The Discomfort of the Mirror: Silver Linings Playbook, Bipolar, and Me

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About Ryan W. Bradley

Ryan W. Bradley has fronted a punk band, done construction in the Arctic Circle, managed an independent children's bookstore, and now designs book covers. He is the author of several books of poetry and fiction, including the novel, CODE FOR FAILURE (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2013). He received his MFA from Pacific University and lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons.


  1. Good piece, honest and true.

  2. “An uncontrollable rage that had brewed in me as long as I could remember bubbled to the surface….”

    Thanks for your honest take on this….it can be bewildering to the partner of an undiagnosed bipolar person….sometimes the partner blames herself for triggering his behavior….and truly, she may be seeing only a snippet of the full spectrum of behaviors….

    • Leia, Thank you. It’s true, being in the wake of bipolar comes with immense challenges, just as dealing with it internally. I feel lucky that I was diagnosed before my wife and I got together, but the journey to understanding and managing it is truly a day to day, lifelong adventure. And knowing that those around us are profoundly effected in their own ways is something that for myself I struggle with a lot.

  3. Megan Sailsbury says:

    Amazing piece. I’m bipolar with PTSD. I hadn’t heard of this film, but you’ve got me thinking that I need to see it.

    • Hi Megan, thanks so much for reading. It is definitely a film worth seeing, difficult yes, but worth it. I think there’s a certain therapeutic value, even if it’s an uncomfortable sort of therapy at times.

  4. I have the paranoid/pschotic rather than the angery/irritable psychotic, that’s our difference, I guess. We’re snowflakes. Each intrinsically different and all from the water of the same cloud. I felt exactly the same seeing the movie and again reading this article.

    Thanks for making me not feel so alone for a few minutes.

    • Hi, CM, it’s true, the spectrum of our combinations of these things is so incredibly broad. The experience can’t be replicated for any of us, yet nothing can keep us from knowing each other’s experiences in a primal way. The paranoia part of bipolar isn’t something that’s foreign to me, but it’s still an aspect I find I have a harder time recognizing in the moment.

      Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you found your way to the article!

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