My name is Jayson Blair. I'm a life coach in Ashburn, Virginia and I have bipolar disorder. People know me because in my career as a newspaper journalist, I worked for the New York Times
and I was caught fabricating and plagiarizing stories.
What a lot of people don't know is that immediately after I was caught, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I had actually researched bipolar disorder before I was diagnosed, but I refused to accept the idea that I might have a mental illness.
I preferred to look at it like I had ups where I was very productive and then I had downs where I wasn't. It wasn't until the ups themselves start to become destructive
that I began to realize that it couldn't go on forever.
Structure is very important to me, routines like when I take my medication. Creating boundaries in my life is important part of structure.
I have to inject some creativity in my life. I create sort of spaces for that creativity to blossom. I create periods where it can just go to its extreme without doing damage.
I limit the potential for damage by using things like prepaid visa cards and not having access to my check book, but I also do it by making sort of good rules for myself.
I only allow myself to sort of get so far from my base.
All of these things were supported by people around me. They create wonderful structure that minimizes the likelihood of an episode. Do I have my moments?
I do have my moments, but I have this giant net that's tuned into my triggers. They can begin to act a lot earlier than in the past.
You know I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be with my parents. They've obviously done a lot to understand bipolar disorder, understand that experiences in my life
and to also help me manage in ways that I think a lot of people would find ridiculous, but they really do provide structure.
They provide a sort of check and the balance for me. And part of the reason why I live with them even though I could afford to live on my own is it's nice
to have somebody to come back to every night, who truly loves you and also understands the illness that you can check in with bounce things off of.
I know it's not going to last forever, but I sort of wish it would. I am a rapid cycler and which basically means that I do have some periods of time where I'm distinctly depressed.
I do have some where I'm just distinctly manic, but usually when I get manic and within the hours or days, I will go through different episodes, highs and lows
but the scarier part for me is I also have mixed episodes where a manic and depressed literally at the same time. And that can get very confusing and you have no emotional grounding, so.
One of my greatest fears when I first went on medication was that this sort of loss of mania and actually the loss of depression would take away some of my empathy, my ability to be creative.
It would take away some of my creative energy and I actually oddly found that to be true initially. But what I quickly found was that creativity came back as the medications were stabilized.
People with bipolar, if you had it all over again, you probably would not have gone without the experience of the illness
because you do write a little faster, dance a little harder, jump a little higher.
I wonder whether I'll ever reach my creative heights, but I do know now at least I can still be creative without causing so much distraction.
I'm more stable and consistent, above average now, but I still don't hit those great highs, those high notes, but I trade it for the stability. Look at me now. It's a price worth paying.
Those beautiful things are there and they cost no one anything. They don't damage anyone now. They help people and they are beautiful things I wouldn't otherwise have.
So, I think that what we're all striving for when we have bipolar to maximize the beauties of the illness and to minimize and contain the dangerous parts.