My perspective is that bipolar disorder does not give the bipolar Christian a “free pass”.
Although my thoughts may at times be chaotic, irrational, or delusional, if I sin I am still separating myself from God, and that is never part of God’s plan for me.
Bipolar disorder is certainly an explanation for bad behavior but is it an excuse?
I think maybe it is more like an extenuating circumstance, for example the way that mitigation is taken into account in our criminal justice system.
When I had my first full blown manic episode I was undiagnosed and untreated. I did some terrible things that became a source of profound shame and regret. Were these terrible things sins? Absolutely! Would I have acted this way if I was not experiencing an acute manic episode? Never! So am I trying to have it both ways? How can this “diminished responsibility” be reconciled with my belief that sin is still sin and offends God?
For me as a Christian, I can look to Church doctrine and find some comfort. Sin must be committed with “full knowledge” and “deliberate consent”. The delusional thinking of bipolar mania makes full knowledge and deliberate consent impossible.
For me, my life is divided into two parts – Before Diagnosis and After Diagnosis.
For example, as a bipolar Christian I am accountable for taking my medication, seeking therapy, following my Wellness Plan by exercising daily, sticking to a better diet, and honoring a Treatment Contract with my spouse.
Now that I know, and have for many years, I have bipolar disorder I am responsible for managing it. It would definitely be a sin to ignore the strategies that keep me well and which help me avoid or minimize relapses. At least that’s how I see it.