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This is the reason for this blog. For me to tell you people what it is like to live with a mental illness.

My alarm clock went off at 8 am this morning. I am trying to get up at the same time every day for stability. That means no sleeping in. I got up long enough to feed my birds, then I was driven back to bed to hide from the world. This wasn't a fear attack, but rather a "I can't face anything" type of attack. 8 o'clock suddenly became 11:30. I am angry over this. But then the definition of depression is "anger without the enthusiasm." On a 10 scale of being depressed, I am about a 5. This slope I am on is steep and slippery. Below me lies closet time and suicide attempts. Above me lies normalcy. I struggle with easy things. Personal hygiene is a monumental task. I don't smell, but if I shave twice a week, that's good. If I brush my teeth 5 times, that's outstanding. Taking the trash 30 feet outside the back door might as well be climbing Everest. I know these things need to be done. I want to do them. I know they are not hard to do. But actually completing the task is nigh impossible.

But I also have an added danger in my life: mania. "Normal" bipolars spend months or years on either side of the scale before falling off the other side. I myself was mistakenly diagnosed as ADD instead of bipolar. I spent most of my life on the manic side. A fast cycling bipolar can literally switch in seconds. Several of my suicide attempts were preceded by a severe manic swing. I experienced a perceptual narrowing (I overfocused on something small and insignificant) on something dangerous. When my wife got through to me about how stupid I was being, I would go from a manic 10 to a depressive 10. These severe manic swings also led to trips to the hospital under police escort. I was on a first name basis with the police that specialize in handling emotionally disturbed people. Luckily the Memphis police don't carry Tasers, I would have been brought down at least twice that way. Let me clarify something. I was a standard bipolar (diagnosed as ADD) until I started taking Effexor in January of 1999. This drug piledrived me into a depressive swing and I have been like a ping-pong ball ever since. My first hospitalization was in early 2000 and I have had at least 15 hospitalizations, the last one in November 2002. My last manic episode seems to have been in May, and I have settled on my "slightly depressive" spot ever since. Now is the time to move up emotionally. Wish me luck.

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