Imagine what it would be like to be driving a wagon train, headed out West: dreams, goals, aspirations and a promising future ahead of you. Then out of no where, a bandit grabs hold of the reigns, takes the wagon for a “joy ride,” and then runs the wagon off of a cliff, almost killing you and leaving you to die at the bottom of a dark ravine. Worse yet, your family and friends in the trailing wagons did not see the bandit, and thought you ran the wagon off the cliff on purpose and blame you. Bipolar is that bandit.
Some people think of bipolar, formerly known as manic depression, as simply being really happy or sad sometimes. I often hear: “Isn’t everybody a little bipolar?” I do not think so, and if you truly had even a little taste of what it is like to have bipolar, you would never say that.
It can come out of nowhere, like a split personality, and make you do things your normal, real you would have never chosen to do. Party and drink out of character, buy businesses or cars, rack up credit cards, fly all over the country, get in fights, think you can fly: do whatever you would do if you had no inhibitions, no filters or brakes on your brain. It is at that point not a question of right or wrong, moral or immoral. Whatever your brain wants your brain gets, like a drug addict who never voluntarily took their first hit.
Your brain is designed to have checks and balances, filters and reason. Imagine if those malfunctioned. Imagine actually saying all those things out loud that you think in your head and not being able to help it, watching the words run out of your mouth like sesame street cartoon letters on legs, grasping for them but being too late. It takes away choice, it demands to be fed and paid attention to, and it can destroy everything in its path like a tornado.
“The disease that has, on several occasions, nearly killed me does kill tens of thousands of people every year: most are young, most die unnecessarily, and many are among the most imaginative and gifted that we as a society have.” –Kay Redfield Jamison, “An Unquiet Mind”, NY: Random House,1995
It can also be fun and exciting at times, like being able to fly and float, flit on top of the world. Hypomania and mania can feel like the movie “Limitless,” where you are bright, creative, witty and funny. Ideas and creative juices flow in boundless energy, self-motivation is not a problem, reigning yourself in is. You can wake up rested and excited with only a few hours of sleep, if you can sleep at all. You can hear every sound and see every leaf in exquisite detail. You can feel like you have super powers at times, even perhaps you do. But what goes up comes down, fast and hard and terrifyingly so. “Welcome to the Depths of Despair, no one escapes, so don’t even try,” as it is said so eloquently in the movie Princess Bride. Just as mania can enhance every sensation, depression can rob a person of all light, all color, all smell, all taste, all hope, and all joy. It can kill.
Bipolar seems to be one of the most misunderstood disorders out there. I hope to shed some light on the disorder but not dwell on it incessantly, especially since my goal is to mostly eradicate its effects and symptoms and traditional treatment plans. Those who read this book and are willing to work hard at implementing the MedFreeMethod™ may have a light to hold onto to carry them through the storm.
An important thing to understand is that like with snowflakes and personalities, no two people with bipolar are exactly alike. You cannot stereotype or put them in a mold. This is part of what makes bipolar difficult to diagnose and treat. Thankfully the Med Free Method does not need a diagnosis in order to be implemented.