Everything happened so suddenly. The thoughts racing through my head at a hundred miles an hour. Depressing thoughts that would not seem to leave me alone. This was not me. I grew up in a loving family, I’m in a band, I’ve got a fantastic girlfriend. Why am I suddenly sleeping every day and having these suicidal tendancies? I decided to run away from all of it. I packed my duffel with a few things and hit the road. I didn’t have a destination. I didn’t even have a clear thought in my head about my friends, or family, or what was going to happen to me. Thoughts were rubbery and inconsistent. One minute I was thinking about jumping into a lake and drowning, the next minute I would laugh at myself for having such a thought.
After the next few days on the road, I woke up one morning very affected by my surroundings. I was cold, hungry, alone in the street. My mind felt like toast and I decided it was time to contact someone. I showed up at my cousin’s house and explained to him that I had found God. His face told me that he thought I was joking. But the more I spoke with him, the more concerned he got, and the next thing I knew my dad was there to pick me up. After many troubled hugs and shoulder shakes, I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with manic depression.
Living Bipolar is no joke. I’m on a ton of medications that make me feel groggy and weird even though my thoughts have mellowed out for the most part and I sort of feel like me again. I’m still in a band, but my band mates are always concerned about how I’m doing or whether or not I’m going to run away again. My parents aren’t quite sure how to deal with living bipolar either. The pills are costing them money, and they keep searching for a permanent cure. If I forget to take my medication, I start to say things about the world in my mind and people around me get a little scared because I become unpredictable. I’ve started going to church pretty frequently because I want to ask God for a solution. I wish living with bipolar disorder didn’t entail a bunch of pills that take me out of myself. But then again I’m not myself when I don’t take the pills either. It’s tough!
I just have to take it one day at a time. My family and I have family time together every evening and talk about normal family things. Like how our day was. How class was. How is the band doing? Do we have a new drummer yet or any shows coming up? But in the back of my mind there is a constant nagging, telling me that everyone is judging me for being a freak. I think they’re scared of me. They think I could crack at any moment. And the sad thing is that I could.
Adjusting to living with manic depression is a hard thing to do after leading a semi-normal life for eighteen years. But like Father Walsh tells me, “Living bipolar is Gods way of teaching me to overcome weakness.” So I try to be understanding and compassionate. I work real hard every day to get over my bitter feelings of not fitting in. My music is getting better and my drive is getting stronger. With the help of my friends and family, I will turn this bipolar disorder around and use it to fuel me on the path to greatness.