Tag: bipolar disorder

“Madness: A Bipolar Life:

by Marya Hornbacher is the shattering sort of memoir about which I’ve a   personal rule of not starting to read before bedtime. Because I won’t want to put it down until it’s finished.

When we first meet Marya, she’s lying on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood, having severed an artery while cutting herself. This is what draws us into the living hell of her condition–rapid-cycling Bipolar I, the worst form of the disease.

My “April Fool” — the black hole of mental illness health care

All kidding aside, it’s true. My former husband had his first psychotic episode on April 1, 1984. Ever the punster/joker, he later referred to himself in a conversation with me as an “April fool.” Would that it were so–for one can live with a fool.

Diagnosed at that time with bipolar illness, for ten years he kept his demons at bay, continuing with his 25-year career as a full professor at a respected university in Boston. His brilliance dimmed but he continued writing and publishing books and articles.

Why was he able to maintain a certain normality in his life for those ten years? Are all those who suffer such illness afforded that opportunity? No, and there are 5.7m Americans with this illness. That’s why I’m writing today, democrats. The story might move you, I don’t know. It’s long, but skim it or skip it, and get to the bottom line, okay?

Crossposted on Orange.

Do I Have To Kill Myself Before They’ll Help Me?

The “they” refers to the Human Service Center in Peoria, Illinois–but I’m getting ahead of myself. Last Friday night, I decided that I really couldn’t wait for my Feb. 29th appointment at the neighborhood clinic to start being treated for my depression/possible bipolar.

So, having found out that my friend who’d gotten the Cymbalta had gotten it after she’d called a crisis hotline and been directed to a free clinic, I called such a hotline.

The line was busy for about an hour. I started wondering if I was calling the right number, then took a break. Then started trying again and the phone rang on the second try.

Thanks–And Wish Me Luck

First of all, I want to thank everyone who read “I Hate Writing About Myself….” and provided their stories, helpful advice, and kind words. This sort of thing is what I like about Docudharma. If you were all here, I’d give you all big hugs!

As a follow-up, yesterday was something of a rough day–because I knew after having read many of the comments I needed to see a doctor and get started on meds in spite of my reluctance due to the cost….

I Hate Writing About Myself…..

when it comes to personal problems. They’re difficult to write about. And I know there are folks who’ve far worse problems and who are in far worse shape and in far worse situations than I am. And I’m grateful that I’m not in their shoes.

And more important things are going on in the world–things about which I’ve often been writing and will be writing more. So I’m not a whiner.

But currently I’m in a situation where I can use some support and friendly advice…

Manic Depression is a Frustrating Mess


I am Manic Depressive, but on the bright side (ha ha), I am only Hypo-manic Depressive (Bipolar type II,  more on the Bipolar v. Manic Depressive naming debate later).  This means that, although I am still periodically afflicted by crushing depressions (Boo!), I don’t have to go through full blown manic episodes (Yeah!).  During one of these episodes a person might find themselves in any situation ranging from tearing their clothes off and running down the street yelling “I am God”, to getting tazered while blockading themselves in an airport lounge with chairs because they feel lost and alone.  

Instead I get to have Hypo-manic episodes in which I have exuberance, energy and concentration.  During a Hypo-manic episode I can multi-task like a son of a gun.  I also sometimes drive myself deeply into debt.  My decision making at work and otherwise is not affected, but in my personal life–especially financial decisions–I’m not all together.  One time I bought two guitars and a banjo, within a span of two weeks, at a time when I could barely pay the rent (I don’t even play the banjo!).  So, while Hypo-mania is easier to live with than full blown Manic Depression it is still a frustrating mess, to say the least.