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For me, I don't necessarily place blame on my illness all the time, but I don't fully hold myself accountable when I know I couldn't have helped myself. For example, during one of my manic episodes, I dropped out of school with the notion that my local radio station was going to hire me to be a DJ. Now if I hadn't been manic, I know that idea wouldn't have come about and I would have continued college. In that instance, I don't blame myself for it because it really was the mental illness and not me, but I don't go around and blame everything bad/impulsive/careless I do on my MI, either.

For a reverse example, about a month ago I was pulled over for speeding 17 miles over the limit. At the time I was manic, but I know this time it was me and not my episode because I speed anyway. I think it's possible that the mania made me speed MORE than usual, but I still speed in regular circumstances. In that instance, I wanted to first blame my illness and say that was not my fault, but after later examining it, I know it wasn't and I have to take the blame for that one.

I hope that makes some sense. I think there are instances where you can place some blame on your MI and instances when you have to accept the blame, too. I don't think it's good to use your illness as a scapegoat for everything, either.

(Actually, I think blame is not a good word for it, just read notfred's post. I'm not trying to say your MI should excuse your behavior, but I agree that it can explain it.)

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I think that if you are able to question your actions or acknowledge they are not normal for you or acceptable to society, then you are responsible. When there is any type of psychosis involved or a relentless drive or powerful OCD that you cannot really stop, it's mostly the MI that's responsible. Of course, that leaves a great big hole in between than can go either way, or more likely, is a combo of both.

ETA:

I have to clarify something. I think we are always responsible even when it's mostly the illness that's the cause. Maybe I was talking about cause above. At any rate, the illness can't actually be responsible because the illness is an amorphous thing. It's not human. It didn't make the bad choice. We did even if we were under the influence. We can say a bipolar episode is the reason we behaved some way. But in the end, we are still responsible up until we are psychotic as hell and legally insane.

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My pennies: When you are in control, it's all about personal responsibility. If you're batshit manic, it's damned hard to keep control of anything. I remember being batshit, and doing things that were sooo bad, and the overwhelming guilt after (and trying to stop myself before), but...there was no control. The guilt after will say "but...you should have tried harder."

Truth is, once a dam breaks, that's it. There's no control. I consider an episode a dam breaking. If you're lucky you notice the start--if it's just leaking you can run to the doc and plug the leaks. But once it goes, you're fucked. Swept along for the ride. And when you hit shore it ain't gonna be pleasant.

The best, I guess, we can hope for, is that we can be forgiven our lapses, crimes, sins, whatever. And mostly that we can learn to forgive ourselves (the hardest part for me). Then cowboy up and get moving again. And for the love of God try to not let it happen again...

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I think assigning responsibility for things done during an episode gets tricky. To me, though, it doesn't really matter. Whether I feel responsible for my actions or not, I still have to deal with their consequences. While I tend to agree that I don't have complete control over my actions during an episode, I do have a good bit of control over the extent to which an episode escalates. In that respect, I hold myself fully responsible. If I notice something brewing with my mood, and don't take steps I know will squash it - calling pdoc, and tweaking meds - and steps I know can minimize my capacity for damage to myself and others - letting people know I'm not doing well, staying away from people for the most part, getting whatever leeway I can with school work until I'm less crazy - then I am wholly responsible for whatever might happen.

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What troubles me about how the world is constructed is not so much the responsibility of the mentally ill for their actions but individual responsibility in general. (I know this board is concerned with the mentally ill but alienonite raises a good topic with collateral issues.)

If a person is badly physically abused his entire life, and then goes out and knocks over a convenience store and kills someone, that killer is guilty.

But while that person is guilty in the legal system, to me there has to be a concept of "relative guilt." In other words, how morally guilty is our killer compared to some rich kid strung out on crack who commits the same offense? The degree of moral guilt doesn't matter in the legal system. And, again I realize that I may be straying somewhat off topic. (I shouldn't post early morning before 3 cups of coffee to wake me up from the Seroquel.)

I guess what I'm interested in is free will, which I think is an illusion. There has to be grace IMHO. Honestly, I think everything was all set in motion with the big bang and has been unalterable since then.

I personally have been guilty of many acts of rage in this episode. I was lucky no one was hurt. And simple luck seems to be the only thing separating my fate from the fate of family members who had a different outcome.

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as many people here have pointed out, MI can explain the action but cannot necessarily take away responsibility for it. i know that while in an episode, i become absolutely fucking nasty and i've done/said some nasty things to people and just generally have been a super huge asshole. i am not sure about any of those necessarily legal things, i'm approaching the question from an interpersonal perspective because my experiences mostly aligned on that level. understanding why the action has been done is not necessarily forgiving it. that's why i kept losing friends, no matter how kind and understanding they have been. for me, there are two responsibilities - internal (to yourself) and external (to everyone else). MI never takes away external responsibility for me, but it can take away internal (e.g. i can just say to myself "there's nothing you could possibly have done because you were batshit crazy" but i can't thus excuse my actions to another person).

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I feel guilty all the time.

Before i was diagnosed i forgave myself, or before i understood what it ment. I regret the pain and trauma i put on other people. I still can not think about it. I lost so many friends and my relationship with my brother/best friend. And because of the way i handle it, I never gave him the chance to understand it either. I can't take back the hurt i caused or how i ashamed myself in the past.

But now i know who i am and what my limitations are, i have and am learning to be able to assess my moods, and try the best i can to pick up when things are going wrong and then take actions to prevent doing what i have done in the past over again. I have responsibility and a life - which i will do anything to keep. So it is now my responsibility to understand my illness and how to manage it. I feel guilty that occasionally i let myself get carried away with it. Its so hard to keep myself in check, but i know if i don't, i have so much to loose besides guilt. So i take responsibility in taking my medication, going to my pdoc and tdoc regularly, learning the cues my body shows me when something starts feeling strange. I am honest with my doctors and do what they say. If i am hesitant, I ask. I do on a daily basis the best i can possible do. But often things going out of my control. And if i did all that i could, the guilt is less, because i know that i did the best that i could in controlling my own illness

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What troubles me about how the world is constructed is not so much the responsibility of the mentally ill for their actions but individual responsibility in general. (I know this board is concerned with the mentally ill but alienonite raises a good topic with collateral issues.)

If a person is badly physically abused his entire life, and then goes out and knocks over a convenience store and kills someone, that killer is guilty.

But while that person is guilty in the legal system, to me there has to be a concept of "relative guilt." In other words, how morally guilty is our killer compared to some rich kid strung out on crack who commits the same offense? The degree of moral guilt doesn't matter in the legal system. And, again I realize that I may be straying somewhat off topic. (I shouldn't post early morning before 3 cups of coffee to wake me up from the Seroquel.)

I guess what I'm interested in is free will, which I think is an illusion. There has to be grace IMHO. Honestly, I think everything was all set in motion with the big bang and has been unalterable since then.

I personally have been guilty of many acts of rage in this episode. I was lucky no one was hurt. And simple luck seems to be the only thing separating my fate from the fate of family members who had a different outcome.

I'd think that would be all the more reason for you to contact your pdoc, and see about a med tweak. Just saying.

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Sasha,

It's just sayin' (not "just saying"). Get your vernacular right. But you are probably right on the fact that I may need a tweak. Thank you for considering what I had to say. Yeah, and thank you for being here. (I'll take it up with my doctor.)

Back to the original topic. Regardless of responsibility, I think the Jewish concept of atonement (as I understand it) and the Alcoholic's Anonymous concept of making amends might fit in nicely here. Not that I am Jewish, and I am a failed former member of AA. If I could apologize to all the people I screamed at this time, I think I would. But they were strangers and seemed afraid of me so I don't know who they are. (And, spitting at car windshields when you have no spit left doesn't work.) I guess folks don't like to fool with the foolishness of a Wild Boy of Aveyron.

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I am in that right now "accepting responsibility"

I have done some stupid things while I was cycling and in mycase I look at it this way, if I was cycling that bad I shoiuld have went to the hospital rather than did the deed, I am still self aware when I am in a state, enough to know it is wrong so I think I should be able to say stop, but I didnt. Now I am dealing with the fall out of years of eff ups.

We do need to accept responsiblity where responsibilty is ours, if you blacked out during a manic state that came on in a blink, no it isnt your fault, this is what it is to be MI. I have to say there is a well defined line and it has to do with taking meds, seeing a therapist, and being hospitalized when you need to be. I avoided the hospital like the plague, didnt take my meds and that is where it got me...up shit creek with no paddle. Now it is time to take a shower and walk the shore back to where I belong. (weird analogy?)

I think with every issue in a persons life it takes a lot of work accepting responsiblity and claiming fault, it means letting your guard down and saying "I screwed up" and who wants to say that? instead we kick and scream and try to ignore the problem when it is there and the action was already done. So you need to analyze the action, if you where taking meds, where you in a state of mind where you were able to say "I shouildnt be doing this" if you werent then it isnt your fault, we all lose it from time to time. Hell no one in this world is perfect and we all make mistakes and royal eff ups, but in the end we are trying to get better and we learn from our mistakes.

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I've done some really shitty things to my family when I've been manic (or mixed) that I simply can't forgive myself for. Because while the mood increased the volume on my loathsome actions, deep down there was still the old gizmo, just flying off the handle a little too much. If I couldn't control my initial behavior, then it's my fault - and it's my fault for what happens when the mania twists everything around.

I've done a couple of crappy things to my children that may have been amplified by the mania, but all they see is mommy fucking up, and it's mommy who has to say sorry and try to make them feel better.

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Interesting topic :rolleyes:.

For me, I cannot stand the idea of me not taking personal responsibility for my actions. My illness definitely plays a part in the choices I make every day, but at the end of the day I make the final decision no matter how much I am only responding to the thought control or the delusions or the voices.

In fact, I have had so much difficulty in admitting to particularly the thought control because I feel that by saying that I have the experiences I have I am refusing to accept responsibility for my actions. But now I realise that the opposite might be true and I am taking more responsibility by getting help. It was not easy for me to come to this conclusion, and it has actually taken me a lot of soul searching over the last couple of years.

And, sorry if I came across as having some kind of moral high ground. I don't. I'm a complete jerk normally when I am ill, and spend the majority of my well periods trying to put it right.

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(thanx Will rolleyes.gif)

All i can say though is reality is so much harder then the theory of it all! I wish you could say "I have an illness and not always in complete control of my emotions/delusions and actions no matter how much work i put in - therefor i can forgive myself" - blah! as if! Its still there that raw feeling in the bottom of your stomach. That even if you forgive yourself, others might not...

Sorry feeling sad tonight

will try be brighter tomorrow

xox

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