My name is Jayson Blair. I'm a life coach and I have bipolar. People know me because in my career as a newspaper journalist,
I work for the New York Times and I was caught fabricating and plagiarizing stories.
I've had a substance abuse problem. I went into rehab with the help of the company.
About a year later, I was assigned to cover the sniper shootings in Washington D.C.
It took me away from my support in New York and my therapy and my counseling and I began to experience what I didn't really understand,
but not the first signs but the strongest signs of mania. Eventually, I started having psychotic episodes but because I wasn't in an office working with people,
people didn't realize what was going on and I didn't realize what was going on.
So, I found myself unable to do my job, but I still tried to do it and that's what started to the fabrication and the plagiarism.
Eventually, getting caught turned out to be a blessing because of the diagnosis. What a lot of people don't know
is that immediately after I was caught, I was sent to a hospital in Connecticut because I was suicidal and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
What I'm doing now is a formal peer counseling and this life coaching. I'm mainly served as a coach to people who have problems similar to mine and what I do is try to --
from the perspective of a peer, give them advice on everything from working with their doctors to medication, to coping skills, to staying away from triggers and --
or we could get her in an alternative school which would really take her off of their hands and make life easier, off the streets and exactly and frankly, probably make her life a lot happier.
In the end of 2005, it was actually my mother's idea. Her idea was to start a support group for loved ones of those who have bipolar
and I kind of latched onto that idea and thought it would be great to have a peer support group for people who did have bipolar.
And so, we both started our support groups at the same time.
I developed relationships with people on the psychological and psychiatric community and then we talked about the idea of life coaching and took the gamble,
the risk given my history that I would be able to make a difference. And so far, it's gone very well. I think that when I was first diagnosed and it became public that I was bipolar,
I think a lot of people were skeptical that bipolar caused the fabrication and the plagiarism and there is some legitimacy to that.
I sort of viewed the bipolar as a fuel that caused the fire to prone even hotter. I think the underlying personality issues, pride and security,
defects in my personality caused the scandal. But the bipolar just contributed to making it so huge. So, there is some legitimate skepticism but
I'm also one of those people who doesn't argue that the bipolar did it. As much as people were insulted by the plagiarism and the fabrication itself,
I think it was on the much more personal level people have invested in me.
They cared about me dare I say, some of the people that I've had the hardest time reconciling with, I would argue loved me even
and they've been the ones who I think have been hurt the most, that's the people who care about you the most. There are many people that I think I've made amends to.
There are many people that I'm still making amends to and it's going to be the right time for me. It's going to be the right time for them.
One of the things that this sort of touches upon is the idea of the work that I've done since my manic episode.
I did not set out to work and support groups or do peer counseling in order to make amends.
I started working in support groups because I needed a support group. I needed other people with bipolar who could talk to me about their experiences in a way where it wasn't clinical.
They actually have the life experience with the medications and the illness and they can relate to me.
And I eventually just became a leader in that setting and it gave me the opportunity to further make amends.
And so, I feel very lucky to have that opportunity to give back and take the little piece of the difficult things that happened to me and help other people
either avoid it, cope with it, or clean up the mess afterwards.