What I Like About Bipolar Disorder Part 3: The Search for Shock

So few things shock people today. We have become desensitized to violence and the suffering of others. Don’t worry, this is not some Tipper Gore-esque attack on Today’s music, video games and movies. But, it does create an issue.

So, the third gift Bipolar leaves you is actually gift 2b. Empathy works to better any human being’s understanding of another. As discussed in Part Deux, empathy is experienced in many forms. Often, it allows people to learn valuable life lessons without having to experience the consequences. Living vicariously through the characters we see, hear and read about in all art forms is a valuable skill. Especially, if one can truly empathize with the characters. If desensitized, the impact of these lessons is negligible.

It does not end there. Empathy is the true enemy of malice. Bullying, genocide, and all other forms of violent assault both physical and verbal that originate from a malicious action against another is vacant from most empathetic people’s understanding. The desire to want to hurt someone is a foreign concept.

Ok. So here is where it gets kind of squirrely. Because someone with Bipolar Disorder is also prone to the wild ride on the magic rainbow that is the emotional spectrum (Gift 1). So the extremely conflicted aspect of empathy is the abilty to even empathize with those consumed by malice, often seen playing devil’s advocate in many an argument or political/moral discussion.

So, though we remain oblivious to the malicious intent of those who lack empathy, we often understand the events, decisions, actions and outside influences that led those people to that point where malice quietly slits the throat of empathy, breeding hate within our hearts and souls.

This is my favorite of the gifts. It often put me in between bullies much larger and older than myself, and a perfect stranger. It allowed me to see injustice and granted me the strength and conviction to do something about it.

This is a rare and glorious gift in a world drained of its empathy, one for which I will be eternally grateful.

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