Like any other bipolar person, my story is an ongoing, mercurial one. I grew up in a so-called “normal” family that hid its problems and I had no reason to believe I would live anything other than a regular, successful life. I was an intense and often sad person in high school but it never hurt my functioning until college when it began to overwhelm me completely. I became so anxiety riddled that I couldn’t raise a glass to my lips successfully.
I was alone and so depressed that I began taking Prozac. I went to my families general practitioner so I wasn’t really properly diagnosed and I didn’t want to be. My focus was on getting through. I was in college! It was go time! I just wanted to function and be happy. I didn’t want to leave the perception of the world I had grown to love, namely one where several illusions still remained and I was still “normal.” Sadly, I was till feeling horrible.
Prozac wasn’t the “magic bullet” so many ignorant people (including me) thought it was and I ended up taking drug after drug, looking for the one that somehow make me all better. My anxiety was also so enormous that I was on an enormous dose of benzodiazepines. I threw everything I knew at a problem I didn’t understand but my condition worsened.
I was first diagnosed bipolar when I was 22. The diagnosis hit me like a sledgehammer. I was at the point in my life when I needed to be taking off. Instead, I was being buried in the ground and my shrink was shoveling the dirt on my coffin. I couldn’t handle the disappointment. Sadly, my parents were as poorly educated on the matter as I was and my father thought I was lazy and not trying as my grades fell off the face of the Earth. He got angrier at my failing production as I got sicker. I became resistant to medications in my desire to be “like I used to be.” That has led to several clinic stays and a massive psychotic episode I had in public that will always be hard for me to live down.
My last clinic stay was in 2006 and I’m a lot better and a lot wiser now. I’m writing a book partially based on my experiences in clinics and I’ve grown into a much better person that I was when I was growing up. My pain has led to greater enlightenment. In that way, I’m almost (almost!) happy I’m bipolar.