I’ve seen many people in bipolar support groups counsel the newly diagnosed not to feel shame for things they did while they were in episode: it was the disease that did it, not them is the reasoning. This cleaving of the self, I think, does not help us get a handle on the illness and its effects on others in our life. In fact, it strikes me as downright irresponsible: you never have to make amends1 for anything you did.
Too often, I have seen people who say this to themselves relapse repeatedly. Perhaps it is due to the fact that they do not understand the seriousness of their disorder. Or maybe they desire license to act on impulses that they would reject on moral grounds if they were in their better minds2
I take a different approach: I am responsible for my actions even when I do not remember them. Because of my denial of my illness, I harmed others. Therefore I either make peace with them or avoid them so they are not disturbed or shocked by my return to their lives.
But there is a bonus: because I am accountable, I get to own the good things I did with more resolve. I get to own the steps I have taken towards resilience3.
Here is the grim truth: if I do not take ownership of the bad things I did while in episode, I cannot own the good things I accomplished. To claim otherwise invokes a socipathy that case workers and other mental health practitioners best not encourage.