Bipolar: This Special Characteristic


You know, we usually think of supporters as having a certain special characteristic – COMPASSION.

We think of them as having compassion, since they are supporters, after all. But today I want to talk to both supporters and people who have bipolar disorder as well, as everyone should have compassion, don’t you think?

Some people I think are just born with compassion. And some people are more compassionate than others. But then some people just have to learn how to be compassionate.

One way to do that is to practice compassion, whether you feel it or not. And nothing helps us build our character more than developing compassion for others.

Compassion is a sympathetic feeling. It’s when you have sympathy for other people. It can just start with willingness. If you just have the willingness to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you’ll take the focus off yourself and you can imagine what it’s like to feel like them, experience what they experience, struggle with what they struggle with, have the problems they have.

So what does this have to do with bipolar disorder? Try to imagine those people who you don’t think understand what you’re going through.

Maybe you don’t think they have much compassion toward you. They probably don’t, because they haven’t imagined what it’s like to be in your shoes, go through what you go through, experience your problems and struggles, etc.

It’s up to you to educate them. You have to educate other people on bipolar disorder because they aren’t going to learn it on their own.

They need to be willing, too, to take the focus off themselves and to imagine what it’s like to be
someone who has bipolar disorder, and to feel compassion for that person.

Compassion can be learned. It’s the recognition that other people’s problems, their frustration and pain, are every bit as real as our own – and many times even worse. It means stopping being selfish.

Compassion is something you can develop with practice. You get better with it over time. If you have it in your heart, it will come out in your actions.

Like me, for example. I’m not bragging, believe me, really, I’m not. I’m just using myself as an example. I mean, I sure don’t do what I do for the money, because I’m no millionaire!  But I do care about people who have bipolar disorder.

So I have compassion toward people with the disorder. So I volunteer at several bipolar support groups. That’s the action part.

Being compassionate is who you are. Having compassion is what you do about it. When you see that your loved one is struggling about something and it tugs at your heartstrings, that’s compassion. Then the action part is what you do about it.

You can go to them and ask how you can help them. You can just be there for them. You can be supportive in any number of ways. You can simply be a good listener for them.

Maybe there are specific ways in which they need your help. Maybe there are certain things you can do for them.

Well, I have to go!

Your Friend,



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