I can relate. I think being one of ‘the good ones’ also affects your self-perception. It allowed me to continue to tell everyone around me that I didn’t need help, even though the people closest to me kept insisting I did.
I look back now and see how much of my behavior, especially when I was in severely manic and psychotic states, was just intentionally ignored or overlooked by employers, co-workers, and people who only knew ‘the good bipolar me.’
‘Why don’t you take a sabbatical?’
‘You just seem really stressed right now.’
‘That last project launch was tough on all of us.’
Yeah, except I’m the only one who hasn’t slept in three weeks and is currently constructing a pirate ship in her backyard for injured and orphaned squirrels.
I’m not trying to make light of it. It has serious repercussions, including hospitalizations. I am deeply in debt for the very few who loved me enough who kept pushing until I relented and finally started, stopped and started and stopped and then continued psychiatric care.
And I’ll always harbor just a little anger toward the others who saw obvious symptoms, but didn’t care because, in balance, the achievements while hypomanic and manic, outweighed the boom and bust that followed.