Leonard: My Story


Even as far back as the 70’s, it was apparent I was much different from the other kids my age. Not trusting authority, my view on the world was well tempered by messages from the counter culture of the time. Not feeling close to my family or anyone else for that matter, I spent a great deal of time isolating. My behavior with others was often anti-social in nature, and several of my teachers recognized this early on. Although considered by some of them to be a very bright and creative kid, I was viewed by most as someone to be controlled rather than fostered.

Having hit a “brick wall” emotionally in my early 30’s after the breakup of my family and an arrest on drug charges, some evidence to explain my lifetime of strange behaviors and differing attitudes came to light. It was apparent that I needed to address my long ignored drug problem and a new one just uncovered: bipolar affective disorder. Despite a long history of symptoms reaching back to the third grade, I’d managed to make a decent living, even attaining a professional level in my vocation. Sure, I’d hit hard times in my life, but this was different. There were no street drugs to see me through anymore, and the pills my new psych doc prescribed for me seemed to do little other than make me gain weight and leave my mouth dry all the time.

The pills were not cutting it, not all of it anyway. I started to go to support group meetings quite often and learned there were others out there, not quite like me, but close enough to relate to. This left me feeling that, for the first time, I could really identify with someone. My view of the world started to change from one of mistrust and disdain for society to one of understanding and acceptance.

My physician dispenses my meds now, and it’s up to me to pick up the slack. I still go through the highs and lows, but I’m getting more confident in knowing what I need to do to minimize their impact. I’m still a weirdo and could be considered “out there” by some, but instead of it being geared toward hate for everything society stands for, it’s a well regulated “kookdom” that fits in pretty well with my reassembled life.