Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Still Life with Bipolar

This year it was finally official, the powers that be diagnosed me with type II bipolar. A double edged sword to me however. On one side it relieved me knowing now there was something of an explanation of why I do strange things, say socially questionable sayings, have put myself in (what the normal would say) crazy situations, and failed relationships with ones that will never understand. But on the other hand I feel now that I'm labeled.

So I've decided to write a series of blogs about my situation and reflect on past experiences to hopefully help anyone out there that suffers from this infliction. To let them know they are not alone and tomorrow is always a new adventure, so stick around to live it.

Sadly, studies have shown that 25 to 50% of people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide. Bipolar is a series of mighty highs and devastating lows of emotion. The highs are like what no drug can produce of euphoria, but the lows are crippling that no drug can remedy. And trust me I've tried them all.

A short list of manic (highs) episodes;

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • An abundance of energy
  • Becoming extremely active
  • Becoming restless
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Racing thoughts
  • Ideas rushing through the mind one after the other
  • Talking very fast
  • Feeling out of control
  • Quickly switching from one subject to another when talking
  • Extreme irritability
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Poor judgment
  • Being confused
  • Sleeping very little
  • Increased sexual drive
  • Abusing alcohol
  • Abusing drugs
  • Consuming excessive sleeping tablets
  • Denying that anything is wrong

Symptoms of depressive episodes, or depression, include:

  • Feeling intense sadness
  • Feeling lethargic -- feeling like you have no energy
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling negative or pessimisstic
  • Losing interest in activities that you previously enjoyed
  • Crying frequently
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Neglecting personal appearance
  • Feeling angry
  • Feeling guilty
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Unable to make decisions
But what I've found that these episode are related to triggers. Triggers come in all forms. A old photograph, a passage in a book or movie, contact with certain people, a stressful situation, drugs, (BIG ONE) alcohol, or a song. The thing to try to do is foresee the triggers. And it's not easy, because once you notice them your already in the thick of it.

One thing I don't agree with that "doctors" like to push are mood stabilizing drugs. There are over 128 different drugs 'they' like to push on us. My question is with this is one disorder, why 128 different drug to treat it? Answer is in two parts; One these have no idea on what works, the other is nothing works and it's just to make us complacent. Lethargic with no emotion or ideas. And let me tell you there are loads of us in the creative world. Here's a small list of famous crazy people.

Actors & Actresses

Ned Beatty
Maurice Bernard, soap opera
Jeremy Brett
Jim Carey
Lisa Nicole Carson
Rosemary Clooney, singer
Lindsay Crosby
Eric Douglas
Robert Downey Jr.
Patty Duke
Carrie Fisher
Connie Francis, singer and actress
Shecky Greene, comedian
Linda Hamilton
Moss Hart, actor, director, playright
Mariette Hartley
Margot Kidder
Vivien Leigh
Kevin McDonald, comedian
Kristy McNichols
Burgess Meredith, actor, director
Spike Milligan, actor, writer
Spike Mulligan, comic actor and writer
Nicola Pagett
Ben Stiller, actor, director, writer
David Strickland
Lili Taylor
Tracy Ullman
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Robin Williams
Jonathon Winters, comedian


Alvin Alley, dancer, choreogapher
Ludwig Von Beethoven
Tim Burton, artist, director
Francis Ford Coppola, director
George Fredrick Handel, composer
Bill Lichtenstein, producer
Joshua Logan, broadway director, producer
Vincent Van Gogh, painter
Gustav Mahier, composer
Francesco Scavullo, artist, photographer
Robert Schumann, composer
Don Simpson, movie producer
Norman Wexler, screenwriter, playwright


Robert Campeau
Pierre Peladeau
Heinz C. Prechter
Ted Turner, media giant


John Mulheren
Murray Pezim


Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
Clifford Beers, humanitarian
Garnet Coleman, legislator (Texas)
Larry Flynt, publisher and activist
Kit Gingrich, Newt's mom
Phil Graham, owner of Washington Post
Peter Gregg, team owner and manager, race car driver
Susan Panico (Susan Dime-Meenan), business executive
Sol Wachtier, former New York State Chief Judge


Ludwig van Beethoven, composer
Alohe Jean Burke, musician, vocalist
Rosemary Clooney, singer
DMX Earl Simmons, rapper and actor
Ray Davies
Lenny Dee
Gaetano Donizetti, opera singer
Peter Gabriel
Jimi Hendrix
Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses)
Phyllis Hyman
Jack Irons
Daniel Johnston
Otto Klemperer, musician, conductor
Oscar Levant, pianist, composer, television
Phil Ochs, musician, political activist, poet
John Ogden, composer, musician
Jaco Pastorius
Charley Pride
Mac Rebennack (Dr. John)
Jeannie C. Riley
Alys Robi, vocalist in Canada
Axl Rose
Nick Traina
Del Shannon
Phil Spector, musician and producer
Sting, Gordon Sumner, musician, composer
Tom Waits, musician, composer
Brian Wilson, musician, composer, arranger
Townes Van Zandt, musician, composer


John Berryman
C.E. Chaffin, writer, poet
Hart Crane
Randall Jarrell
Jane Kenyon
Robert Lowell
Sylvia Plath
Robert Schumann
Delmore Schwartz


Robert Boorstin, special assistant to President Clinton
L. Brent Bozell, political scientist, attorney, writer
Bob Bullock, ex secretary of state, state comptroller and lieutenant governer
Winston Churchill
Kitty Dukasis, former First Lady of Massachusetts
Thomas Eagleton, lawyer, former U.S. Senator
Lynne Rivers, U.S. Congress
Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States


John Strugnell, biblical scholar


Karl Paul Link, chemist
Dimitri Mihalas


Shelley Beattie, bodybuilding, sailing
John Daly, golf
Muffin Spencer-Devlin, pro golf
Ilie Nastase, tennis
Jimmy Piersail, baseball player, Boston Red Sox, sports announcer
Barret Robbins, football
Wyatt Sexton, football
Alonzo Spellman, football
Darryl Strawberry, baseball
Dimitrius Underwood, football
Luther Wright, basketball
Bert Yancey, athlete

TV & Radio

Dick Cavett
Jay Marvin, radio, writer
Jane Pauley


Louis Althusser, philosopher, writer
Honors de Balzac
Art Buchwald, writer, humorist
Neal Cassady
Patricia Cornwell
Margot Early
Kaye Gibbons
Johann Goethe
Graham Greene
Abbie Hoffman, writer, political activist
Kay Redfield Jamison, writer, psychologist
Peter Nolan Lawrence
Frances Lear, writer, editor, women's rights activist
Rika Lesser, writer, translator
Kate Millet
Robert Munsch
Margo Orum
Edgar Allen Poe
Theodore Roethke
Lori Schiller, writer, educator
Frances Sherwood
Scott Simmie, writer, journalist
August Strindberg
Mark Twain
Joseph Vasquez, writer, movie director
Mark Vonnegut, doctor, writer
Sol Wachtler, writer, judge
Mary Jane Ward
Virginia Woolf

So all is not lost...

Next entry The Orange Caterpillar.


  1. A great piece of writing, when it goes global I still had the first comment :) can't wait to read the caterpillar.
    Danielle kaitchuck

  2. Tyson,

    There may be a lot of drugs out there for bipolar and that might seem overwhelming, but there will be one drug that is right for you. I've tried Seroquel, Zyprexa, Depakote, and Lamictal. None of them worked for me. Lithium works to stabilize my moods, but it's not a cure all. None of them are. At least Lithium still allows me to be me without drugging me within an inch of my life.

    Good luck to you on your journey. I'll be following you. I'm going to publish your web address. I think people need as much information as they can find. You're in the beginning of your search and that can be so helpful to others in your shoes.

    Cristina Fender

  3. Arent these the same as the side effects of crystal meth usage?