I was always an unusual guy. I have excellent memory and I can remember events all the way back to the age of three. I can remember a lot of how I reacted to life events and I can say that since I was three, I was an emotional ballistic missile.
Bipolar was clearly present while looking back at my childhood self. I always knew that there was something different about me. I thought that I was just more “fragile” and I had accepted that life would always be harder for me because, emotionally, I was just more sensitive. This was diagnosed Bipolar.
My mom and dad had gone through a lot with me as a child. Though I was a fairly well behaved kid, I had emotional outbursts. I would cry randomly, I would become hyperactive and commit acts that I would later feel terrible about. For me, there was always this concept of cause and effect. Only I was never truly sure why I committed the “cause” after I felt the “effect”.
As a child I also dealt with a lot of trauma. When I was three, I experienced my first concept of death. It was my great grandma that i was fond of. I would run into her room every morning that i stayed with her and joyfully would wake her up and announce that coffee was being brewed. When she died, I had no concept of what death was. All I knew was that she was and then she just wasn’t.
Following my great grandma, I lost a baby brother. I was five and I remember it like it was a week ago. I remember that through the process, I was off. I remember being extremely sad or extremely happy. Polar opposites at a young age is what I see looking back now.
After my baby brother, I had lost my grandpa, and then my other grandpa, and then my grandma, and then my dad, and then my other grandma. I had also lost a lot of friends over the years as well. Death was like an alcoholic’s first sip of Gin. The death in my life triggered this craziness and awkward mood unbalance in which I experienced the world.
When I was ten years old I was in the fifth grade. This would later be recognized as my first remembered depression. The entire school year was awful. I had terrible and abusive teachers. I was always cold. I lacked friends. I skipped a lot of school. I only remember it as a tundra. I even had emotional outbursts in school where I would have extreme crying fits.
Around my middle school years (10+) I became addicted to HBO shows. I loved Six Feet Under, Queer as Folk, and I seemed to have acquired my writing passion from Sex and the City. Growing up and coming up age I got of advice from these shows. I interpreted life as someone in their thirties instead of the eleven year old little boy that I was. Also, realizing that I was gay drew me to the gay themes that these shows incorporated. Because of these shows, I may have lived my life as a thirty-something instead of a preteen. This made juggling the stress of puberty extremely chaotic and neurotic.
Looking back, my Bipolar shot through like a comet during my high school years. During my sophomore year, I suffered a terrible depression. Again, the entire year felt like a winter, long with many day in bed sleeping and disturbed sleep. I was friendless, alone, and all I wanted was to roll into my comforter like a human sushi roll wrapped in linen. This became an “issue” when my high school guidance counselor had alerted me that I missed a total of a third of the school year and that if I missed anymore days, I might have to repeat. I over ate bagels and cream cheese and I failed my math class.
During my Junior and Senior years of high school, I experienced mania. I had only experienced mania one time before and that was when I was twelve. Growing up, I thought that I just wasn’t sad anymore but I was hypo/manic. My Junior and senior year of high school threw me into a manic gear shift. I didn’t sleep for days at a time, I was becoming friendly, Some one even nominated me for Homecoming court. I felt pretty cute, I felt thin, I bought clothes that would be worn by a thirty-something to go clubbing instead of a typical school day. I was excelling in my internship as a student teacher and college was on its way.
I was hyper-sexual. I was well aware that I was gay and I wanted to test sexuality out like a new Porsche 911. I started online profiles for gay online communities where I would lie and post that I was eighteen years old instead of the sixteen or seventeen that I was. I felt euphoric. Though I never actually met a lot of them, It felt like I was on top of the world.
The summer after graduating high school, I nose dived into depression. You see when I was in my senior year of high-school, I took psychology and had learned about mood disorders. I had believed that I was not bipolar but major depressed. I knew that there was something wrong with me but I just didn’t know how to tell any one. At the time my father had been in and out of the picture, my relatives were driving me crazy, and I was not out to anyone outside of the hyper sexual friends that I made during my slutty mania.
I had two secrets lurking constantly: 1. I was GAY. and 2. I suffered from Major Depression with suicidal thoughts.
On the day of my eighteenth birthday, I had my first hospital episode. I told my mom that I was suicidal and that life was a pain in the ass almost to the point where I thought ending it would be the best idea. She drove me to the ER and I was there diagnosed with Major Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive disorder. Having multiple issues coming from the idea that I was only depressed was shocking to me. I had no clue how to handle all of these problems. Being a day into eighteen years of age, I left a lot of crucial parts out. I didn’t talk about the stupid ideas, the grandiose thinking, the flight of ideas, and I definitely didn’t chat up hyper-sexuality with my psychiatrist all that much so this is why Bipolar wasn’t brought up.
***I will chat about my hospital stay in an upcoming post so keep an eye out for it! 😉
After my first bought of college (*** Again, another future post.) I had dropped out and decided to work for a while. After working years in retail and constantly dealing with mood swings and just accepting them as the holy trinity of mental illness fuckery that I was diagnosed with, I decided during a manic episode that it was time to quit my job and go back to school for Marketing and Fashion.
At this point I had spent a month partying and drinking and having massive amounts of sex and using drugs and doing pretty much anything one does whilst manic off their ass. During my manic episode I had gone crazy. I alienated all my friends and then during the crash, I was left with nothing but the ruins of my little moment of bliss. With nothing in my checking account and no friends to talk to, I decided to go back into therapy. I hadn’t seen a therapist since I was eighteen in 2008 and it was now 2014. I reached out to a therapist through my school and after a few sessions she decided to have the talk with me.
As my therapist, G, sat across from me, I could tell she had a look on her face. The look mimicked one of a doctor about to tell a patient bad news. While I was going on and on about this class mate’s ghastly rain coat, and all the other problems I had going on in my life, G leaned in and like a random gun shot asked: “Have you ever heard of Bipolar Disorder?”
I was shocked. I had explained during patient intake that I had that holy trinity of mental illness fuckery and I really didn’t want to have any illnesses thrown at me. I knew what bipolar was but I had no clue how it worked, like Alcoholics Anonymous. Stunned she explained it to me and said that she couldn’t diagnose me but she referred me to Northwestern Hospital to maybe consult a psychiatrist.
I made the appointment and ironically whilst manic, I skipped to the appointment. After talking with a bunch of professionals I met the doctor. A man that I now refer to as my Mental Health Dad.
He asked me questions about my sexuality and If I had been tested for HIV. He asked me about my family history. He asked me about drug abuse. Though embarrassed I had decided that I had to be honest. Now was my chance to have a professional read me more than any drag queen ever would and I wasn’t about to throw that away.
“Yep you’re definitely bipolar! You’re flying right now!”
That was it. I was left in shock as I had been anointed with more mental health fuckery. Dr. G verified that I didn’t have multiple issues but that because I kept a lot to myself, my Bipolar came off as the other three.
I left the office with a new sense of self, questions, and my first trial at medications for Bipolar.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder on July 21st, 2015 exactly eight years after my first hospitalization. It took me eight years and a whole lot of “I’m sorry’s” to realize that I was actually bipolar.
It took a lot of time, emotions, thoughts, and energy to find out why I was the way I was. I wasn’t crazy or irrational. I was Bipolar.
Its been two years since I was diagnosed and today, April 27th, 2017 at 1:03AM I am still learning about bipolar, myself, and my bipolar self.
As I flip to the next episode of Sex and the City, I will be thinking of new innovative ways to explain more of the issues that go along with a bipolar life.
Time to learn more from my life.
ps: the pic is a Nebula. A nebula is the birth of a star. My Bipolar star.