Honesty. I’m going to be honest in this post. Readers from 35 countries will be allowed into my personal sphere. I’ll drop a truth bomb right off the bat. I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar II. This does not mean that I am “crazy.” I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes me to shift from high’s to low’s at random intervals. The majority of the time I struggle with depression, while very infrequently I will experience periods of hypo-mania. Many writers (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Churchill, and others) all had their own struggles with bipolar. Birds of a feather flock together I suppose.
My outlook on life has changed for the better now that I have received a diagnosis. I have achieved a more stable mood and mindset. I am optimistic for the future knowing that my imbalance is treatable with medication and therapy. Now for the update on my life. During a hypo-manic episode (9+ miles a day of activity on 3-4 hours of sleep for weeks on end) I forced my wife and child out of my life. Instinct played a role (I didn’t want to hurt them in the process), but I just didn’t have the time or energy for anyone else (mania induces a highly exaggerated sense of self, planning, goals, capability etc.). I had mountains to move and rivers to drain and I couldn’t have anyone slowing me down.
That being said, I moved their stuff out and they headed to California to spend some time with her father until things cooled off. That was almost six weeks ago today. For the first three weeks, I was riding such a high that I had almost forgotten about them. I can’t begin to describe how unhealthy the entire ordeal was for all parties involved. I will let you use your imagination for how it must have felt for her and my 13 month old son at the time. Traumatic is the only word that comes to mind. My father finally had me admitted to the hospital, where I spent 72 hours coming down from what felt like an endless source of universal energy (I felt like I could run back to back marathons on zero sleep).
Upon leaving the hospital, reality finally settled in. My son. I miss my son. I miss my wife. How could I have done such a thing? The answer is hypo-mania takes no prisoners. I had forced out my loved ones, frightened my family, and was left feeling like I was at rock bottom. It was the hardest week of my life coming to terms with the path of destruction that I had left in the wake of my manic state. There was a light at the end of the tunnel, however (there always is).
I cleaned myself up, and began repairing the relationships I had damaged. I sought therapy upon my wife’s request and did everything humanly possible to become stable and restore a sense of personal identity. After several weeks, my wife and I are once again very close, and cannot wait to see each other again. I am ready to see my son, and I will never lose time with him again. This chapter does have a happy ending. I promise.
They come home tomorrow. And “home” is a new house in a secluded neighborhood in a historic area of rural, southern Maryland. We will be together as a family again for the first time in weeks. As odd as it sounds, I feel so blessed and so thankful to have gone through an episode, a diagnosis, and a recovery. I have come out as a better husband, father, and a better man overall. I am so lucky to be alive, and I am so lucky to have my family in my life. I will continue to write this year, and I apologize to my followers for my hiatus. I love you all and there is more to come. Onward and upward. -TRC