For a long time I thought that rapid thoughts, agitation, sleepless nights, obsessions, massive spending, deep depression, and near constant suicidal thoughts were, if not common, at least somewhat normal. I remember having at least some of these symptoms as early as 9 years old. I sort of white knuckled through the teenage angst that is high school until my first suicide attempt at the age of 16.
I was hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar Type II and put on some medications and sent to a therapist. The therapy was nothing new, I had been seeing a therapist for a long time to cope with anger problems I had as a child, but the meds were new and unwanted. I stayed on the meds for a couple of years before I stopped them on my own in college.
Once I was in college, I was forced to be creative on a daily basis and exercising regularly, and my Bipolar seemed to go into a remission. Sure, I would get depressed from time to time but nothing serious. I felt then and I still feel now that creativity is the best outlet for Bipolar mania, which is why I’m doing this blog. At the end of college I hit another rut and despite graduating I nearly drank myself to death while I was pretending to look for a job.
My depression at the end of college lasted a solid 9 months, consisted of drinking half a fifth a night and barely sleeping. I was able to work nights at a hospital and still be good at my job, but everything about my social life was falling apart.
I ended up making the choice, aided by my sister, who doubled as my roommate, to stop drinking and I pulled out of it just in time to meet the woman that would become my wife. And this began the second period of remission, and longest lasting. I exercised daily and felt great, even though I was not being creative. I got really heavy into playing my guitar and I suppose that was a good outlet for me.
This lasted until the day I was registering for my wedding. I was attacked by sharp pains in my chest that I thought was an arrhythmia. I went to the doctor who found nothing but noted it might be a panic attack, something I had never had before. I went back to my old therapist from high school who suggested another psychiatrist. Another Bipolar diagnosis came my way, this time Type I, with more serious meds. Lithium, Zyprexa, Klonopin, Xanax, Ambien, Trazadone, Latuda , are all I have taken to solve this latest round of mood changes. I wound up in the hospital again after another failed suicide attempt. I was off work for a total of nine months and it ended up costing me my last architecture job I will probably ever have.
I’m still recovering from this bout. Some days better, some worse. But I can still tell things aren’t right. I wonder if they ever will be again or if this is simply the hand I have been dealt for the rest of my life. My goal is remission. And hopefully meds and therapy will get me there, if not, who knows.