Skip to comments.The Gift of Manic-Depression
Posted on 09/02/2009 11:55:24 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.
Let me see if I have got this right— There is this crazy guy who thinks it is cool to be crazy. That is a crazy way to think—but then again— he’s crazy. Is there a point somewhere in this?
This guy thinks manic-depression is a gift from God? That proves he’s crazy.
This is not a commercial site to sell your book.
I’m thankful you posted this. I’d be interested in reading this book.
Good for you, you wrote a book.
I’m depressed after reading your post- I demand 80% of hte profits you get from your book as compensation for my mental de-pression
We have mental illness in our family and the stigma attached to it by otherwise decent, but woefully ignorant, people is what makes dealing with this kind of disease all the more difficult.
If anyone is interested in educating yourselves about mental illness, I highly recommend you visit www.nami.org. For the record, I am the coordinator for the NAMI Family-to-Family education program in my community. Family-to-Family is a 12 week program designed to educate family members who have loved ones afflicted with mental illness. If you have someone you care about who has been stricken with one of these horrible diseases, I urge you to contact your local NAMI office and look into their programs. Ok, Ill get off my soap box now.
I read the title and thought it was about Obama.
Congratulations on your book and i hope your journey brings you closer to God. you seem to be living my tagline.
If you could look at a bi-polar person from the eyes of a sane person, someone who loved that bi-polar person very much, you would not consider it any kind of gift. If not a curse or a nightmare at least a heartbreaking tragedy. No one they touch is untouched by “the problem.”