On Managing with Mental Health Issues and Owning My Superpowers


I am bipolar. Or manic depressive. Or I have bipolar mood disorder. Wait, is it bipolar affective disorder? Do I have mood swings? No. Sorry. I am unstable. Unwell. Maybe it is unable?

I am not sure what it’s called anymore. But I do know the stigma. Let me start by saying what bipolar looks and feels like to me.

Having bipolar means big swings of the highest highs and lowest lows. On an up-swing, I am joyful, blissful, unfazed, and undaunted. On a low, I struggle. I get in my head. I am not sure if I am doing it right. Hell, I am not sure I can do anything right. Sometimes it takes all my energy to put on pants. Yes. Pants. Pants can be hard. Pants can be very hard.


Some say I am one of the lucky ones. With a good diet, consistent exercise, and being aware of my work/life rhythm, I don’t need medication. On top of that, I tend towards the manic side.

This makes me come off as passionate and energetic to most that don’t know I have this disorder. I can also come off as tireless or one the best multitaskers you’ll ever meet.

These are the upsides.

The downsides? Yeah, there are those too. To some, I come off as flighty. I can have waves of highly productive work followed by troughs of being unproductive or focusing on the wrong things. I can easily forget or chose not to go to an event. Have you met a manic introvert? Fun combo.

When I truly take a step back, I believe my bipolar has given me great powers. But like any superhero, it can also be my fire, noise pollution, or kryptonite. I genuinely, almost always love this part of myself too.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned about managing with a mental health disorder is about being comfortable with that fact that I have one. I am sitting in the same company as Vincent Van Gogh (maybe a bad example)… Let me start again. I am sitting in the same company as Beethoven, Mariah Carey, Francis Ford Coppola, Hemingway, Frank Sinatra, Ted Turner, and effin’ Princess Leia herself — Carrie Fisher. The list is actually much much longer.

Throughout my professional journey, I’ve learned seven things you can do to be a successful manager/boss and channel your superpowers:

1. Tell people when you’re struggling, and what those struggles are; People generally are open to help you

2. Build a process around you

3. Develop a language you feel comfortable using in public/around strangers

4. Identify when to lean in and step out

5. Get support if you want it

6. Get support, because you need it

7. Remember: You are a badass superhero doing great things and dominating your universe!

Tell People

Being open allows people to have empathy about your actions. There are times that my bipolar is my kryptonite. It can make my relationships hard. It makes me exhausted and exhausting to others. I can frantically type away, do admin, or take on a massive project only to demand others to keep up and clean up after me.

If you haven’t been upfront about your diagnosis, this can come off as cold, brutish, and hard. Side note, they suspect Thomas Hobbes was also bipolar.

By sharing your story, you share your superpower.

People can connect with you empathetically and support you.

They can put guardrails up for you or get the hell out of the way.

They can ask truly curious questions and not pass judgment. This isn’t to say it doesn’t still happen, but it’s less likely to happen when you’re open.

Build a process

I like process. I’ve written about it here and here. I have built habits and I maintain a bit of a schedule to create efficiencies. It also makes the days where pants are hard just a touch easier. Because, you know, I typically need pants to do the stuff on my list. Pants are a very big deal in society.

Very big deal.

Develop a language

It is one thing to say, “I can’t do…” or “I won’t do…”. It is another to lean over and say, “I feel a swing coming on” or “pants were hard today”. You need to share how you feel comfortable. Clearly, I am very comfortable talking about this. If you aren’t, that is okay. You need to develop a way you are comfortable with and that’s clear to the people you work with and that love you. Sometimes I like to be out with my friends and say, “I’m sorry for you all right now” or “today I feel funnier than I am.” They have come to learn it is an up-swing. As I write this, know I am sorry for you all right now. I am so funny today!

Seriously, though. The candid language prepares others for your current state and gives them the tools to have empathy and support you.

Identify when to lean in and step out

It is okay to say today is not your day.

It is okay to say you shouldn’t drink or eat like garbage.

It is okay to say you are pushing through.

Maintain your habits and process as best you can and be mindful when it is appropriate for you to push or pull. You are important, wonderful, and necessary. Tomorrow will be here and you need to make sure you do everything in your power to do the same.

Get Support

If you want it or need it. Get it. Doesn’t matter the type of support. Help helps. I recommend NAMI as a resource to start.

You are a badass

You are the creator of a literary genre.

You are an effin’ princess! Princess!


I could run down my CV, and share my accomplishments. I am proud of all of them. You should be proud of yours too. You are a badass. A badass! Never forget that. A mental health disorder does not define you. What defines you are the people you surround yourself with and the impact you aim to accomplish at home, work, or in the community.

What I am sharing isn’t the way. It is a way. It is my way. It helps me and I hope it helps you too. If nothing else, know you have a partner and supporter. If you want, we can swap stories and process through life. OR… better idea… we set up a badass crime-fighting team of superheroes. Maybe we call it something like the Brainiacs?! I am obviously open to other names.



Matt Glazer
Blue Sky Partners: Mental Health & Entrepreneurship

Partner and CSO at Blue Sky Partner, affiliate Consultant at Mission Capital, Former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Trinity University. Views are mine alone.