Posted July 31, 2010
My first symptoms of depression appeared in the fall of 1997 at the age of forty-six. I had worked at the same manufacturing plant for fourteen years. Suddenly, I was totally unable to sleep at night and became disabled over the next four years. Over the next thirteen years I would endure the ravages of various levels of depression and mania. My initial diagnosis was for depression only, and the variety of meds tried by my (highly rated) doctor never helped. During this time of poor judgment, I failed to respond to the impending stock market crash of 2000 and lost over half of our 401K retirement funds. I left one job for fear of causing an accident due to my lack of attention and concentration. The job I took was no less taxing on my abilities, and I was soon terminated. It was then that I should have applied for disability, instead we made a worse decision.
After my unemployment had run out, we made a u decision to move to Southern California even though my wife still had her job. She had a sister there, but that did not help our relationship as I felt increasingly isolated.
I was able to work sporadically for a short while before my worst mania episode hit and I left my spouse to move back into the house I grew up in.
The divorce was especially devastating to me after all the moving and job failures. Since 2008, I have sold the only house that was paid off and lost the equity in an ill fated business idea. This again was done in a reckless manic episode.
In April 2010, I was finally diagnosed as Bipolar I disorder. By this time I had “lost everything” and am considering whether I can live independently with only SSI and a very small pension. The real threat of homelessness is in stark contrast to a once comfortable lifestyle.
It is my sincere desire that my story be used to somehow help others. There has been enormous suffering in the wake of this illness.