Bipolar Disorder Still Sucks

It’s ok to have bad days, weeks, or months while living in recovery from addiction or living with a mental illness.

However, I feel like I usually write about the successes we’ve had at What If Ventures and I don’t write as much about the bad things. The last few weeks have been hard, so today, I’m writing about the bad times and my poor reactions to recent failures. It is ok to admit that things are hard sometimes when you’re living in recovery.

There are two primary reasons why I write about my experiences. One is to normalize the conversation around mental health broadly and encourage others to share. The second is to create content that acts as a “lighthouse” of sorts to those who are still suffering and wandering in the dark.

I remember needing and sometimes even wanting help during my addictions, but sometimes I felt the “shore” was too far away. I felt that people who appeared to be “well” were in a place that was “too far gone” for me. I was getting tossed around in a tumultuous sea and the shore was too far away for me to swim to.

I feel it’s really disingenuous of me to only write about the good times in recovery, as if I’ve figured something out or have it all together. Because that’s fake, and honestly, it’s off-putting to the people out there who need or want to reach out for help. It is ok for those of us dealing with mental health differences to talk about our struggles as they happen too.

Recent Struggles

I’ve had a hard time lately and after talking with my therapist and a couple psychiatrists (including some of my advisors) I’ve learned a lot from my recent struggles even though they are not pretty.

Failure at Work =>Negative Reactions
In recent weeks, I’ve had a few things not go my way at work. In a couple of those instances, my reaction has been awful. I sent some “F-you” emails to those who I felt wronged by. It was impulsive and I’m not proud of it. My reaction to being irritated and to disappointment can sometimes be really bad. I wish it wasn’t, I wish it was always pretty, but it is what it is.

Seasonal Changes
Lastly, I did speak to a psychiatrist this week who is also an advisor to What If Ventures. He told me that seasons change, and the rate of change in duration of daylight is greatest from day to day, that those changes can have a big impact on people like me with mood disorders. As soon as he said that, a light bulb went off, it was like he wasn’t surprised at all that I’d struggled lately. His reaction and explanation made me feel better actually.

Why am I Sharing This?

I think a lot of people who live in recovery from addiction or with a mental health difference feel like they have to hide everything that isn’t positive. A lot of times I feel like (and I’ve been told this) that I’m held to a higher standard and that if I do anything that people don’t like then they will say “see I told you, he hasn’t changed” and they will write me off. It does happen more than you would expect.

At the end of the day, I’m still me. Some things are different, some are not. I’m sober now, and I have found a new way of life, and I’m trying to be aware of my shortcomings, and seek self improvement all the time. I am blessed to have an amazing support system consisting of the recovery community, medication, friends, family and my faith. That doesn’t mean I’ll always be perfect. And that’s ok.

Are you struggling too?
Does your story sound like mine? Are you an entrepreneur, or investor, or creative of any kind who struggles with substance use or mental health differences? Feel free to reach out to me any time. It’s ok to struggle and there are tons of resources available to you. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. You can find me via DM on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)or email (



Stephen Hays, Founder of What If Ventures a mental health focused venture capital fund and host of the Stigma Podcast.

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Stephen Hays

Stephen Hays, Founder of What If Ventures a mental health focused venture capital fund and host of the Stigma Podcast.