I hate it when people say, “failure is not an option,” because, especially with bipolar, failure is always an option. And by saying “Failure is not an option,” people make it sound like failure is bad. But we all need to accept that failure is an option, and a viable one. We need to accept that with bipolar, failure happens.
What Is Failure?
I guess we all know what failure is. Failure is a lack of meeting expectations. It’s not meeting a goal (Achiving SMART Goals with Bipolar). If I wake up in the morning and say to myself that I need to do laundry and don’t get it done, then I have failed. If I tell myself that I need to write three article and I only write two, then I have failed. And all those people who say, “Failure is not an option.” are just wrong, wrong, wrong as everyone fails all the time.
Bipolar Disorder and Failure
And the thing those of us with bipolar disorder have to realize is that bipolar practically breeds failure. Or, to be more exact, bipolar breeds an inability to meet our own expectations and goals. This is incredibly common. We have an expectation or a goal and bipolar disorder steps in, makes us incredibly sick and then it’s impossible for us to meet that expectation or goal. Bipolar makes us fail. And for many of us, bipolar makes us fail a lot.
Bipolar Disorder and Failure Is Not Bad
But here’s the thing, while, apparently, those failure-is-not-an-option people never don’t meet goals or expectations (yeah, right), normal people, including those with bipolar disorder, do. We fail all the time. I’m failing right now. I’m failing to edit an article that need my attention. Hi, failure, how are you doing?
But failure is always an option and failure is not bad. Failure is just a part of life. And it may be a bigger part of life for those with bipolar disorder, but it’s still just a part. We win, too – maybe infrequently, but we do. And there’s no point in beating ourselves up just because we fail, even if we fail more than we win. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s that people with bipolar disorder (particularly those suffering with bipolar depression) beat themselves up more than others, and, certainly, more than is remotely reasonable.
The phrase should be, “a lack of effort is never an option.” Because what matters is what we’re doing to try to succeed on a daily basis and not the final, overall score.
So I think it’s critical to remember that failure is always an option and that’s okay. That makes us frail, imperfect humans – just like everyone else. I know when I fail it’s often just part and parcel of bipolar disorder or sometimes it’s just part and parcel of life. Either way, I try to be gentle with myself and nonjudgmental because I deserve it – and so do you.