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Dave's Bipolar Story

This is a short story about a complicated life. I assure you things will be left out, I just hope you find this easy to follow.

I don't know when I "became" bipolar, or actually started having my first symptoms, though I suspect it was in my early teen years. It started off as mild swings from feeling a little down to being a bit hyper in my mind at times. Nothing was really apparent on the outside, just that I was withdrawn at times, at others just excitable.

I began to notice some severe changes around the age of 16. Thoughts inside my head would race, then slow down to a crawl. My body would sometimes feel as if I were moving too fast or too slow, but I could do nothing to control it. I started using drugs and alcohol during my last two years of high school to "bring me out of the pits" or to "enhance my normal high". Nothing appeared very different on the outside, it was on the inside my head.

In spite of my drug and alcohol use, I graduated from high school and continued to keep the job I had had since the age of fifteen and a half. I became employed full time and met a woman whom I would later marry. Age eighteen to twenty-one was a rather stable time, minus the drug and alcohol abuse.

In my very early twenties, I married the woman I had known for two years as my best friend, and our first son was born. I worked evenings as my wife worked days, and my behavior became more irrational. An increase in alcohol abuse, an increase in the frequency of my "cycling" from mania to depression, and anti-social behavior started. While things appeared well to most, it was far from normal.

I saw a psychiatrist for my first time, and was diagnosed as having panic disorder w/ partial agoraphobia. I had started to become more withdrawn. and would only leave the house to go to certain "safe" areas. I soon would be hospitalized for the first of many times. I thought I was cured of all my problems when I left the first time. Hardly..

As time wore on, the depression became intolerable too many times to speak of, and at other times, my thoughts and behavior was "bizarre" to say the least. It's hard to explain, but the behavior didn't match the person I knew I was inside. Diagnosis ranged from simple anxiety, to organic brain disorder. I finally met a Doctor who had figured out alot about me before I ever met him. He knew I was bipolar (with a side of epilepsy), I just hadn't figured that out yet, or been treated properly.

With thanks to the Doctor's I have seen since, my condition, though present, is understandable now. I have greatly controlled the symptoms I have experienced. Gone are the days of binge drinking and marital infidelity. I have settled into the life of being a simple person, who get's great pleasure out of all the little things in life, while coping with my disability at the same time. I long to do the things I could, such as hold down a full-time job, but have not been successful. I must fight the temptation to sulk and brood over the things I cannot control, and just be who I am, me!

I have changed somewhat on the outside, I've gone from a 6'5 315 lb. long-haired hippie to a more respectable (my wife says skinny) 185 lb. short haired nerd with glasses. My weight is probably the one thing I obsess over just a tad much, but it did hurt being over-weight and a man, despite what you hear.

I would like to thank my wife, the one person who has stuck by me and believed in me when I couldn't believe in myself. Without her, I could not be where I am today.



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