Skip to comments.Blessed with BIPOLAR?
Posted on 07/12/2009 9:53:03 AM PDT by YaZhynka
I cracked up for the first time - on June 4, 1988, three weeks short of completing my Masters degree in Psychology. Some would say I had a nervous breakdown. The psych ward doctors said it was major depression. I say that I saw just how evil my sin is in the eyes of God and it scared the hell out of me.
I cracked up, broke down, and de-pressed. I cobbled together some mad reality and blew a fuse. I despaired, decompensated, detached, and derailed. I lost my mind, never to be the same again. Thanks be to God! Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!
One year later, during my second tour of duty as a psych ward inpatient, I completed my Masters degree in Psychology, taking my final class on three hour passes from the hospital. I woke up in the psych ward, went to class at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and returned to the hospital for the rest of the day and night. Now thats bipolar! Psych grad-student by day. Psych ward patient by night. Two weeks prior to completing my degree, I kicked, thrashed, wrestled, clawed, and bit literally to keep from being restrained. I ended up strapped to a bed with a thorazine needle in my arm.
On February 2, 1980, I signed a letter of intent to attend Georgia Tech on a full football scholarship. Six months later I left Atlanta, never to return.
I did not know it until years later, but I was steeped in depression from the time I checked in at Field dormitory for Georgia Techs training camp until the day I boarded a red-eye flight back home. I was sad, scared, guilt-ridden, and disconcerted, all while trying to compete at a level of football bigger, faster, stronger, and more complex than any I had ever played.
The anguish over the decision to leave Georgia Tech did not get resolved for twenty years. It hurt. I had busted my butt since I was twelve years-old to earn that scholarship. But without treatment, without some understanding of the disorder that I did not then know I had, leaving, drinking, and/or cracking-up were my only options. Toughing it out would have resulted in all three.
Did I make the best choice by leaving Georgia Tech? Maybe not. A full-blown crack-up in 1980 might have speeded my recovery. It was going to happen sooner or later. Leaving Georgia Tech may have simply delayed my inevitable and necessary crack-up by eight years to the aforementioned 1988 hospitalization.
So why did I leave? Why did I throw away the profound opportunity of a full football scholarship? Why did I give up on my boyhood dream just as it was being realized?
Fear. No, not fear of college football or Georgia Tech or the streets of Atlanta. I was afraid, in 1980, to go face-to-face with myself - alone. I was afraid to deal then with the sin God moved me to confront in a psych ward eight years later.
In December 1999, I was granted a full-tuition, merit-based scholarship to attend St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida. On March 23, 2001 I was immediately expelled without a hearing, without due process, and without notice of any charges against me. It happened within hours of the Dean of the law school learning that I have bipolar disorder.1
St. Thomas University claimed to have received allegations that I had made threats against the school. I had not and never did.
Further, when I later represented myself in my federal lawsuit against St. Thomas,2 there was no one to come forward to say that they had heard me make the alleged threats against the school.3 In fact, the woman whom I expected to be the schools star witness against me filed an affidavit stating that I had never made any threats and that she had never alleged that I had made any threats. I lost anyway. I was a resident of Pennsylvania suing a Florida law school in a Florida Court.
I have looked at the above events, cried, cussed, and called it all a nightmare. A tale of wasted potential and opportunities blown to pieces. It is now a tale of God working in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28); a tale of amazing blessing in the extremes. Blessings all of it! The dizzy joy, the mad energy, the intensity in everything and the depression, despair, anger, failure, and lost opportunities. All of it Blessing.
Don’t give up, you can help alot of people if you can relate to their plight personally. Man, what a story. God bless.
Wow! I had my problems with 1st year of law school. I finished but never returned. God has something else for me. I await his divine guidance.
BPD it’s a b!tch, a blessing, a b!tch, a blessing.....
Seriously though it can be at times the most fascinating and helpful condition when you are compulsed into a subject and you don’t let it go until you have it figured out.
On the flip side the compulsory effects can leave you feeling deflated and defeated on a level normal people do not suffer when you can’t get what ever you tried to obtain.
Then there are the sacrifices you make because you don’t have time, even though you do, or the relationship issues.
Those are just some side effects, for me anyways. At least tegretol and klonipim keeps me from going into full manic sessions, which is solid.
Thank you. Your post is a great encouragement. The days of giving up are gone. Our God is for us and NOTHING can be against us.
Please get professional help. Your account of the St. Thomas affair makes no sense at all, and representing yourself in court in a case of that type is nuts — especially when you can’t even be consistent about whether it was state court or a federal court. It’s not a “blessing” to have your life in perpetual disarray, and imagining that it is, is just another sign that you urgently need professional help.
Great sad story. I feel for you, I truly do. however, do you realize you seem to be using this religious belief as a crutch to explain away something human? Not being judgemental, I see this in all so called “born agains.” If it helps, good for you, good luck with the rest of your life.
Yeah, it didn’t add up to me, either.
Representing myself in Federal Court was a wonderful adventure. It was a Federal court located in the southern district of Florida (just to be consisitent) and the Eleventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. I learned more than I could have possibly imagined about myself, the law, and God. And I do attribute every good thing in my life(including bipolar)to God. I’ve never heard anyone prove that He does not exist. Anyone who tries is living on faith just as much as I am.
*-mark for later.
I completely agree with GovernmentShrinker.
Bipolar disorder, like major depression is a chemical disorder.
You CANNOT think you way out of it. It’s not your fault and no decent person will blame you for it. It is a biochemical illness, and there are many new medication that can successfully treat it.
Please seek help. You cannot do this alone.
for all who have expressed concern for me: Please know that I have been in treatment continuously since 1994. I have not missed even one dose of medication in 3 years. I have a tremendous life, a loving family, and more peace and joy than just about anybody I know. Anybody who has bipolar should get treatment and stay in treatment. but I insist that my bipolar life has been a blessing and will continue to be so.
I am glad you said that. Someone I love very dearly has BPD and will not ever consider any treatment for it BECAUSE she believes her uncontrollable emotions are a blessing from God. To get treatment would be to alter the way God made her in her mind.
I insist that my bipolar life has been a blessing and will continue to be so.
Isn't all life a blessing to have? Creating suffering for self and others ... not so much.
Nobody is arguing with you about the existence of God. But the purpose of going to court is not to “learn about yourself, the law, and God” or to have “a wonderful adventure”. Either the reasons you gave in your post for why the school expelled you are not accurate (and are not the same ones the school presented in its defense in court) or the school did indeed give evidence of the threats in court, despite your claim that they did not.
It was very, very unwise to try to represent yourself in this court case (and perhaps unwise to bring the matter to court at all). I have no idea what happened in the courtroom, but in your post, your fail to even mention the cause(s) of action under which you brought the case, and so there’s no reason for anyone reading your account to think you were treated unfairly. Your belief that being a legal resident of Pennsylvania suing a Florida resident corporation in a federal court located in Florida had something to do with the outcome of the case, is a symptom of disordered thinking.
God has provided a world in which there are many avenues to get help for psychiatric disorders. Thumbing your nose at those avenues and pretending you’re doing just fine, is turning down God’s generous gifts.
Are you currently employed? If not, how are you supporting yourself?
I would want to tell your loved one who has bipolar that the treatment is also a gift from God that can help her to harness (not eliminate) her strong emotions in such a way that Bipolar will be an even greater blessing. When the energy, impulsivity, racing thoughts, and grandiose thinking are gently harnessed they can help one succeed. They become vitality, initiative, brainstorming, and big goals accompanied with some inspiration and confidence. Put that into the hands of God and he will do something magnificent.
I would too but that isn’t possible from me. I hope that someone will help her see that.
Do you believe that everybody who goes to court gets the justice to which they are entitled? That makes me wonder how you could have accused ME of disordered thinking. And you did say that you “have no idea what happened in the courtroom.” Further, I did not file the lawsuit to “learn about myself, the law, and God.” T
ose were by-products of my attempt to be compensated for the damages I incurred.
Contrary to your assumption that I am “thumbing my nose” at treatment, I have stated in other posts that I have been in treatment continuously since 1994 and have not missed even one dose of medication in 3 years.
I am not currently employed. 18 years after first being diagnosed, I applied for was awarde social security disability benefits. However, not being currently employed does not change the fact that bipolar is a blessing to me. One can be greatly blessed regardless of whether he has a job. Am I not free to decide for myself what is a blessing in my life? Or is that determination the province of a shrink?
Speaking as one who has suffered from depression for better than 30 years since I was a small child, I do not consider it a blessing in the least, I find it akin to having Satan’s jackboot on my neck. A curse and horror of unimaginable proportions.
I would never deny the intense suffering that is a part of bipolar disorder and depression. It caused me to seek admittance to a psychiatric hospital. but I, too, have dealt with this for more than thirty years and it has not been all suffering. And my greater point in all of this is that suffering, in itself, can be blessing.
I would encourage you to stay in treatment, to seek God desperately in the midst of depression, to praise Him simply because of who He is even if you are angry with Him (I’m not assuming that you are angry with God, but if you are, then I say let Him know it - even angrily - and listen for His reply and keep seeking Him)and believe expectantly that He will bless you and that His grace will be sufficient for you. That is what He promises when we surrender out lives to Christ and that is what He has done for me. I pray the best for you.
I do not blame God, I blame Satan (amongst others). I am not angry at Him, but I do feel as though I have let Him down. Treatment, however, hasn’t been much successful, and is often a trade-off for swapping one set of problems for another. Extremely expensive to boot. Doctors can only go so far. The awful side-effect of it crippling my physical health over time to the point that I cannot have a normal life like an average person is the worst of all. I just cannot see it as being anything but a curse and an enormous burden, with some days so bad, it’s like having a 2-ton weight pushing one face-first into the ground and you cannot even breathe.
Here's a deep, dark secret: You're perfect, and everything you do is precisely what God wants you to do.
Remind yourself of that whenever you feel "out of control" or otherwise less-that-perfect.
I admire the fact that you keep fighting. It does sound like an attack from satan and I think you are wise not to blame God, but when I have found myself in similar situations I did wonder why God didn’t stop the attack. If He decided not to allow it, it wouldn’t happen. And I did get angry at God. But somewhere I came to believe that God really is always at work for my good. And I decided that if he was allowing me this pain, then He was using it for my best - even if it felt awful. I know that sounds crazy. But he did transform me. My life isn’t perfect, but I do now have joy. I’m not always giddily happy, but I have a deep sense of peace almost always now. The apostle Paul begged God three times to take away what he called his “thorn in the flesh.” God responded by telling him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Paul came to see the thorn as a gift that kept him from becoming proud. It moved him to rely completely on God. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers - after they had left him for dead in a well. 12 years later he was able to say, “What man intended for evil, God has turned for good and the saving of many lives.” Joseph had become the second most powerful man in all of Egypt - through what he had suffered.
I recently read a statement from a columnist who had bipolar disorder. He said that his depression made him a kinder, more sensitive person. I hope God shows you the meaning of what you have suffered. Your fight has encouraged me. It has not been fought on a level playing field. That makes all of your accomplishments even m,ore significant. And, if you are like me, then just getting out of bed has sometimes been a heroic feat.
Sorry, I didn’t mean a thread hijacking or to turn it from the subject at hand into a religious debate. I’m a Christian, but I disagree with some of those points. Namely, I don’t believe anyone currently alive is “perfect.” I would say only J.C. would tend to meet that threshold. Secondly, I disagree with the point that everything we do is God’s doing. By that reckoning, when we commit sinful actions, that would be laying the blame on Him, and that is simply wrong in my estimation. I think many of our problems stem from either ourselves or others engaged in sinful behavior for which He does not condone, and hence the repercussions. I do believe there is such a thing as free will, and either we follow Him or we don’t, but that not every thing we do is like a puppet on a string. If it was the way you suggest, that’s the more depressing theory, because that means we cannot, by our actions, willfully learn to follow Him and improve ourselves.
No, but I looked up your case, and the original decision is published in full online. One the several reasons for your lack of success was "failure to state a claim". Not surprising, because that was one of things I noticed missing from the description in your original post. Clearly stating a claim -- to which specific law applies, and over which the court in question has jurisdiction -- is a prerequisite to success in any lawsuit. There is no indication that your case wasn't handled in full accordance with the law.
One of the symptoms of the manic phases of bipolar disorder is extreme overconfidence. The fact that you chose to pursue your case without benefit of qualified legal counsel was therefore probably the direct result of your "blessing" (either that, or no lawyer was willing to take your case, because you had no legal basis for an action against the law school). Nobody can stop you from going around felling blessed, and I'm glad to hear you're under professional treatment and taking medication. But effort is also required in order to get good results, and that generally requires recognizing that there's a problem. I'm sure there are alcoholics lying in a drunken stupor, imagining that they're "blessed", but until they focus on the fact that they're alcoholics they aren't going get any better, and their "blessing" will continue to be a drag on the rest of society.
I realize it's not your fault that you suffer from mental illness, but please do your best to recognize the *bad* effects of it, so that you can work on making those effects go away. Do not assume that this would make the blessings go away too -- if the blessings are real, they won't be driven away by improvements in other areas.
I don’t know how much of it I’d call fighting, there’s been a lot more surrendering, and that’s not a good thing. It’s just exceptionally difficult, and so much of it seems so utterly pointless (the pointlessness being more a tool of Satan’s than of God’s). Of course, sometimes our lives, especially disastrous ones, are often only meant as a warning sign to others not to let it happen to you. Well, I guess I won’t know for sure until after I buy the farm, and perhaps not even then. I still fear I’m going to be met with a lot of head-shakes and tongue-clicks on Judgment Day for having wasted a lot of time (alas, a particularly nasty side effect of depression and illness when you are so sapped and discouraged from trying to overcome). Unlike you, however, as time passes, I become more bitter and moribund, especially towards my own failings. Probably far too much self-pity, which is likely also more sinfulness. I’m also just very tired in every regard. It’s very hard to relate the bulk of my situation with most others, and perhaps in a way, that’s a relief, because I wouldn’t want most people to walk in my shoes.
I could make 350 pages worth of arguments for my positions. According to the publisher, “Blessed with Bipolar” should be in print and available no later than the end of October 2009.
My claim against the school was for breach of contract. The school’s publications (handbooks, student manuals, catalogs, etc...) constitute terms of an implied contract between a private school and its students. The school had published a long list of procedures and rights guaranteed to students before an expulsion could take place. I, however, was expelled immediately without anyone from the school ever even speaking with me, let alone conducting the formal hearing which was required by the terms of the contract. During the case no one came forward to substantiate the accusations the school had alleged against me. In fact, their star witness filed an affidavit on MY behalf, stating that the accusations, which they attributed to her, were not only false, but had never been made.
As for my “bipolar overconfidence” leading me to make the “mistake” of representing myself. I filed scores of documents over the course of 5 years, did such excellent research that I was hired by an attorney, made numerous thorough and well-reasoned arguments in many Motions and Briefs, put together a 200 page appeal, complied with ALL ot the court’s requirements - On Time, (the opposing attorney repeatedly requested extensions of time for his filings, and responded fully to all of the requests and motions of my opponents. The school, on the other hand, had to use numerous attorneys and three different law firms. yes, I represented myself. A less bipolar man would have thrown in the towel with the Defendant’s First Request for Production of Documents and Written Interrogatories. It took a Law School five years to defeat a bipolar man representing himself in Federal Court. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I suppose you would call that another symptom. If that be so, I thank God for it!
I can live with the fact that I do not comport with your stereotype of people who have bipolar. We don’t all fit the “drain on society” mold with which you labeled me.
I trust you don’t feel that way about your patients, GovernmentShrink.
I’m not a physician, nor any sort of medical professional, so I have no patients. Anyone who is living on public assistance is a “drain on society” at least financially. And while I don’t mind paying some taxes to support people who are genuinely unable to support themselves through no fault of their own, I do expect them to help themselves to the extent that they are able to, and in the case of mental illness this often needs to begin with recognizing the nature and extent of their problems.
I fully recognize that some forms of mental illness are not compatible with such recognition. I have a half-sister with advanced schizophrenia, who has virtually no relationship with reality (and is not on public assistance because the government refuses to qualify her for assistance because they say they can’t look at her psych diagnosis without her authorization — which she won’t give because she’s sure there’s nothing wrong with her, and that *they* are just out to get her).
You, on the other hand, don’t seem nearly that far gone, and perhaps could benefit from an outside reminder that wallowing in imagined “blessings” is not a socially or spiritually responsible substitute for facing real problems and dealing with them. That was the reason for my giving you the reminder.
I am not on public assitance. I worked for a long time and contributed significantly into social security. I paid for these benefits.
How can you feel so “overconfident” about diagnosing the extent of my mental disorder if you are not “any sort of medical professional” and have never met me or spoken with me. One might call that grandiose which, as I am sure you know, is a symptom of bipolar disorder.
You have also drawn firm conclusions about the nature of my lawsuit while at the same time saying, “I have no idea what went on in the court room.” This belief that you are somehow clairvoyant would possibly indicate schizophrenia or, perhaps, a thought disorder.
There is also some genuine cognitive incongruity in your statement that my thinking is disorganized, your insistence that I am suffering deeply (although, again, you have never observed me), and your assessment that I am grandiose (overconfident due to bipolar). How is that congruent with your conclusion that I am “not that far gone” and should not be on disability? And what leads you to assume that I have not tried to help myself? As you know I have been in treatment a long time, have earned a masters degree in psychology, went to law school on a full merit scholarship, and did not apply for disability for 18 years after first being diagnosed. I understand that you are not “any sort of medical professional.” It would seem also that you may not be any sort of employment specialist. I’m assuming also that you are not “any sort of attorney.”
God will give you that guidance. It sounds like you are close to Him. Perhaps the desires that are already in your heart were put there by Him. Maybe not. Just a thought and maybe something to pray about. I do know this. If you are seeking God’s direction and wanting to do His will and you take a wrong step, He won’t let you go too far in that direction before setting you back on course. When I’m not quite sure of His direction, I take small steps where I think He might be leading. If I’m on the right path, He lights it up a little more.
I did not say that you shouldn’t be on disability — just that you should be working towards getting off it, and focusing on what needs to be done to accomplish that.
Thank you for your interest in my condition and my story. I was surprised to hear that you took the time to find and read the court’s decision online. It really was an adventure. If I had known at the beginning the massive amount of work I would have to put into it, I may not have done it. But I learned to just deal with what was in front of me at the time and not be concerned with might come next until it showed up in my mailbox. It was quite a battle between the school and me. It didn’t take long for me to get comfortable with applying the law to the facts and crafting well-reasoned arguments. I might be making a good living at it today had I not been expelled. But that’s another blessing. There isn’t a law firm in the country that would be able to keep me under control as an employee.
I am working toward getting off disability. I have spent the past two years writing a book, “Blessed with Bipolar.” I have found a publisher who will print my work, distribute it, and help to market it. If the book is successful, I will be off disability. I am also near completion of my coursework for ministry certification. I plan to use the book to start a preaching and, possibly, counseling ministry. However, given bipolar disorder, I know that this will need to be my own venture and not a full-time job in which I am employed by somebody else. I’ll do it on my schedule, in the way that I choose to do it.
You’re in manic swing now? That’s what I’d bet. Government Shrinker, Tigers Eye and EEDUDE are all right, I’d think. Until you get yourself stabilized on meds or in a sanitarium, you are a constant disruptive influence. Bipolar is no blessing!
Free Republic is NOT the place for therapy for your problem either. Bipolar patients respond well to rest and calm. Quietude and tranquility! Free Republic is a continual uproar, near chaos. So your post here is yet another clue that you are seeking the rush of the manic phase.
My Dad had severe bipolar, my wife’s close friend’s son also has it bad. I know very well how much of a disruption the manic swing can be. Please check yourself into a clinic or seek what medical help you can.
Good luck with the book and your other future plans. I’m glad to hear you’ve plotted a course toward self-sufficiency, and sincerely hope you are successful.
You would lose your bet. As I have said before, I have been in treatment continuously since 1994 and have not missed even one dosage of medication in 3 years. My doctor and counselor both say that I am stable and have been for years. Before you rush to conclude that bipolar is not a blessing, I would ask that you read my book which will be in print this fall. “blessed with Bipolar,” by Richard Jarzynka (Ya’Zhynka)
Those who have encouraged me to get into treatment (not knowing that I have been in treatment continuously for many years), seem to contradict themselves. On the one hand they encourage treatment as necessary and beneficial, but at the same time they discount the possibility that my treatment may have been so effective that I now am doing so well that I can look back and see my experience of bipolar as a blessing and write a book about it. It sounds like you are insisting that “treatment is the right thing to do, but unless you stay miserable and unproductive you are in denial.” That’s nuts!
Go see a real doctor, not an imaginary friend, not yourself, and bring a copy this post to show that doctor.
And now you accuse me of lying about my treatment. Read the book and then judge me. It will be in print this fall. Sorry, I refuse to be miserable about the fact that I have bipolar disorder. I rejoice in the fact that I earned the scholarships, completed a master’s degree, ran a marathon, and held a number of jobs, not, in spite of bipolar, but with it and sometimes because of it. And, yes, Jesus Christ has blessed me greatly in it. I don’t deny the intense pain I have suffered. Neither do I regret it. It has enlightened and driven me past my many failures. Praise God!
God bless you Sir!
(Sorry about my screen name)
Thank you. We can succeed. Yes, bipolar is often painful and dangerous. And, yes, treatment is necessary, but we can succeed. We can thrive! And God can make it a blessing to us. I pray He makes it a blessing to you.
I love the quote next to your screen name. If I had seen it a month ago, I would have stolen it for my book. It was 20 years ago this summer that I last succumbed to the leather straps.
You are in need of professional help right now.
Go and make an appointment.
May I first ask your qualifications for making such an assessment without ever having met me?
Ask your doctor that! See him soon.
You leave me to assume that you have no qualifications to make your assessment. But take heart! I have an appointment with my counselor on July 20 and I have no intention of ever leaving treatment.
Please see a medical doctor. A Psychiatrist MD.
What’s your problem? Why are you trying everything you can to upset someone who’s doing nothing wrong and is living his life well? Shame on you - go see a doctor yourself!
The fact plain to me is that he is in manic with vanity post like this.
Vanity?! How about a man without a license to practice making an internet diagnosis of a person he has never examined, seen, or spoken with? That is vanity.
You tell me to see an M.D. A Psychiatrist. Have you not seen my posts to you in which I say that I have not missed one dose of medication in three years? I thought that would make the fact plain to you that I am seeing a psychiatrist. And I will for the rest of my life. That’s the only way to get the medications which are one of the Blessings of Bipolar.
There is no way for me to prove to you that I am doing well, enjoying my life, and having more peace and joy than ever before - and doing so WITHOUT wild spending sprees, promiscuous sex-catastrophes, believing that I am Christ, and going for days without sleep. I am simply very pleased with my life in spite of my failures. Maybe because of my failures. God has used my experience with bipolar to teach me contentment. You may never believe that, but, I do appreciate your concern for me. Thank you.
You are manic, in my informed by close experience of the condition over many years opinion. And I am speaking with you, or rather keyboarding. We are engaged in a bidirectional flow of ideas.
Yes, I tell you again to see an MD — a psychiatric MD. Not just a counselor — for counselor is the word YOU used. And now today, based on this new information I tell you to get a second opinion. See a different psychiatric MD and get a independent diagnosis from that doctor.
I am not using the phrase “suggest you see” because I’ve been through the hell of living with a person in manic stage. A suggestion would be ignored!
I’m telling you. See an independent, new, psychiatric MD, and get a second diagnosis.