|John Haec's Bipolar
You are right this
is gonna be hard, So I'll give it to you as best I can. Maybe I'll
be able to edit it later. Here Goes…..
I am a 51 year old
Bipolar man and I have 5 children I have a good relationship with 3 of
my children one from my first marriage and two from my third. We raised
one daughter who also has Bipolar Disorder…but that is her story to tell.
I don't know where there other two are, they are a grown boy and girl.
I was not diagnosed
until I was 39 after a three-week stay in the state hospital. This
wasn't my first experience with psychiatric hospitals but I had such terrible
experiences earlier in my life I never went back. My first experience
was in 1968 after being carried from a US Navy ship because I couldn't
move. This was after I had been up for weeks with only a few hrs
sleep a night. I was released from the hospital and given an Honorable
Discharge even though I broke every rule I could. The Navy was happy
to get rid of me. I had escaped several times from custody and been
A.W.O.L. several times including once over seas I thought I could somehow
get home. Their diagnosis did not include manic-depression, which
bipolar was called then so I couldn't get treatment. In fact they
said I had temporal lobe epilepsy, a sociopathic character disorder and
just psychiatric problems in general. This kept them off the hook
for benefits to me. And it made me believe I was a real bad person.
All those events took place on my second enlistment after my first where
I received a commendation from the Secretary of Navy and served on the
rivers of Vietnam.
I returned home
for my second time this time not only disgraced by people having disrespect
for Vietnam vets period, but my family because I was mental. I was
thrown into having to care for my now 2 year old son, This had been
one of my triggers while over seas, I knew he was being abused and couldn't
get anyone to listen. Now I was taking care of him and trying to
work. His mother, my first wife went to prison for child abuse. Finally
I went into a deep depression and tried suicide. I didn't do a very
good job, I think because I was at a point where nothing mattered much
I just wanted to hibernate. My mother and brother took me to the
VA Hospital in Long Beach, Calif. And I was sent away… they said
they couldn't help this was summer'69.
I left my son in
the care of my grandparents and went off into the drug culture of Los Angeles
and it's suburbs. I went into a deep depression and stayed there
for what seemed forever. Finally it broke in '71. I met and married
my second wife, started a business, worked two jobs and learned a new trade.
And had two children. Then the depression came back and everything
fell apart I was treated by my family doc with elavil and it seemed to
only make matters worse. This marriage ended after 2 1/2 years.
In '74 after my
2nd wife left I went back to my old habits, I stayed high and went back
to the street life, spent all my savings and ran up lots of debts.
Finally after a few months I was placed in a psychiatric ward by my family
doctor. When I was released after 48hrs I was given a bottle of haldol
which I threw away. They had told me to come back if I had any problems
so I did that. It was a big mistake. I was given a shot and sent
60 miles to another county to the State Hospital, I woke up 3 days later
and didn't get free for 2 weeks, all because I didn't have an address.
There were horrible incidents that took place there that I won't go into
here but I will never forget. After getting out I stayed high and
worked for myself (when I wasn't isolating in one of my houses in L.A)
until '76 when I went into an alcohol program inpatient for about 6 mos.
Then after getting out of the hospital in the spring of '77 I met my 3rd
Things seemed to
get better. I got a job and settled down in the southern California
desert. We had a boy and then we got married. A few months later
I decided to move the family to Oregon. I got a job right away and things
were good. I got a better job right away and was made foreman, my
daughter was born and then in May of '81 I injured my back. I didn't
lose my job right away. I stayed working on light duty until the plant
started to shut down that was March of'82.
After I was out
of work I tried to start a business and worked at painting and the shipyards
but my back couldn't handle it. I got pretty down and started to
hibernate again. About this time, my third wife was raped by a fellow
employee. I blamed myself because she had to go to work for the first
time. I went after the guy who did it and went on nightly patrols,
I was armed and pretty out of it. I thank God I never found him when
I was in that state. About this time I began treatment for stress
and depression through several places and I was one step from jail or the
hospital, I was real careful of my comments to the docs and counselors
because of prior bad experiences.
We got past this
but our marriage was strained to say the least. I retrained myself to be
a computer tech. I worked until January '85. I started not
sleeping and walking around all night and getting way out there.
I was manic so my employer had no choice but to let me go because of my
direct contact with the public. My 3rd wife and I had lots of problems
it was a struggle to survive and I just got worse. Finally I had surgery
on my back in January '87. This threw me into a full manic state I'm sure.
I still wasn't diagnosed Bipolar, only stress and depression. Well
I lost 50 pounds in 3 months quit smoking and I knew I could talk to Angels
and spirits. I got away with this until August '87 and I was sent to the
State Hospital by a county mental health worker... This is where I first
got my diagnosis of Bipolar. After my diagnosis I quit smoking and
drinking and haven't started again. I have emphysema or COPD and
my psychiatrist helped me quit smoking and said he wouldn't treat me if
I kept drinking so I stopped.
Since then I and
have been hospitalized 5 times by the VA and I lived in one of their domiciliaries
twice, once for 3 months in '93 and the other in '95-'96 for 7months.
I have a diagnosis of Bipolar I and PTSD from the VA on axis I of my diagnosis.
I have tried suicide several times and two times were very serious.
I am real happy to say that I haven't been hospitalized since '95 and I
left the VA domiciliary in '96. I owe it in part to my caring psychiatrist
and psychologist. In '96 my 3rd wife and I divorced and we are now
better friends than ever...
I can never fix
the past. All I can do now is go forward.
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