Welcome to the blog feature of MH3! As a person who was diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder and ADHD over ten years ago, I have experienced the extreme highs and lows of the illness first hand. My intention is to connect with others who may be experiencing mental health symptoms for the first time, who may have already been diagnosed professionally, or for those loved ones seeking more information on what it is like to live with a mental illness. Through the sharing of my stories, I hope to instill positivity into the lives of those who are reading and help them to understand that they are not alone.
You can expect a few posts a week from me, not only on the topics I’m passionate about, but more posts and resources on those same topics released from MH3. That is why I’m excited to partner with MH3, and why I am thrilled to be launching this blog!
Now that you know more about why I’m here, I’m going to introduce you to my story…
I was 19, a sophomore in college, when I had my first manic episode. Prime age for developing this mental illness. Textbook status. And yet, I had no clue what was happening.
I’ll preface with a conversation I had years later, during my second psychiatric hospitalization. When I was 25, the psychiatrist in the hospital knew I was a big sports fan so he made a point to share that I was the clean up hitter for cases of people who have what I have, bipolar I. If we lined up several other patients who had bipolar disorder and put them in a batting order, well, I was the best out there. Most talented, if you will. As if I was the team’s MVP, the most valuable player.
That sophomore year spring semester was a difficult one. I ended up leaving campus, unwillingly, to be later escorted by the police to the psychiatric evaluation screening service portion of my local hospital. Never had I imagined myself in such a position, riding in the backseat of a cop car like a criminal. I was in the middle of my first full blown manic episode, and yet I had no idea that was what was happening. No one did.
Actually, everyone thought I was on drugs instead. My father accused me of this over the phone. “Your erratic behavior shows true signs of using speed!” Those were his exact words. How could he know? He was three hours away from me, in another state, so what information was he receiving? Where did this accusation even come from?
Well, my college basketball teammates were attempting to be good people at the time, and they went to my coach, expressing their concern for me because of the way I was behaving the last several days. One assumption led to another, which turned into the false accusation from my father. Speed. Of all things, he thought I was on speed.
Now, in retrospect, it all is crystal clear to me. I was up. Physically up by not sleeping a few nights in a row. Emotionally up by being unusually irritable and short tempered. Mentally up by speaking incredibly fast, talking a mile a minute with constant ideas and worries flowing through my head without a filter. I was up. No denying that.
However, I wasn’t up because I wanted to be. I wasn’t up because I chose to be. I wasn’t up because I decided to try something new and experience what it was like to be high on speed. I was up because I was experiencing my first biochemical change in my brain. I was up, as I later found out, because I was manic.
If I had known then what I know now about this mental illness, my collegiate basketball career may have panned out differently. But I didn’t know. I didn’t have the background knowledge. I was blindsided by it all.
And that is why I am here, writing from my perspective, telling my own tales of mania. I want you to know. I want you to get in the know about mental health. It may not be for you particularly, but it could be for your closest friend or your younger sibling. It could be for the kid down the hall in your dormitory who you think seems off the last few days. It could be for the friend that hasn’t responded to your text in a week. I want you to know that mental health is real. And it is something that no one should be ashamed of talking about. Ever.