Thank you Richard for being the first to write the story of your Bipolar
Weight Experience and for allowing me to include it on my page. You even
got yours finished before I did mine!! Thanks again to a special guy!
It would be difficult, to say the least, to tell a story that takes a life
to live, but you only have one small space in which to tell your story.
So, here's a short version of a long story.
My story and struggle with Bipolar Disorder, or Manic Depression as
I like to call it begins in my teens. My father died when I was at
the age of 9 of lung cancer. Years later close to my 18th birthday,
my 23 year old sister also died of Fibrosarcoma another type of cancer.
This led me to join the military. Looking back on it, I believe that
I was trying to get away from my problems . I went through boot camp,
but remember having a conversation with my training officers stating that
I didn't think that I could make it. They encouraged me that
I could, and I did.
About 8 months into my military duty, I met a girl. We got engaged
to be married after her graduation from high school. She graduated,
and a graduation party was held at her parents house a few days later.
I had one of many casts on my leg at the time. I've had three on
the left leg and two on the right all from torn ligaments. Getting
to my point… my best friend at the time was there at the party with his
motorcycle. He and I went to the store for more Cokes and Pepsi's.
I rode backward on the bike because it made it easier to ride with a cast
on your leg, not to mention that I was showing off a little. When
we returned, my fiancee wanted to ride on the motorcycle. My friend
and girlfriend took off while the rest of us sat in the backyard talking
and drinking refreshments. It couldn't have been fifteen minutes
that passed before the police showed up saying that Linda had been in a
serious motorcycle accident.
We all rushed to the hospital. Hours later her parents came and
asked me to talk to her. She was in a coma, swollen and badly bruised.
I was more frightened than I'd ever been in my life. I looked at
them and said "I can't, God has her now", and I ran from the room.
I ended up in the Military hospital in Philadelphia, PA. I couldn't
take the anti-depressants, but took Tofranil because I was forced to.
It caused severe hallucinations and mania. When the anti-depressants
got too much for me to handle, I was put on Librium. This helped
take the edge off of the anti-depressants, but didn't last long enough
or wasn't strong enough to counteract the Tofranil. After 8 months
of treatment in a psyche ward, I was released from the military for
reasons of personality disorders.
I worked and held a steady job for several years while taking Tofranil
alone. My newest girlfriend at the time encouraged me to get off
of the Tofranil, because it sometimes made her uncomfortable. I did,
and I felt fine (sometimes too fine) for many years.
I got the job of my dreams in the early 80's. I worked for the
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture
Machine Operators that meant access to every concert in town
or every event for that matter. I also had my own sound company on
the side. The exposure from the coliseum gave me plenty of other
opportunities and jobs. I started working with the old lead singer
from Blood, Sweat, and Tears while also holding my job at the coliseum.
I was living the life of my dreams, then it all came to a sudden stop.
I was in the back of a semi-truck one concert, unloading the equipment
when suddenly my back popped. Everyone on the truck looked at me
and said "was that your back"? Yes, it was, and it hurt like no other
pain that I've experienced in my life. I was hurt there a few years
before that during a Miss Teen USA Pageant and continued to work for that
company up until I couldn't go any longer.
I was ordered to the hospital by my doctors, and shortly after was contacted
by the insurance company for the worker comp insurance people. They
recorded my phone message and then started with trying to get out of the
claim to get me better and back to work.
At court, I was a nervous wreck. I was totally in shock that I
was finally going get to tell my story in court after two years.
Was I ever wrong. They twisted and turned everything around, and
my attorney just sat back and took the payoff money. It was obvious
at that point that I had been sold out by my own attorney A second
lawyer took my case as a favor for a friend of my wife. He informed
me that everything that my first attorney did made it impossible for me
to ever be compensated. He apologized for her, but the damage was
done. He did, however, see to it that I got disability, but who can
live on $400.00 a month.
I was now living with extreme chronic lower back pain, chronic prostatitus
, and I was loosing it quick.
I did what I thought was my only choice. I went back to school.
I made straight A's and B's working night and day at studying. I
was getting little if any sleep. I finally was talked into doing
a studio project with some old musician friends. They never paid
me and I ended up taking them to court thinking that justice would be served.
It wasn't, and I lost it. I had locked myself in a room, except to
leave for school, for three years, crying everyday for those three years.
By then, my family was talking me into seeing a psychiatrist. Of
course, from my point of view, the rest of the world was the one who needed
the shrink. In my opinion the world had turned to an overpowering
evil place. Sure there were a few good people left in the world,
but the good was greatly outnumbered by the evil.
The doctors first started with anti-depressants. I went psycho
on all of them, literally walking into walls. I thought that I was
going to die on Wellbutrin. I did want to die at the time, but that's
not how I wanted to go. After going through the gamut of just about
every anti-depressant known to man, my doctor put me on Depakote.
I thought Wellbutrin was bad. Worst thing is, that my doctor
went on vacation for two weeks right in the middle of my crisis.
I wanted to beat my own innocent children. I was getting 3 hours
of sleep a week. I took myself off of the drug, because I knew that
my thoughts weren't right. When my doctor came back, he was furious
that I had taken myself off of the medication. After my wife coming
in and explaining to him that I was trying to save lives, he lightened
up. He put me on Lithium and a few days later, Zoloft. The
combination was much better. He still saw many problems and put me
on Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic medication. The weight started pouring
on. I went from 220lbs to 300lbs in a years time. I was miserable
and getting more so everyday. After several other arguments with
my psychiatrist, I switched doctors. Now , I'm off the Zyprexa.
I take 200mg a day of Zoloft , and 1mg four times a day of Klonopin.
I take Floxin for the prostate infections and Voltaren for the Neuropathy
that has formed in the left side of my body due to the injury in 1990 to
my lower back. These added physical problems make for some pretty
rough days. Deep, dark, gloomy days where the best that you can do is pray
to make it another day.
As for school, I got my Associate of Arts degree from the community
college and was well on my way to becoming a computer scientist at the
senior college until I couldn't handle the pressure anymore. I couldn't
meet deadlines, the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I even
broke down crying during a speech at speech class one day. I didn't
ever think that I would be able to go on after the embarrassment.
My goals now, are to lose this weight, 20lbs. Of which are already gone.
Then, once my weight is down to 200, I plan to try and finish getting my
four-year degree. Meanwhile, I study everyday. I walk everyday, and
I weight train with light weights (anywhere form 6 to 50 lbs) three times
a day. The key to getting health mentally, in my opinion, is
to get your body in shape as well as your mind. Take it one day at
a time, but force yourself to keep up the pace.
The Story Ends
Richard G Dozier died suddenly on Monday, July 27, 1998 at Windsor, California,
at the age of 39. He left behind his wife Robin and two young sons Richard
Keegan and Cameron Rene.
He was one of our bipolar family and his presence will be sorely missed.
Rest in Peace, Richard...your suffering is over.
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