Finding my place in the Bipolar Family

I was diagnosed Bipolar I in March, 2011 after a manic episode that nearly destroyed my life.   Over the coarse of 2 years or so,  I just wasn’t behaving like myself and it just got worse and worse.  I started smoking, drinking heavily, and cheating.  I would go through periods of a month or more when I only slept 3 hours a night because I had far more important things to do than sleep.  I was grandiose to the nth.  I was reckless.  And in the worst of it I may have even been psychotic.

I left my wife and went to live in a crappy room in a crappy house and felt like I had just moved in to a palace.  King of the world, I was; attempting to change my marriage, my career, and my entire lifestyle.  Suddenly I had a dozen new hobbies.  I was going to be a professional writer, songwriter, and gigolo.   I believed that I would never be a suitable partner for anyone.  I was resigned to living on my own and keeping it that way.  And when the shit hit the fan I believed that everyone knew everything I had done and I just went berserk.    At the same time, Martin Sheen was going nuts, too.  My wife’s friends started making comparisons.

Pneumonia saved my life.  It knocked me out of my mania and I immediately saw the devastation around me and I begged my wife to take me back, which she did.  I was so embarrassed about all the things I had done.  She nursed me back to health.  I saw doctors and all agreed that I was Bipolar I.

But here’s the thing, when I read all of these personal bipolar stories in books or online, I just don’t know where I fit in.  I’ve never attempted suicide.  I’ve never been hospitalized.  I didn’t run stark naked across a busy freeway.  I’ve never been stuck in bed too depressed to move.  Your bipolar could whip my bipolar’s ass any day of the week.   So I’m writing this blog because I know there have to be others like me who don’t totally relate to the stereotypical bipolar experience.

I will not try to prove to you that I have bipolar by exaggerating my experiences.  Bipolar I?  Probably.  Could it be worse?  Much.  They say it’s a progressive disease and it’s likely that if I didn’t  begin treatment when I did, I would have some crazy stories of my own.  And you know?  I don’t want any crazy stories.  I want to be well.

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