On Jesse Jackson Jr. and Being Bipolar

It's no excuse for what he did, says the author. She should know -- she lives with the disease, too.

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"Sir, for years I lived (off) my campaign," Jackson Jr. told U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins when entering his plea. "I used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes, and I used them for myself personally, to benefit me personally.  And I am acknowledging that that which the government has presented is accurate." --the Chicago Tribune

I lived and worked in Bakersfield, Calif., as a newspaper reporter for five years, and other than some great friends and wonderful work experience, I had nothing to show for it. I was broke, again. And I couldn't tell you where the money went. Restaurants? Clothes? Prince records? It made me long to have a substance abuse problem.

It's easier to explain how you can blow your salary on nothing if cocaine is somehow involved.

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I returned to my parents' home in 2007 with only three pairs of shoes and two tons of self-loathing that I pushed around in some Sisyphean quest to accept defeat. My mother told me that living with me when I was alternating between being hysterical and completely comatose was like living with an alcoholic who wasn't drunk.

All the selfishness with a lot less booze.

Bipolar sufferers, when at their lowest and most self-pitying stages, are like smarmy reality-show contestants -- we aren't here to make friends. Depending on how it manifests (because everyone is awful in his or her own special way), you might be alternately too smelly, rude, angry, sad, violent, neglectful, selfish or obnoxious to love. Which is tragic, since typically the best indicator of being able to survive this disease is being able to care about something or someone bigger than yourself and how horrible you feel.

Even though I feel unconditional love, I always fear no one else does. Therefore I believe I have to earn the love I receive from others. I'm like a houseplant that lets you know it needs to be watered by throwing an elaborate party in your honor, then cleaning your house.

The only thing that kept me from being an a--hole was that I was convinced my mother and father wouldn't put up with it and would abandon me.

Even though they explicitly said they never would.