My story

by

Joseph

 

                My story is not much different from anyone else who suffers with Bi-polar as far as the illness itself, but how it effected my life is a twisted and sometimes unbelievable path. For fifteen years I suffered as a Bi-polar 1(manic, rapid cycle / seasonal depression) going through life with a out of control racing buzz in my head reacting to anything that triggered it – and I thought it was a normal life.!?

                My childhood was normal, playing with G.I. Joe’s, Hot Wheels, and Playing Cowboys and Indians. When I think back to my childhood (from what I can remember) it was about somewhere around 13 years old when I started wishing I were never born. I didn’t want to live. When I reached the age of 15,  I started to get violent with my second oldest sister. It seemed like the littlest thing would set me off in an uncontrollable rage. It was at that time that I started drinking, the whiskey gave me a dull numb feeling of control. Needless to say the reckless attitude and violent temper of my problem left me with the less desirable dope head friends to hang with. As I look back and know about this illness I could see that this was my first episode of bi-polar. Through my teen years it seemed like I was a mare shadow to my family almost like I didn’t exist. I was the youngest and my parents were already in their mid-fifty’s and burnt out from my older brothers and sisters. By the time I was 17,  I was working at a bowling alley stocking the liquor and beer coolers to the three bars. Talk about putting fuel on the fire, my life was becoming a drunken blur. Most kids know what they want to be in life at 18,  I didn’t know if I wanted to live. I had already felt lifeless, I knew something was wrong but I could not figure it out. What have I been doing wrong? Is this how everyone felt? During the time I graduated (1982) it was the same time when we had all the trouble in Lebanon and Iran – this was my out. I would join the Marines, first in and first to die, my destiny. The big ticket out, my suicide solution, the death sentence that will be handed to me. It turned out to be everything but that.

                Take a teenaged boy with no mature knowledge of the world and a mental illness problem then place him in the hands of some psychopathic Marine Corp drill instructors and you have a major mistake. Boot camp was a breeze, with it’s fast pace life, the pain that they liked to inflect, and the lack of sleep (up my ally) kept my brain occupied. I walked out with my first stripe PFC.  The perfect grunt my staff sergeant called me “0311 all the way, a first class killing machine I see in you.”  During Infantry training school I started to slip back to my irritable old self, up and down, in and out of depression. All I could think of was I wanted to die; just a simple accident would do me in. A grenade, live fire practice, anything. It never came. I was truly a coward in my eyes, willing to take the life of someone else but not my own. My squad sergeant had never saw anyone so aggressive in the field without a sign of fear “I would surely make a great leader in the event of war to guide my men into victory.”  I graduated on top again, another promotion to lance corporal. The model Marine, if they only knew the truth. Off to Sea School now, an honor to other Marines but not to me, the worst that could happen to me was that the Captains ring might fly off his finger when he saluted me and give me a black eye. It was in sea school San Diego that I crashed and flipped out, I went AWOL  and went to Texas to hide from the world. My AWOL  l turned into deserter and my mother talked me into turning myself in. Man I was a mental destructed mess. I was way out of control; I couldn’t even maintain a stable thought. I turned myself in to face the consequences. I went through NJP and was sentenced to two months in the brig were I slipped deep into depression. The Marine Corp sent me to several pdoc’s and they totally missed it. I believe that this was my second severe episode in my life. It was over I was stripped of my blues, stripes and my dignity as a Marine. That night as I lay in my room separate from the real Marines, I pulled the cold blade up my arms and waited for what I wanted. The next thing I knew I woke up in sickbay. The recommendation of MHU for personality disorder at the convenience of the government discharged me. 

                When I came back home the good Lord put a woman in my life. She would be the one who would always equal out the good and bad and between life and death. Through all the things that were said and not said here she was always there! But even though the illness still had a grip on me and I turned back to whiskey and eventually cocaine. The more numb I was the easier it was to get through the day. Remember me the perfect Marine? They took a young boy with a mental problem and fine-tuned him. Big mistake, my meanness was getting out of control. I was the one to watch out for. The sad thing was that my illness was not noticed; it was covered up by the image of a bad ass Marine. I would blame the Marines for 15 years for my problems instead of getting the proper help.

                One time when my wife and our children left I was going to commit suicide. With the gun under my chin I could not pull the trigger, it had jammed. My boy was the one to walk in before I could pull it off. They had came home early. I wish he never saw that. Two other attempts would follow without success. One self-destructive thing that I could not stop was during my highs I would cut myself with extreme pleasure. It was like an over inflated balloon with internal pain and the cut would allow the release of the pressure. During the years my life would keep going up and down Jackal and Hyde, my own destruction and destruction to others. Fights and confrontations with people out in public and internal pain and agony trying to get through life in an out of control spiral crash.

                When I was thirty my life came to a crushing end. My brother and I were in business with a horse ranch. I found out that my brother was gambling away our profits, from this we would loose our house, land, and horses (and at the wrong time, I was at full blown mania) I pulled my gun out at him during the argument and put it to his head but could not pull the trigger. Something inside would not allow me to kill him. In the house my wife sat with our children and the phone in our bedroom ready to call 911. Instead I came in and broke down; I could not live like this any more. My wife called mental health assistance.

                I just turned 38 and after several different pdoc’s and med’s, I think I am starting to become complete. I still have some lows but I can work my way out of it slowly. I have lost fifteen years of my life to this illness in fact I feel like my life didn’t start till I was 30. There’s not to many days left so I need to make the best of them. Am I lucky? No just determined to try to live the best and happiest that I can.

 

               

I dedicate this to my wife Angela, my 

“Angel Flying Too Close Too the Ground”!

 Without her I would not be here to enjoy the sun, 

breeze, butterflies...

 

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