Saturday, July 30, 2011

Suicide and Depression

When we are children there are things that happens that are engraved in our minds forever. When I was about 8 years old there were a a couple were friends with my parents. I think there about in their 30’s. Dad came home and Mom told her that “so-and-so” and died. Her husband found her in the bathroom. Later, I overheard them talking and they said that she went into the bathroom and put a gun to her forehead and shot herself. Her husband rushed in and found her lying there. Thankfully the children were not in the house. They were Christians and he was so ashamed that they almost had to force him to go to the funeral. I will never forget that moment that I stood in front of the casket. She had beautiful long brown hair and I overheard them saying they had to fix it so it curved over her forehead to cover the bullet hole. I just stood there staring.

All my life growing up I thought about it. They were such a nice couple. What caused her to suddenly walk in the bathroom and commit suicide? What could be that bad in life that she killed herself with her husband in the next room? Later I heard them talking about how a couple of weeks earlier she became more and more depressed.

Over one million people die by suicide every year. The World Health Organization estimates that it is the thirteenth-leading cause of death worldwide, and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States. In addition, there are 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide.

“Suicidal behavior is complex. Some risk factors vary with age, gender and ethnic group and may even change over time. The risk factors for suicide frequently occur in combination.

Research has shown that more than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have depression or another diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorder, often in combination with other mental disorders. Also, research indicates that alterations in neurotransmitters such as serotonin are associated with the risk for suicide. Diminished levels of this brain chemical have been found in patients with depression, impulsive disorders, a history of violent suicide attempts, and also in postmortem brains of suicide victims.” {}

It is suggested if you notice a persons behavior change, such as depressed, isolated and so on, you may be able to notice the signs of one contemplating suicide. However, it is my observation that if the person is in a deep depression to start with, how will you notice the change? It is my experience that at this stage, a person is silently, constantly planning their suicide and the method. Their lives, their thinking is so warped and twisted, unless a miracle happens they will carry out their plans.

At this point in my life I did not know what was wrong with me. I did not even know I had Bipolar I. No good or positive thoughts ever entered my mind. I was on a spiral downhill that kept getting faster and faster. My life was a total failure. I almost ruined my marriage at least twice before; about to loose my business any minute; I did not want to be near anyone, I was perfectly contented to be alone. All the failures from since I was a child ran over and over in my mind. That was only what I wanted in my mind. If you have not experienced deep - dark depression you would not understand that your mind is like a sponge at this stage; it ONLY WANTS negative, depressive thoughts! This is why it is so hard to get out of the depression.

 But the main thing that kept coming in my mind, is I just wanted off. I know this is weird but I could actually picture the earth slowly spinning and I just stepped off and let it keep going on by. I did not want to ride anymore. What was the use? Nothing will change. I am a looser and I could not stand staying depressed all the time. My family will be better off because they won’t have me around to make their lives miserable anymore. 

What we all must consider is suicide has a devastating effect on the families and friends who remain. It's ironic isn’t it that often the person who has committed suicide thought that no-one cared about them. Not only do those who remain have to deal with the grief and shock that is natural when someone dies, they have many other feelings and emotions to work through. Feelings of hurt, confusion, guilt, anger and remorse to name a few. 

I will not lie to you, my family did not want me to be this way, but they DID love me, and they WANTED and loved the “good” me with all their hearts. That is so important. Yes, at the stage you are in, it can make lives around you miserable BUT there was something there they saw before that they liked. THAT is the person they want! THAT is the person you must become again. Can I go back and change all the years I made my family miserable? Can I undo all my faults and failures? NO. But I CAN and be the person that is deep inside of me they love. I’ve mentioned before, if I had not sought help, I would not be able to tell my little ‘Princes’ daddy loves her because she was born right before I got better. Think about that! I have been married over 30 years and now I kiss my wife good night and tell her I love her. She patiently puts up with my mood swings and dark manic episodes because she knows I will eventually be myself again. Sometimes we laugh and joke just like we were newlyweds all over again. THAT is what I almost missed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rambling Thoughts of a Bipolar Mind

You would think by now I’d learn. Over and over I have made a list in chronological order of what I am going to write next. I have even mentioned to you what the next subject will be. At that time it is hot on my mind, and I sit down…and nothing. I cannot even touch the subject because it seems like some force stronger than me will not allow it. This may seem strange to you but I sit here and write what my mind wants me to write. Does this make any sense to you?

Some who comes to this blog hopes that I will say something that will help them. They want answers. They want remedies. They want cured and I am afraid this blog has let them down. I wish I had all the answers; say something magical and everyone who reads this will feel better. If I could do that, I would also do it for myself. I am not an expert. I don’t have a “magic” cure and you know what? NO ONE ELSE DOES EITHER.

The tremendous thing called the internet has hundreds of sites with information about Bipolar. I have searched and searched, but I will Caution You. Check out the source before you draw to any conclusions or try their treatments and recommendations. I have found several that seemed legit only to find out it was another blog from someone who was not a professional, and believe it or not, does not have or never did have Bipolar. See how dangerous that can be? And here’s a shocker for you: many reputable sites even contradict each other. So where do we turn?

I have come to find out that there are several successful blogs written by people with Bipolar who are, in my opinion, actually “padding” reality. They constantly speak of recent attempts of suicide, how the night before they cut themselves up and on and on. One even said as he was writing the article he had a gun to his head. I don’t know…maybe it was true. Page after page…maybe readers want blood. Maybe it excites them.

Listen to me my friends, I will tell you this -- by experience--if I have made it to that point of no return, I would not be writing about it day after day. I believe with all my heart those who talk about it; and yes, will go as far to say those who “blotch” up an attempt of suicide; who always has a safeguard such as knowing someone will walk in any second, IS NOT SERIOUS ABOUT IT. Trust me. Sure, there could be unexpected circumstances that you had not planned, but when you get to that unspeakable point of no return---nothing can change your mind, you will already have a plan way in advance if you thought about it for some time, it will be successful. BUT… if you feel you are at this point…just wait a couple more days. Think about it some more. Serious thinking. There’s no rush right? Give it a few days or maybe a week. Many…have changed their minds and are here yet today to tell about it. 

I cannot help what I write. This was never intended to be an essay on Bipolar, nor was it designed by someone who thinks he can cure you. It is nothing but the rambling mind of someone who suffers seriously with Bipolar I. Just remember all my poor writing; all my mistakes; every misspelled word; broken up subjects, sentences and paragraphs; every stroke from this keyboard you are reading from someone who is sick. The very words you read are from the mind of Bipolar I (Manic Depression).

I will stop here. My mind has suddenly became very tired. I will not even attempt to say what I will write next. Here's a quote to think about:
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       "But depression is not a sudden disaster. It is more like a cancer: At first its tumorous mass is not even noticeable to the careful eye, and then one day—wham!—there is a huge, deadly seven-pound lump lodged in your brain or your stomach or your shoulder blade, and this thing that your own body has produced is actually trying to kill you. Depression is a lot like that: Slowly, over the years, the data will accumulate in your heart and mind, a computer program for total negativity will build into your system, making life feel more and more unbearable. But you won’t even notice it coming on, thinking that it is somehow normal, something about getting older, about turning eight or twelve or turning fifteen, and then one day you realize that your entire life is just awful, not worth living, a horror and a black blot on the white terrain of human existence. One morning you wake up afraid you are going to live." ~~ –Elizabeth Wurtzel

"My Mind"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Battle Continues

From a medical standpoint, there are no explanations as to why after years I suddenly had the extreme, long lasting Manic Attack. Nothing in my regular life happened that could have triggered it. I was on the same medication for a long time and although I was not well by any means, it seemed to work as well as could be expected. Before this my doctor would not have thought about switching anything. But this serious episode changed everything.

I am “slowly” starting to wean myself off one drug, and she replaced it with another. After years of taking the same medication, switching is a nightmare in itself. My mind is confused. Try to imagine the state of mind the last time I wrote, and then at the same time changing the chemicals going to the brain.

This will be a short page. I just wanted to say that at this very moment I am doing much better. The  unstoppable, psychosis, severe anxiety to the point of rage has slowly subsided. As I write this, although my mind feels confused and sedated, I am much better.

One thing I do want to add though is what the doctor told me when I informed her I was writing this blog. I said that I do not want to offer advise because everyone is different and I DO NOT want to steer anyone in the wrong way that could hurt them. She agreed, but then she said you don’t have to give advise, but give them the facts. I asked her what she meant and she said: “Don’t hold back anything from them. Tell them exactly how it is. You will hurt them more if you don’t go into detail about your life, when it started, what happened to you, and what you are doing now that helps. Tell them EXACTLY how it is, you can even tell them about your treatment and what medicine works for you, and what did not. They read what you write, so help them by telling them everything, good or bad.”

I think this is good advise. But also very difficult. I have to study this for awhile and decide what direction I want to take, and how to start. It may take me awhile, but I think this blog will change direction soon. I will add some articles that I find interesting in my own weird way just to relieve some of the stress.
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"I wondered if I was just the sum of my brain scan, little dots clustered in my frontal lobe. Is that where the poems came from? The desire to destroy myself? This last depression had scared me. It had come on so quickly, not like the gradual woolgathering in my brain I had known before." –Betsy Lerner, Food and Loathing

"My Mind"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"You Are A Total Wreck!"

It has been tough. There was no way I could write before now. I still don’t feel like writing, but I just wanted to briefly share a couple of things with you. I will write more later, and in more detail.

I guess you could call this a sequel to the last two I published. On 7th which I wrote: “Ok…Mind Please S L O W Down!” with a follow up page on July 12th “Bipolar --Extreme “Hi and Low” Cont.” if you have not already, I recommend you read them first so you know where I am going with this.

Today is the 21st, and the “Mania” has not yet left me. Thirteen days of my mind being totally out of control. Mentally speaking, these 14 days seems like months!

On July 12th  I went to the doctor. Our intention was to go over the results from the Neuropsychological exam I had recently took. In about three minutes she shut my file and asked me what’s going on? I started to explain about the extreme high I just came off of, and now I feel like I am out of control; absolute rage mixed with depression, and it will not go away. Of course being the professional she is, she recognized immediately what was going on. I kept trying to explain, but she shut me up. Nine years of seeing this doctor and I have never had her talk to me the way she did. Until this point, she never raised her voice or even looked upset. I asked about the tests results and as best I can remember this is what she told me:

“Forget about the test! That stupid test is the least of your problems. You are a total wreck! Do you know you are going through one of the worst case of Manic Attack (Mania) that you have ever went through? It should be gone now but it‘s getting worse isn‘t it?” “Yes“ I replied.

At this time, I will share a link with you that describes some, or most, of what I was going through that very second: This is from  that offers a entire world of information. This is one short section of what my doctor and myself discussed:

Manic episodeMain article: Mania

Mania is the signature characteristic of bipolar disorder and, depending on its severity, is how the disorder is classified. Mania is generally characterized by a distinct period of an elevated mood, which can take the form of euphoria. People commonly experience an increase in energy and a decreased need for sleep, with many often getting as little as 3 or 4 hours of sleep per night, while others can go days without sleeping. A person may exhibit pressured speech, with thoughts experienced as racing. Attention span is low, and a person in a manic state may be easily distracted. Judgment may become impaired, and sufferers may go on spending sprees or engage in behavior that is quite abnormal for them. They may indulge in substance abuse, particularly alcohol or other depressants, cocaine or other stimulants, or sleeping pills. Their behavior may become aggressive, intolerant, or intrusive. People may feel out of control or unstoppable, or as if they have been "chosen" and are "on a special mission" or have other grandiose or delusional ideas. At more extreme phases of bipolar I, a person in a manic state can begin to experience psychosis, or a break with reality, where thinking is affected along with mood. Some people in a manic state experience severe anxiety and are very irritable (to the point of rage), while others are euphoric and grandiose.

To be diagnosed with mania according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a person must experience this state of elevated or irritable mood, as well as other symptoms, for at least one week, less if hospitalization is required.”

{The above text in blue is what I was experiencing}

Over the coarse of the years I have been her patient we “half-way” joked of me going into a mental hospital. This time, it was no joke. She wanted me to. She said the they could monitor the change in medication and how I react 24 hours a day, which will be faster and easier on me. She also made a point that although I am not thinking of purposely going out and hurting anyone, the least little thing could trigger me into violence. I sat still for a few minutes.

 “Doc, I don’t want to go into a hospital. You know me by now. I’ll follow your instructions to the letter, take whatever you want me to take, I just don’t want to go into the hospital.” She wrote out the instructions, wrote the prescriptions, and set up the next appointment in one week. She instructed the front desk to tell the answering service at night if I call get a hold of her immediately.

 She had me figured out though. I don’t want to go out and hurt anyone. I don’t want to start a fight either. There were many times I did control myself when I could have had the chance. But there is not a doubt in my mind, if someone came at me, or started something, I would rip his tongue out and shove it back down his throat! His size would not matter. The rage builds up so intense I know without a doubt no one could stop me! Under my breathe I have mumbled “Come on, you have no idea…!”

Now, I ask you this: Does this sound like the person who has been writing this blog? Go back and read the other pages. Different huh? It’s still me. I have just changed because of something way beyond my control.

The above is what happened when I went to the doctor on the 12th. I would like to fill you in what has happened since, but I cannot write anymore now. I do not feel good. There has been some changes, but not a lot.

"My Mind"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ok...Mind Please S L O W Down!

This is me....:)

Only those who have experienced this knows what I am talking about. How do even try to explain the famous extreme “high” periods to someone who has not experienced them? This is the time where experts says we are at our peek. We will, or can, be very creative. Well I sure don’t understand the creative part.

This is the period where the mind is going ten times faster than I can talk. I cannot quit talking, but it all come out as “gibberish.” My wife has seen these times more than she can remember. I was talking to her, nonstop, but could not finish the subject because my mind has already finished that thought, and was moving on to the millions of other bytes of information it is trying to force out of my mouth; all at once. I would bring up a topic, lets say, what I saw on the news, and then switch to something that happened at work, not really finishing that and would move on to something else.  

This is that period where I analyze everything mostly nonsense. I mean lets get real! Couple of days ago this episode started slowly coming on. I saw a red robin sitting next to a sparrow.

“Do Read Robins know how pretty they are?”


“Think about it!” Trying to slow down, “you have a robin that is awesome, sitting next to a sparrow that is nice, but just usual grey, does he know how he is prettier than the sparrow?”

“Well I don’t know dear, I don’t think he has a mirror to look into.”

“Yeah, but picture this…” I blurted out…”two Robbins sitting next to each other, one looks at the other, sees how bright red he is and knows he is just like him. What about that!” 

She laughed a little but gave me “that look.”

Today I could take any subject and break it down and analyze it in 2 seconds. As quick as you could blink your eye. It may not make any sense, it may even be stupid, but hey, what if someday I am really onto something here. The problem is I most likely not remember them in the morning.

This is so hard to even type, because my mind is sorting out the next subject; what will; could; may or may not happen at work, and how I am going to respond. Now, it’s thinking about tomorrow, what I have to do… This weekend…news…next race this weekend…the weather tomorrow and weekend…what I am going to wear…should I change this blog around a little…change the subject to another firs…or go with the one I had planned a month ago…

I cannot catch up. Maybe now is not the time to try to explain. Maybe when I slow down. I cannot type fast but my fingers are punching at the keyboard like I can. You ought to see all the garbage I am typing. Even spell check does not know what it is even supposed to be!

Got to try to clean this up a bit and go. I am very...very tired.

Experts also say the next day we will be off the high, and be a very "low period." They are almost always right about that but I try not to think about it. . maybe I'll try to explain that, if it's not too scary.

I hope this comes out the way I wanted. I cannot proof read it, because my mind will not stay focused.

Later ok?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day--July 4th

Happy 4th of July Everyone!

You must remember that because you are able to read this ...You Are Free!

Because I am able to write this blog..I am Free--We Still Have Freedom of Speech!

Bless you all!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bipolar Victims: Keep Pressing On!

*** Please watch this video, listen to the words and follow lyrics before you read this. There is not a better video that could describe the true meaning of this post! ***

Special note to my Bipolar Friends:

I was planning this last night and as I started today, I had to take a break. Lot of things happened this morning that gradually started getting me down. In the kitchen I mentioned  “in passing” what I was thinking of writing to my wife, and she said maybe you should title it “One Of Those Days - Take II.
Believe it or not, I almost did!. But I got to thinking about it more and I realized this is the perfect time to write this! I don’t think I could in fairness write this to you unless I am having one of those days myself, and explain how I have to keep going on, like it or not. I want to give you an example of how I live “The other life.”  Remember! The website address for this Blog is:
This is what it is all about my friends!

I don’t think it matters if you are suffering with bipolar and having minor episodes of depression, or bipolar I like myself with full blown attacks, it is not easy to put on the “mask” and keep going with the normal day-to-day life. The only difference is depending on the level of bipolar you are, the harder it is to pull off. Myself, there are times when I just want to give up for just one day, call it quits and completely shut myself off from everything and everyone. It is so hard!

Please remember this; IF you choose (I KNOW you did or you will not be reading this) to continue to live on this planet with millions of crazy nuts (Hint: They just have not been diagnosed yet -:) or unless you want to be in a mental hospital where they dope you so much you do not know what month it is, thus, never have the hope of getting out, you have to find a way to somehow keep going. You must! There is no other way around it. If you want to continue on with life no matter how you feel, you have to find that one secret that only you know that will help you make it through. Hey, do not for one minute think I am talking about illegal drugs or alcohol, I am talking about YOU and YOU alone achieving more than you or anyone of us will think possible: put on that mask and go on even when you think ‘I quit!’

What I want you to do, is to remember what sincere recovering alcoholic or drug addicts face. I am amazed by their courage.  I honor them for their courage and willpower. I feel for them when they ’slip’ and have to start from day one again. You ask any of them and they can tell you the exact date from years, months, and days. Every day is a battle. Usually when stress overcomes them, it is all they can do to NOT slip, but they keep repeating the date in their minds over and over.

If you read many of the earlier pages, you will get the idea of how bad I was. Nine years ago, it was greater than a 90% chance I would not be sitting at this computer writing to you today. Or, it was probably just a little lower percentage that I would probably be “Locked Up".
Now,  there are some blogs I have read from time to time that the writer with bipolar say they are totally cured. I am happy for them. All I know is from the experience of my family (my mom as a perfect example), research, myself, and what the doctors admit to me, Bipolar I or schizophrenia patients like myself may become remarkably better, but there is not one day that one or more symptoms  has not left me. It is always there. Like a recovering alcoholic, every single day is a battle.

Getting back to my theme here, this is what I am faced with. The last page, and this one also, I do not want to speak to anyone. If the phone rings, I will probably not answer it unless it’s a close family member. I would give almost anything in the world to turn the music up am now listening to up, crawl in bed, and lay there until night. It would not take much for a grown man to lay there and cry. My Mind wants to SHUT DOWN the rest of the day hoping tomorrow will be better. But I cannot do it. I have a job to go to, and my family depends on that income. We cannot make it without the income. I am not wealthy by a long shot so any loss of income for any amount of time and we will be.

Now, keep in mind the my feelings I just described. I know in just a little while I have to get ready and go to work. For the last 12 years I have held an extremely stressful job. During a non-stop 9 -11 hours, I will talk to over 80 customers and employees on the phone. I will have to (somewhat cheerfully) talk in person to about 20 people. Almost every single phone call requires some type of action, and most of the time, I have to make a split decision on how to react. A very poor decision could hurt the company or depending on how serious, even my lively hood. I do not want to get dressed. I sit in my room, looking at the clothes I am about to put on for sometimes up to 30 minutes. Then I start slowly getting dressed. Once I am dressed, I am a little better…until I get in the car and head into the office. I start getting depressed again. I try to concentrate on the different things I have to do every night, and though my concentration breaks many times, I picture myself handling situations that “could” come up--some really hard ones. Every day I say a little Prayer, “please help me make it.”

See, here’s what almost no one realizes. With having serious bipolar for years, and my memory is fading, I have to work 3 times harder the other person. I have to keep notes on a legal pad that sits beside me all the time. Sometimes it takes up two full pages. I am involved in meetings every day with about 7 other people in the committee. They rattle of numbers, specific things that happened days ago. I sometimes remember, vaguely, but most of the time I cannot remember who did what the day before.. I make it through the meetings because the majority of the time I can glance at my notes, and assist in planning the future strategies. Then the action starts. Just recently I was told I do an awesome job. BUT what they do not realize it takes every ounce I have to make it through each day. What anyone could do in a few minutes, it takes me twice as long because of the distractions that constantly comes into my mind. By 4 hours, I am pretty much in full swing. I am almost at my game. The problem now is my mind races a hundred miles an hour and I cannot catch up. I, unlike most, have to continually quickly write down the situation I am faced with and prioritize them or I will start on one problem, switch in the middle to another, back and forth so I am not accomplishing anything. About hour 7, the stress level is getting about to get to me. Not only am I still answering the phones, sometimes 3 lines are holding all the time…(Remember I still do not want to talk to anyone) and my mind is getting very tired. I STILL have to sound somewhat fresh and polite. From then on until I shut down the computer and phones, I am about to loose it. Saturday, after a very long week of this charade, I am so mentally drained I am a zombie most of the day. My mind, even though drained, will not shut down. I take a prescribed sleeping pill for this purpose and about 35 minutes, it starts to relax, then the if finally goes into the sleep mode (like your computer).

The people I am in contact with do not see “the real me.” They will see a glimpse every now and then, and ask if everything is ok, I reply in the most normal tone I can muster “No, I’m fine. Just a little mellow today.” The only one I cannot fool (completely) is my wife. She, bless her heart, has this ability to know when I do not have the mask on. I don’t think she understand how bad I am feeling inside, but she knows I am having trouble trying to hide the real me.

So, how do I do it? I MAKE myself. Trust me, I know what you are thinking: I can’t! We will agree one  main problem here and that is, depression breads depression. It “feeds” on itself. When we seem to be at our worst times, we only want to think of the bad things. We dwell, and feed on all the failures we experienced. We do this so often, eventually that is all we remember. I have no doubt I accomplished some pretty good things over the years, but I cannot recall all of them. But I sure can tell you ALL my faults and failures! When we are at that depressed stage, and believe me mine can get all the way into darkness, I do NOT want to be happy. I WANT to be sad. I listen to sad, heartbreaking music. I do not want to do anything, I just want to be left alone, continually being more and more depressed. This my dear friends is where so many suicides come into place. Life as we know is worthless. We want out so bad we can’t help ourselves. No one will miss us. PLEASE do not believe that for a minute! I now have many more grandchildren that I love dearly. I have a cute little daughter I would not have had. I have the best wife in the world who supports me, loves me, and I don’t think she could bare it if I left that way. And so do you! I promise you with every breath I take, you affect someone. Please understand this!

Remember in one of the first couple pages I wrote describing all the symptoms I have or had of Bipolar I? In most days I don’t have all of them. Some days I have most of them, but there is not a day goes by that at least a couple are always present. But sometimes when I absolutely have to, which is very often, I have to put on the mask and hide it. Do I succeed all the time? No. And you won’t either. So what if you have a day  and you cannot force yourself  to put on the mask and live the “other life” that you need to. Don’t beat yourself up the next day. Usually with me, the other day will be a little better. And so will yours. Just keep in mind, like the alcoholic take it one day at a time. You may or may not see it this way, but I Pray everyday, and my faith always helps. We need faith that we will be ok, if we keep pressing on.

An example is I am on Facebook under "Eagle Mind." If you were to read my wall, there is a real a real good chance you could not tell who I am. I write positive things. I post cute quotes. Sometimes I put cool pictures on. I comment or “like” on a lot of friends funny comments. That is me with a mask on. The other live, in one mind.

In summery, sometimes it will not be easy. It will drain you. It will take everything you have to succeed. I know by experience. But you can make it. I hope somehow in this poorly composed special letter to you, I have helped. I hope you read this and at least give it a shot. That my friend, was my only goal. Hang in there, and keep pressing on! You will make it!

I wish you only the best, and I will saying a Prayer for all of us