The emerging blogger series is aimed at community building through giving mental health bloggers who are early in their blogging evolution the opportunity to have their work seen by a wider audience. It’s also a way to introduce you as a reader to some newer members of our community.
This post is by Markybipolar.
The Beginning of My Journey
My story begins in my university years, right in the prime of life when our parents tell us we can do anything we want to if we set our minds to it. I think their saying that is too optimistic but well-intentioned. Mental illness is a tough foe.
My father had looked into the newspaper help wanted ads and found engineering jobs to be plentiful. Father convinced me to major in the specific engineering major which he thought would land me a job when I graduated; He also picked out the university I would attend. He said he would pay for my room and board and classes as long as I earned at least a C in each course. Little did he know that he had picked out the number one party school in the nation?
Going Away to University
I graduated high school and then went to university the following fall. When I got there, I found that making a schedule that included study time, class time and time for making new friends was absolutely overwhelming. I was surprised at how rigorous the engineering major was. Anxiety and homesickness became unbearable. So I went to the reading lab and there I learned how to make a schedule that included all the necessary elements to succeed academically. I was successful in my freshman year.
Depression Struck Hard
As a sophomore, I started the year wanting to break up with my girlfriend. She didn’t want to break up and I couldn’t stick to my guns. All of the relationship problems kept me from being able to concentrate on my studies. I soon began failing tests. Then I got very depressed and my grades plummeted. I called my father and asked him if I could quit school and come back home to live. He picked me up and brought me home. There, with the love of my family, my depression subsided, and I wanted to go back to school. I went back and enrolled in the courses I had withdrawn from and I did well in all of them. The next year I was working the night shift at the university dorm and my sleep hygiene was not so good. I had another bad bout with depression and had to quit school once again. At home, my depression subsided. So, I went back to school.
Early Marriage Despite My Dysfunctional Relationship
I was still dating the same girl and now she wanted to get married. She said if I wouldn’t marry her, she would break up. So, I married her. I also got in-state tuition which was considerably less than out-of-state tuition. By this time my father said he wouldn’t pay for any of my low grades or withdrawn-from classes. So, I told him I didn’t need his money and I got student loans to pay for my education.
It was during the summer that I first experienced mania. One day I saw God’s hand in a cloud formation. Then I started thinking the mafia was spying on me everywhere I went. Next, I couldn’t sleep. My wife took me to the psych ward of the mental hospital. I didn’t want to go. Alone in my room, I could hear the nurses talking. I thought they were talking only about me. In my heart despite my delusions, I knew something was very wrong.
I had numerous bouts of mania, delusions, and psychosis in my twenties. Each time I did, the doctors would put me on first-generation antipsychotics and then gradually taper them for nine months when I would wean off them. Then the next time I would get sick, they would repeat the strategy. The medications were so powerful that I couldn’t work or do much of anything. My wife needed help with me, but my parents lived far away and it didn’t occur to them to come and help us out.
I kept having episodes for ten years before the psychiatrists diagnosed me correctly. Finally, during a hospital stay, they started me on lithium. It worked well and they said I had bipolar disorder I. They were right. After years of a tumultuous marriage, my wife divorced me. I think she wanted children to no avail. She was also tired of the unpredictability of me being sick so often and all that entails.
Divorce in My Thirties
Being divorced in your thirties is hard. However, I met wife-to-be number two despite my difficulties. I dated her steady until three months passed. Then I told her about my bipolar disorder. She took it in stride. She was that open-minded and we’ve been together ever since. Our marriage has been wonderful. We have a Christ-centered marriage that I think will last until “death do us part.”
I’ve been hospitalized more than ten times since the first time; I lost count. Today I am in remission and I thank God for that. It is 37 years later and I am fortunate because I almost never get depressed anymore, just manic and sometimes psychotic. I successfully work two jobs and have started this blog. After all I’ve been through, I realize everyone is going through something. Life is not easy for anyone. My aim is that through my experiences I can help others to deal with their mental illness and help those who love them.
You can find Markybipolar on his blog Markybipolar.
Thanks so much Markybipolar for participating in the emerging blogger series!
You can find a listing of all of the posts in the series directory. If you’re interested in participating in the series, the directory also has the details on that.
Have you checked out my new book Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis? It’s available on Amazon and other major ebook retailers. It’s also available on the Mental Health @ Home Store, along with my first book, Psych Meds Made Simple.