For any of you that encountered me personally, or online, in the past couple months and said to yourself, “Hmm, Rick is acting very unusual,” there is a reason. I have recently been diagnosed as bipolar. When I think over the course of my adult life, this actually explains a lot of things. I’m not sure if it went on this long because it was never bad enough, or if no one noticed because I’m already “eccentric.” Maybe I just wasn’t ready to admit something was off. Regardless, I recently came back to my senses after a six week manic episode and now I’m cleaning up the mess.
Over the past couple months, I did and said a lot of things that were not really me. I thought I wanted to get divorced after 27 years of marriage. I spent money recklessly, like $500 dollar boots and eating in the best restaurants I could find. I had an almost irrepressible need to talk to any stranger in ear shot while I sipped my whiskey and enjoyed my expensive meals. My conversations mostly revolved around all the wonderful things that were happening to me. I was convinced I was in the process of a major personal transformation. What I was actually doing was running full speed towards the edge of a cliff with the wisdom and logic part of my brain, literally, switched off.
With this condition, I am learning, a manic high creates all kinds of messes to clean up. When the wisdom and logic part of the brain switches back on, suddenly there is debris everywhere. Frankly, it’s overwhelming. Inside the episode, everything in life sped up and was intensified. I no longer needed to weigh out choices thoughtfully. It felt liberating to make quicker and quicker snap decisions without any consideration for possible consequences. Honestly, this state is pretty fun, somewhere between exciting and euphoric. So, anyone trying to put the brakes on you is avoided, or worse, ripped to pieces. No one can argue with your brilliant mind until exhaustion and despair finally take over.
A bipolar disorder does not go away, but it is very treatable. I am currently receiving therapy and dialing into a medication to maintain my brain in its healthy zone. Things I encourage myself with as I sift through the debris of this last episode is the possibility of a future of more stability and less wreckage, less shooting myself in the foot, more building and less knocking things down. Thinking like this gives me hope.
Please, reach out to me if any of this behavior I described has created unresolved questions or concerns for you.