site created by Dr. Oz and Oprah. Julie is CEU certified and regularly trains health care professionals, including psychiatric residents, social workers, therapists, and general practitioners, on bipolar disorder management skills. She was the original consultant for Claire Danes for the show Homeland and is on the mental health expert registry for People magazine. She works as a coach for parents and partners of people with bipolar disorder. Julie is currently writing a book for children called "Hortensia and the Magical Brain: Poems for Kids with Bipolar, Anxiety, Psychosis, and Depression." You can find more about her work at and
  1. Hello Jr. Try using Bach flowers alongside meds and all the other things you do to control the bip. Cherry plum + patience+vine+vervain. If there is a Bach flowers practitioner near you make an appointment. It will help control foul language. it will certainly help reduce this symptom. It is compatible with all meds and has zero side effects. Try it for a few months. You will see it taking effect within a few days. Check out the website on Bach flowers. With the mood charting I am now trying to forsee the ups and control them with Cherry plum vine patience and vervain.
    It is a help.
    The practitioner will help you to prepare the mix. Keep on using it for several months.

  2. Julie. Am trying to join the share care website. I think there is a bug. It is not allowing me to type out my name and fill in the details.
    Please could you look into it. Thank you

  3. Yes and I believe in Santa Clause too.

  4. Great post Julie- however some of us with bipolar (type 1 here) have irrational periods, especially with dysphoric mania, when we do use foul language or be angry, even with meds (a lot), self awareness, mood charting and regular therapy. I try so hard but sometimes these pats of mania slip out, not everyone can maintain integrity. This loss of integrity, at such times, makes me suicidal – due to the reasoning that I can behave in ways so abnormal from my stable self. Not everyone with bipolar has ‘control’ at all times, don’t dismiss that or advocate that we all can (have control). I try, I have children, aspirations, but when I’m very unwell (can happen acutely), I cannot control everything I want. I will always try to, but honestly, don’t assume we can all control our bipolar like you. I don’t drink, I take my meds, have therapy but do not have a brain that can maintain control at all times, you ask too much. Keep up the good work, you are a fantastic advocate in this field.

  5. I would love to be so in control so “logical” but it is a heavy burden. I often feel by protecting others from how i am truly feeling leads me to fighting the disorder alone leaving me sad ,tired and disappointed in myself. Diagnosed at 40 now 61 i take the meds prescibed but have, always had folks who depend on me for various reasons. I have learned to deal with it but i truly hope if u r coping w/this disorder u stay true to ur meds ,know u r not alone and find someone (& this can be difficult), who will take the time to learn how to understand you the various “you s” u can sometimes be. We may be difficult at times but let’s face it we are all interesting as hell to converse with!!!!

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