Bob: Bipolar upper or downer


Growing up I could not understand why people could not keep up with me, or why I seemed more emotional than others, or why I had lots of problems in school.

There is a good side to being bipolar. I took many new jobs in my past and did them with fervor. I had two paper routes at twelve, and started working in a circus at sixteen. Then I got a job in the greyhound racing business working 24/7 year round. I would work for two years for the same kennel owner and then quit for about six months to go to a new race track, get another job and repeat my two-year pattern. I was always number one or two in the kennel standings in the greyhound business. I also ran a fast food business, and grossed more than twenty percent higher than in all the past years of business. I ran a bike shop and rental shop and nearly doubled the business from years past. I also ran a guest house in Key West. I took a job at the largest exotic bird breeding farm in the country, and learned how to take care of birds of all kinds. I learned how to grow and read cultures in the lab and could diagnose what is wrong with a bird and how to treat it quickly. The bird has a better chance of living the quicker you know the problem and how to fix it.

In keeping in line with my pattern of two years at the job and six-month down time; it was time for a new job. I took a job in a bowling alley and learned how to fix the machines in a very short time. As usual I would be in charge of the alley in the first year there. This is about the time when I started going to CMH. I stayed at the bowling alley for about three years before starting my down time. This was slowed by a change of meds. There was a new owner at the alley by now. I quit him and took a job at another bowling alley. I had to learn how to fix a new type of machine. I was made the boss in very short time, but soon it was down time. And time for another change in meds.

All this led to a failed suicide attempt. After a short stay in the hospital and a change of medications, all was okay again. At this time the meds are doing their job. I feel good, so on to another day with a better understanding of my illness.

I am going to group therapy and art lessons, pathways which all seem to help some with my anxiety around people.

I have taken on some new hobbies like painting, growing daylilies and photographing them. I am breeding new daylilies in the house to put out next year. I spend a lot of time in the winter tying flies to fish with in the spring, my spring-time hobby.

I can’t stress enough about how getting the right meds is of utmost importance. Without them I would be a total mess or even worse, I would be dead.