Empathy, commonly referred to as ‘putting yourself into another’s shoes’ is a classic bipolar gift. It’s about being in another’s thoughts and in another’s feelings. Since I have experienced the full range of human emotions from the depressive lows to the manic highs – I can imagine being in the shoes of another who is low, or high, or anything in between.
Similarly, my thoughts have mirrored my expansive feelings, and so if a person’s thoughts are racing, for example, then I can usually relate to or imagine their reality. Oh yes, what a beautiful thing it is to be bipolar!
The empathy effect has also moved me to action. When I experienced the plight of a vulnerable student in college, I took the time to sit with him; I explained a technical term; and I met up in the evening. When I felt the pain of a sick guy in the Church, I stopped to listen and I gave him a €20 note. I like to welcome the newcomer too, whether in work, at a party, or with my family. I know what it is like to be uniquely different.
Bipolar taught me that I needed help in this world. I surrendered my hands and heart to the care of my family; the medical services; and my Church. I did therapy; I set a healthy routine; and I’ve been consistently taking medication. My empathic response is to reach out in a state of interdependency, interconnectedness, and inner beauty.
So, next time you meet someone who needs your help, stop to listen and perhaps buy them a cup of tea. Putting yourself in another’s shoes is deeply satisfying. This is one reason why I love bipolar and I love this world!