Bipolar victim speaks up

Mental illness wreaks havoc for the sufferer, or victim, as I call them; for the families, mortified by their behavior; and lastly, on society.

I must put a brave voice to my mental illness, bipolar disorder, in hopes of educating or helping one person.

Bipolar heralds its arrival around puberty. It is years of debilitating depression with indecisiveness, lack of joy, uselessness, bed-ridden, or just a need to run my car into a pole, and much more.

However, on the other side, I become the center of attention, or becoming a writer, author, inventor, and eventually breaking from reality, or going psychotic, thinking, I am rich, famous, beautiful, and no one else knows a thing.

This is called mania.

It’s like riding a surfboard: Eventually, you’re going to crash due to the high risk behaviors, intense irritability, and truly experiencing madness, the normal person cannot understand.

My severe crash led me to homelessness, isolation, inability to work, function, eat or sleep, until Dr. Kanter put a name to my serious psychiatric illness. I learned it is a chronic neurological illness that was hereditary in my family, and about 70 percent of victims use drugs and alcohol to manage overwhelming symptoms that go untreated, and have no cure.

Patty Duke is the mother of bipolar. Her book, “A Brilliant Madness,” began educating me, along with “Weekends at Bellevue” and “A Quiet Mind.” I was not the only one; there were one in 100 just like me. And one in four commit suicide when most vulnerable from this hideous, perplexing, sly and expensive experience that is quite humanly remarkable, but deadly.

I take my medication. Some victims frown on medication that only manages oscillating between depression and madness. No one wants to admit to serious mental illness, due to the silly stigma we face. We are not crazy, cuckoo, nuts, loco or bonkers. We are sick with a lifelong disorder that robs the victims of logical sense.

Melodie Bush