Jul 29, 2016
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
So where’s the pendulum today? My first question every day as my feet hit the floor. So has been my life since the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder/Rapid Cycling back in 1994, although being completely honest, I can trace back the origin to as far as I can remember.
Bipolar, untreated, can rob you of every sense of right and wrong.
When you look at my teenage life, that’s when Bipolar first reared its ugly head. I remembered struggling daily with my identity, as most teenagers do. The problem was I also had to deal with the constant up and down, back and forth, and side to side of my very being. I remember doing things that sounded so rational at the time…that were the farthest from rational you can get. The best example is when I was 16; my relationship with my father had deteriorated to the point of our only “meetings” ended up being physical in nature. So I had this most brilliant idea to cut a trap door in my bedroom closet so I could escape him when he came into my room. Brilliant I tell ya. So a circular saw and a lot of sawdust later, I had the most excellent hole in my floor. As I stared at it, it was like a rush of enlightenment came over me at what I had done, of course happening after I sawed through the floor. Humorous as this is, and I still chuckle about it to this day, there’s a stark message in there. Bipolar, untreated, can rob you of every sense of right and wrong, good and bad, and even common sense.
I somehow limped emotionally into adulthood, and even with my official diagnosis in 1994, still played the game with my Bipolar of “I’m fine” when I was the nowhere near fine. I would take my meds and then I wouldn’t take them. I went to therapy and worked hard, I went to therapy and played “fool the therapist”, and then I didn’t go at all. I saw the inside of hospitals, and thought myself superior to each and every person I saw there, doctors included. I was constantly playing. Played with marriages, had affairs, and lost my children at no one’s hand but my own.
I have found a purpose for my life beyond myself.
Fast-forward to 2004, and a multitude of problems weighed on my shoulders to the point where I said “no more”. A swallowed bottle of pills later and I was in a coma. I recovered physically, but mentally that scarred me, as it does most. But in turn, it also enlightened me. It took years after, but once I finally got a full grasp of everything that happened to that point, I reached a point of understanding. I shook hands, as it were, with my Bipolar and promised to work with it, not against it. Pretty much since then, I’ve been on meds, go to therapy regularly, and I have found a purpose for my life beyond myself.
I try and advocate for mental health reform. I have a strong belief that we must work diligently and with haste to ensure those that suffer the most don’t have to continue to settle for the least. It will be an uphill climb, but once you come to a point of understanding with your own illness, and are willing to learn for it, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish out in society.
My pendulum doesn’t swing as much anyone; it’s at rest a lot. Oh sure, I have mania and depression, but I’m learning from each bout. Bipolar and I are ok. Remember, we shook on it.