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A Story of Living With Undiagnosed Manic Depression

28 January 2017

I’ve always known I am different. Not in my appearance. I don’t have a club foot or a withered hand. I’m not blind or deaf. I don’t stutter nor do I have facial birthmarks or a cleft palate. All factors for which I have learnt to be immensely grateful.

But gratitude came to me late in life. My “difference” is invisible to the naked eye. Invisible even to the most sophisticated instruments in medicine. My “differentness” lives in my brain. The most complex organic “computer” known to Modern Science. You see I have manic depression. Or, as it’s now referred to in polite conversation; “Bipolar Disaffective Disorder”.

What I want to talk about is what went before. Before my ‘becoming’. When I was timid, afraid and bent on self-destruction. The time between my earliest memories and the present. It’s a miracle that I’ve survived this long and that’s what this story is about. The arrival, the decline and ultimately, the metamorphosis of my being.

No, this is not a story about a guy who “finds God” or some such nonsense about salvation and rebirth “in the Lord”. There are enough such “redemption” tales to sink the proverbial battleship. This is a story of a paradigm shift in the mind. A gradual “becoming” of a lost spirit after decades of searching, questioning, experimentation and, ultimately a journey of discovery and transformation.

Where do I begin? Something about that question reminds me of Alice, The Mad Hatter and the March Hare. “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late; for a very important date” . . . Yeah, I was always late for something. Oft-times the things I didn’t want to do. Go to school, go to church, go with my parents. Many “go tos” and few “oh yeahs” My reluctance and tardiness inevitably ended with a question, born of frustration, from my dad; “What’s WRONG with you, boy?” . . . This question became a mantra of my childhood. Wrong! It’s an awful word. Sounds like wring. “I’ll wring your bloody neck!” And the fear. The fear of everything. From my dad to the guys who collected the garbage once a week. I was fearful of everyone and everything. “If you’re not CAREFUL I’ll take you to a bloody psychiatrist” Most of all I was afraid of being taken to a psychiatrist. Because of the threat I felt that psychiatrists were evil minions of the Prince of Darkness who will send me to a Mental Hospital Prison where they give you Shock Treatment and Cold Water Baths. All in aid of looking inside my head and reading my thoughts. And I couldn’t have that. Not at any price. Because if “they” found out what was in my head I’d have to face it too. And I didn’t know what was hiding in there. And I was scared of finding out. I’d rather have died.

So, I did what I could to operate “below the radar” so to speak.

Thanks for popping in, I hope you enjoyed yourself. See you next time!

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