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.
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Thank You so much for sharing your story. I have a horror story myself that involves Xanax. Isn’t it horrible how they just overdose us or don’t pay attention to our needs sometimes. My doctor now is great but the one before was just horrible and drugged me up so bad that it took me three months to recover.