Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My history with bipolar disorder... the short answer

I figured I would just post this answer to a friends question "Did you feel bipolar symptoms as a teenager. I tried to keep it short, but anyone who knows my writing, it is impossible for me to answer anything short. I spent enough time on this answer and I had a list of things left to do today, so here you go...

It's fine Paula. While most of the bipolars I know hide their disorder, I am happy to be open and "out." I think I can help people better this way. In regards to your question, I am going to write a detailed post on my blog today , But I will give you the short answer here. As if I'm capable of writing short answers... 

In high school I became very hyper active. I did AP classes, worked on the newspaper as the photographer, Sounds of BC, choir, acting, musicals, and I worked 20 hours a week as a restaurant manager and I had Cheri. I don't remember sleeping, but all that wasn't really a sign. I should have been more aware of my mental health since my grandmother, one of her siblings and my uncle had already committed bipolar driven suicides, but I didn't. 

After HS graduation I started working as a forklift driver and in the following eight years had worked my way up to General Operations Manager of a large network of Oakland warehouses. I had my ups and downs, but nothing major. Thought about suicide a bit more often than one should, but I never attempted. 

Around my mid 20's I started telling Cheri I was wired wrong. It felt chemical, but I didn't understand it. It was just a feeling. A few years later, my dad committed suicide. I still didn't get it. 

I went back to finish my undergraduate and graduated sum cum laude. Flew threw my first grad school (DU) and became the CEO of a small tech start up. I was already having alarming symptoms, but I masked it by diving into school and working like a mad beast. In 2001, I lost the company and I was hospitalized in a mental ward for the "first" time, of several to come later, for bipolar disorder. In 2005, I decided I needed a masters in education and instructional design so I did... easily. 

It had been rough since 2001. I worked for maybe 10 companies in seven years. Never again in management. In 2008, I was committed to the mental again for an extended amount of time after a major "major" bipolar/psychotic episode and I haven't been the same since. In some ways I am broken. In other ways I am not. I'm a good husband and a great dad and I am still intelligent, but I have hard mornings and some good afternoons. If I keep myself real busy and take all my meds I can run on auto-pilot. By the time Cheri comes home from work I am usually off the ceiling or I take a time out and just watch tv. 

That's as short as I can possibly get. My advise... read my autobiography when I'm done with it.

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