Riding the Wave ... And the Trough

I am mentally ill, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I, OCD, ADHD, PTSD and a vitamin B12 deficiency (a key element in brain development). For over 12 years, I took anywhere from 5-8 psychotropic meds each day, and have been recently giving myself a monthly injection of B12.

In January 2012 I was hospitalized for depression, and management of my currrent med cocktail. Immediately all but two of my meds were discontinued and, after a few weeks of adjustment, and some near hospitalizations, things seem to be going much better.

I have been on permanent disability since January 2010, and am adjusting to life on a very limited income.

My prayer is that in walking with me during the ups and downs of Bipolar Disorder, you might find solace, and benefit through my experiences.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Slip Slidin' Away" (with apologies to P.S.)

I have spent my adult life wondering how I will "make a difference". You know what I mean? A person goes through life hoping to accomplish a thing or things that will matter, something they can have remain once they are dead. For some it might be a nice family, good children and grandchildren. Others might like to create something that others can use, or perform a function where their name will be recorded for posterity.

Since my life suddenly shifted gears last summer, and I am no longer a member of the working class, I naturally reflected on what I had done, or left, or who I had affected. It seems that the things that were not done, or done wrong, or left behind and the ones we have hurt, or have hurt us, immediately come to mind. Most people might look back and not notice right away their accomplishments, wondering what they had done with all of those years. They might ask themselves, "What have I done that is uniquely me?"

The answer is surprisingly simple, and so obvious that it escapes notice until after much thought. The one thing that we all have accomplished that is uniquely us is live. Our life is ours alone. All of our experiences, relationships, travels, hobbies, jobs and thoughts, to name just a few, are ours, and ours alone. Think about it; no matter how dull and normal you think you life might have been, it is quite the opposite. It is you;your life defines who you are, and who you are is the result. Don't sell it short. Don't dismiss your life. It is all you've ever done, and all that you will ever do while on this earth. 

This is where I find myself, and months of reflection has brought me to this point. I have had a life of ups and downs in the most severe, and also most ordinary ways. I have hurt and been hurt, and I have loved and been loved. I've done things I shouldn't have done, and I've let opportunities pass me by. However, there a few things in my life that are very unique.

1. I have had Bipolar disorder since 1994
2. My life has been reflective of this disorder, hurting myself and others along the way
3. I was a pastor during the end of my career, hiding my illness as a form of self
4. I am a typical working-class man who pays bills, has very little money and depends
    on a weekly check to make ends meet

The only lives we hear about when it comes to mental illness are those of the wealthy,  or the ultra-manic, whose exploits involve thousands of dollars, international intrigue. They are celebrities, sports figures, debutantes and those recipients of old money. When these types make up less than .01% of those with mental illness, how can we possibly relate to their tales? We read them, and they take on the substance of a novel.

We need a story we can all relate to, one that tells our own story. I want to read about the life of a person where I can say, "I've done that", or "I've had that thought" or "I understand". 

I want to tell that story.

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