Good morning dear readers. I have been interested lately in graphic novels. I was even having fun collecting them, but not only do I have an obsessive side about collecting things, I have poor impulse control when it comes to buying things. I also have a thing that I think is unique to people with Bipolar/Manic Depression in that I somehow need to purchase things, or find some kind of excitement. When I was much younger I collected comic books, younger than that I collected movie trading cards. All the time I had to be working towards a bigger collection or earning money to increase my stocks. It is a good thing I think to try and do at least one thing a day, but my desire to find something memorable in life to do, brought on most likely by manic behavior can be good and bad. It was good when I was learning to write and I would either write a full page in a journal or a poem each day, but when I was a teen I simply had to get out and at least try and meet a member of the opposite sex and also have a few drinks on a Friday or Saturday night. I am sure I was one of the few people who went into a Pentacostal Church on a Sunday not having completely washed off the hand stamp from the night club from the night before.
This drinking culture was a very negative thing. I don’t think I ever, in all the times I went there, met a young woman who I could date or even dance with. What I do remember doing was going to these places and either having to shout over the music and never have any kind of conversation that would allow me to get to know someone, or to simply hang around looking for young women I had known from before that I could strike up some kind of conversation with. Neither of these led to anything. I don’t know if I am simply not attractive or if these places are just selling a dream for the price of a cover charge and alcohol.
Being in a 12-step program not long after my teen years ended didn’t even help that much. As things began, I went 6 months without a drink but then a fellow member who I regret ever meeting, decided he was going to be some kind of hero and buy me a drink. This followed with a very nasty relapse into binge drinking and cost me a couple of close friends from my teen years. What I did find though, was that whether or not I was attractive, if I could get to know a female around my age and let her get to know me, I would do very well with the opposite sex. Places like the bus, bookstores, work and classes I took were the best places. The problem became when I would sign up for a class and only stay in it long enough to try and pick up the attractive women who were taking it. It is almost frightening to think of how many of my thoughts revolved around sex and my ego as a pickup artist. It was a bit different when I was in flying school, I would meet all kinds of prospective partners and get their phone numbers-Vancouver was a much easier place for me to ‘operate’ partly because I was away from all the bad memories that Edmonton held for me, partly because I was much more confident, and I am sure a good part of it had to do with my almost limitless energy that didn’t manifest itself quite yet in delusional thinking.
Delusional thinking was for a good part of my days a driving force. The funny thing is that once I got proper treatment and accepted my illness, life got to be better than any subconscious constructed world of delusional thoughts. Having things like a motorcycle and a nice home, a satellite dish and a sports care were just a few of the things life dropped in my lap. One of the things that is perhaps hardest to deal with is that to this day I still have some obsessive thoughts about a female from way in my past. I have no desire to contact her, no desire to have a relationship with her. I don’t even think I would recognize her voice if she called me up and I am pretty sure she is married with children, but she pops up in my thoughts a lot. For a time I wanted to contact her to confront some of the delusions in my head that told me she was trying to help me through some of my more difficult times, but whenever I tried I was either ignored or even had the police called on me. I felt so bad about it for a while that I told my Doctor that I thought I was a stalker even though I have had extremely limited contact with this person and he told me that a stalker would never come to a Doctor for help, never admit there was anything wrong. The other thing that is funny is that it seems that this ‘perfect princess’ syndrome cuts across a large swath of people with mental illnesses. There is a guy living in a building a friend once lived in who repeatedly tried to approach a young woman who has screamed at him, ran away from him, and put ultimatums to him. Another friend is obsessed with Tiffany Amber Theissen from the old 90210 TV show. This is a little less harmless, but I see this again and again. For a time this weighed heavily on me, and I tried to study what stalking was all about and came across instances where people were so mentally ill that they took it upon themselves to kill the object of their desire. The funny thing I have learned though is that in the vast majority of cases, this never happens, mentally ill people are no more violent or criminal than any other segment of the population, and when they are violent it is more often directed at themselves. I hope this gives a bit of comfort to anyone out there reading who may have this problem. I can’t just sit and tell people to let go, it would be very nice if I could ‘let go’ but these thoughts are beyond my control. What I simply keep telling myself is that the delusional person has nothing at all to do with the actual person the delusions represent. I also try to keep a close eye on my manic episodes, even though they are much milder, and I am the first person to request a higher dose of medication if I feel I am slipping away from sanity. The sad fact for a lot of people is that our illnesses, be they schizophrenia or bipolar or OCD, could possibly get worse and there is no special assurance that physical health will go the other way than mental health. What I mean to say is that we already have all the problems of normal people plus the cross of our illnesses to bear. My best advice is to keep seeing a Psychiatrist, be as honest with him/her as you can and build relationships not based on alcohol or drugs or sex. Find true friends and life will always be worthwhile.