(First published: Jun 14, 2007)
First a mention on a recent reunion. Tom, the friend I joined the Marines with way back in 85, just found me through a Marines only website I am a member of:
He’s now a Gunnery Sgt, which blows my mind and sort of makes me feel old, and he’s in Iraq doing what Marines do. I am very proud of him! And I am very glad that he found me again after all these years.
He’s in the book but he didn’t know it until a few days ago. He and I tried to steal the tires while at our first base. Lots of loaded guns pointed at our heads.
The swollen heads we had due to all the head butting we did to each other that night. Click on the link below to get the whole story.
So here are some more issues that bipolarism is gracious enough to bring to the afflicted:
Depend on friends and family too much
You become a psychic leech or you’re physically incapacitated from your symptoms and literally have to be cared for like an invalid.
You are aware that it is happening and it kills you to put your loved ones through it. They in turn can only take so much. Both parties suffer.
Here’s a biggie. Any major illness can isolate you from the rest of humanity. It’s just a little darker when those around you, as I discussed earlier, don’t believe you are truly sick. They think you’re faking it or not being a man (or woman) about it and snapping out of it.
This exponentially adds to the loneliness. Or, if you have no other fellow sufferer to relate to, your feeling of being alone just gets magnified.
Thinking. Not just thoughts. Pursuing those thoughts with all your mind as they happen.
This one proved disastrous for me. I could simultaneously think about ten different and unrelated items, then chase down each new line of thought that developed from all. It was insane!
I wasn’t trying to do this. It was just happening! This is what eventually caused me to go back to drinking for the few years that I did. Only drinking shut out the noise. Except for the cop sirens. I could always hear them pretty well as they arrived.
Hate your meds and how they make you feel
You’re lethargic, numb, unfeeling, impotent, groggy, a shadow of your former self.
So you stop taking them. Then all your more active symptoms return. The ones that compel you to do life altering bad things. The ones that cause your nerves to fray.
And you have to get back on your meds. It’s a common cycle.
Stop meds when you shouldn’t
This is sick all by itself. Your meds are working so well that you feel fine. You assume you have healed and no longer need them. No one can tell you otherwise. You won’t hear it.
Of course, in a short amount of time Mr. Hyde returns and everyone around you is begging you to restart your meds. This too is very common.
Can’t afford meds (or any other help)
You’re willing to do whatever it takes to feel better but you’re broke, no insurance. You just live it.
I experienced this when I found the nutrients that eventually made me well. In the beginning I started these supplements and I got noticeably better right away.
A couple of months later, I ran out of cash and had to go back on meds just so there’d be something to fight with. I got considerably worse.
This is how it all began for me. Just give me some Valium, Doc! And he did. And it didn’t work.
Every challenge in your day-to-day life becomes an insurmountable obstacle. And it is pissing you off!
It’s even more sad when your illness starts consuming you, to look back and see that these stressful moments were the “Gravy Years”.
Can’t ever fall asleep or can’t ever wake up. Depends if you’re manic or depressed.
It’s just easy for these guys to show up as the rest of the system fails.
Love animals, hate people
I had this for a while, right after the Corps.
Before I joined I used to hunt small game. When I got out, I couldn’t see the point. Animals never piss me off; plenty of food elsewhere.
But people. Some of them had to go. That thought didn’t bother me one damn bit.
For the record, I never acted on that but some folks came close to making that not so.
Symptoms activated by wrong food or hunger
I learned that I could not eat pizza late in the day or in the night. For some reason I would have a panic attack within 30 minutes of eating it.
Also, if I got too hungry but didn’t realize it, I’d become a large ass and very symptomatic. Someone would invariably ask me when I ate last and if it had been too many hours I’d have a meal and be OK.
In the beginning I was horrified to learn that no one else seemed to have this food thing like I did. Bad enough to learn you’re bipolar. It’s not an area you then feel a need to excel in.
That’s good for now. I am laying out this endless list so that if you are a fellow sufferer you can feel confident that I get it!
Add to that the fact that I no longer experience 99% of any of this.
The parts that do still surface are minimal at best, and I hope you will believe I can help you help them.