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 normal family, I’m in a band, I’ve got a fantastic girlfriend. Why am I suddenly down all day and having these suicidal images in my brain? I decided to run away from all of it. I packed my bag with a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and a bible 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 fuzzy and scattered. 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 completely thrown off by my surroundings. I was cold, hungry, alone in the woods. My mind felt like scrambled eggs and I decided it was time to find someone. I showed up at my music teacher’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 grandma was there to pick me up. After many troubled hugs and shoulder shakes, I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with manic depression.
Bipolar living is no joke. I’m on a ton of pills that make me feel groggy and weird even though my thoughts have cleaned up for the most part and I sort of feel like me again. I’m still in a band, but my friends are always concerned about how I’m doing or whether or not I’m going to disappear again. My grandparents aren’t quite sure how to deal with bipolar living either. The pills are costing them money, and they keep searching for miracle cure. If I forget to take my medication, my mind starts to form crazy loops and people around me get a little scared because I become unpredictable. I’ve started going to church twice a week because I want to ask God for a solution. I wish living bipolar 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 live one day at a time. My family and I have dinner together every evening and talk about normal family things. Like how our day was. How school was. How is the band doing? Do we have a new song yet or any gigs coming up? But in the back of my mind there is a constant voice telling me that everyone is judging me for being manic depressive. I wonder if they’re scared of me. They think I could snap 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 overcome 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 use my feelings about this bipolar madness to fuel me on the path to greatness.