I’m 50 years old. I’ve only been diagnosed and medicated in the last few years. I’m listed as Schizoaffective, bipolar type I with psychotic features.
I’ve been seeing things others don’t since I was 5, but was told consistently to not bother anyone. In the army, it started to get worse and heard the head of psychiatry and the specialist arguing whether I was schizophrenic or bipolar. I was released under another diagnosis by instruction of JAG, but warned to seek help soon. A few years later, I began the rush of mania, working 96 hours a week, then going out drawing all night and back to work. When the mania crashed, I lost my job and slept a week or more. The friends I made in my nightly wandering found me sleeping and brushed something in my lower lip and I was introduced to self-medication, as that little stopped the psychosis. I began consulting on and off, but as a little turns to more, my work became sporadic. I made a few good friends, but when mania would set in, I’d become hyper-sexual, it could go on hours or days, and every time I lost work, I’d begin self-medicating again. My employers started communicating with each other and would be put in a quiet room to do my calculations and drafting, but sooner or later, I’d begin going off on them or co-workers and be invited to resign. A friend took me to someone who might help, putting me to sleep with amitriptyline daily for a month… Of course when I got off the tricycle antidepressants, I went full manic for a month… He made me read and watch movies about bipolar s, after some years, and several jobs, and travelling halfway around the country to meet and have sex with a woman, I began accepting that I couldn’t be in a relationship. I ended with a girl who had similar problems. That lasted 7 years, but when manic, I had always been manic… When depressed, the same, with no memories of the other times. I started videoing and journalizing myself. An old co-worker asked me to partner with him. I took the job, knowing that I’d hurt so many people in so many places with my behaviors. I lost my housing because of a drunk horny roommate and began living in my car. Of course I began another mania, when my boss did something I couldn’t agree with, I drove off with the car he was helping me with, and his credit card. I spent that mania and money helping get a friend clean and her son back, but hurting her in the process. I lost my passport and SS card, so when I moved to a site in the woods, it took me months to re-establish my ability to work, then couldn’t work more than a couple days a week at most. I’d go downtown, looking for mail and shelter, going to a friend’s trap-house to wash and eat every few weeks, self-medicating again. I hooked up with a clinic, who finally hospitalized me. I spent 8 months that year hospitalized, was diagnosed schizoaffective, bipolar I with psychotic features and began medication.. after 2-3 years homeless with people mocking my symptoms, since I wasn’t like the downtown homeless crowd, the VA picked me up and put me up in a room downtown. I couldn’t go out without seeing people as skeletons, and the buildings collapsing around them. The VA finally changed me to 100% service connected disability, giving me a month to move.
When depressed, I can hardly communicate, when manic, I feel that I need no meds. When I try that, my psych team show me recordings of what I was like before… Even when I can’t feel myself, I pick up all the feeling spread from all the people around me. After finding a room, then a campsite, and much negotiation, I got where I am today, in an apartment, clean several months, but having hurt every partner I had, every employer. But I’m beginning in another town with a new psychiatrist, a new therapist who wants to try socializing me by setting up a group where I can share the tools that did work for me. I should start on new meds in a week or two to control the psychoses, so I’m hopeful, grateful for all the people who have truly helped me through homelessness to where I live today. Well away from old friends who supported my self-medicating.
I can retreat from crowds am active on self-help groups in FB, and working to patch all the parts of me into an integrated whole.
Please feel free to edit this for length, and ask me any questions you may have.