Living With Bipolar Seth Polonsky, 37, Stanton Island, NY
I was 7 the first time I thought of suicide. I always knew I was different. From age 7 to age 14 (that’s right, 14) I would break into tears when I was upset. Let me say how uncool that is when you are in HS. My moods hurt me in so many ways. I used to go to summer camp. But I was a mess, getting into fights and being a blubbering mess. Being a grunge fan in the early to mid 90’s suicide was always on my mind. My first real attempt/thought with suicide I was 19, going into my spring semester of my 3rd year of college. I spent a week in a private hospital in Queens, NY.
I was in a psych/addiction wing of the hospital. Like many of us I was heavily smoking pot. To give those familiar with bag sizes an idea, I was smoking a quarter ounce a week. I was hospitalized 3 more times while living in Sarasota/Tampa area in FL. My second time I was sent from my job to the psych unit was Sept 10, 2001. The third hospital stay was in a public hospital clinic. The only way to describe it is think about “One Flew Over the Cookoo’s Nest”. It was dirty. The men’s bedroom was a giant room with beds. I vividly remember seeing a man defecate of the hallway floor. The Dr (if I can call him that) gave me a terrible cocktail of meds, including my foe Effexor. I say foe because I was constantly hungry. Food made me incredibly sick and I threw up almost violently. I went a week without sleep. That came after the nights of violent gory dreams.
I was the type of gore you would see in Saw. Fourth time was the charm. I had given up all hard drugs and cut back my pot smoking quite a bit. The Dr from third hospital gave me pills for the first 3 days out of psych unit…..but NO perception for anything. Number 4 was much nicer to be in. It was cleaner and the Dr’s gave a crap. Took notes on which foods were better for the brain. I started, for the first time ever, seriously taking meds and keeping on top of it. I now see therapist and Psychiatric Dr. It’s been 9 years since the last hospitalization and I make a conscious effort to stay healthy. I also have a much better support system, as opposed to my ex-wife who told me upon entering the hospital for the 4th time said “the next time you go to the hospital I’m leaving you”. As a side note…..long term relationships/marriages with other mentally ill people are very hard to make work.