By in Family

How I Deal with Manic Depression During THE COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC

I know that when I am happy, it may not last long. And when I get sad , I know that it will pass. Because I have Manic-Depressive Disorder. I was aware of this emotional roller coaster since before I was diagnosed in 1995, after I overdosed on alcohol and medication, and was admitted for a suicide attempt at the local county hospital, due to depression over the death of my mother and I had many subsequent struggles with alcohol and medications, not prescribed to me. I self medicated since before high school graduation ,when often I would skip school just because I was too depressed to motivate myself to attend classes. I was a trumpet player in the Jr. High school and High school bands from 7th grade to 12th. I was part of several groups. In Jr. High school, W.E. Greiner, under the direction of Michael R. Hyde, we practiced on the field, marching and in the band room, playing concert band music and of course, I made it from beginning band in 7th grade to intermediate and finally advanced band in the 7th grade. I was determined to perfection. I was chosen best choice for 1st chair trumpet in the concert band among over 16 other trumpet players by the time we were preparing for a record album being made of the concert band, that, at that time played Trumpets of Splendor and Overture in B-flat,and a few other numbers and I was also fortunate to also be in the school choir and was singing with the choir and the front half of the record, SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF W.E. GREINER - The Greiner Yellow Jacket Band, and Mr. Payne's chorus on the other side of the record. When I was in 7th grade, my sister, one of my older sisters, was 1st chair bass clarinet and she was 2 grades above me. When I entered into 8th grade, she moved on to W.H. Adamson, formerly Oak Cliff High School, once earlier in the first days of Dallas, an all white school, now a mixture of many different ethnicities in attendance.

My issue with Bipolar 1 Mixed, also known as Manic Depression was not fully understood in my early teen - adult years. I was not at that time using alcohol nor medications to quell my mood swings. I was highly creative in art class and took additional side courses, such as basic drafting, where they taught us Isometric and oblique perspective drawings, and angular drawings of mechanical shapes Top view, Side view and Bottom view to scale. I excelled in both drafting and art as well as sociology and other classes like math and so forth. I once even took some piano classes. So my days in public education were days of personal development. But as time went by, during the 60s, I struggled with mood swings. I could see how hard my father had it. He was employed at Hill Optical Company, Downtown, Dallas, TX, working on an instrument called the Lensometer, (A lensmeter or lensometer, also known as a focimeter or vertometer, is an ophthalmic instrument . It is mainly used by optometrists and opticians to verify the correct prescription in a pair of eyeglasses, to properly orient and mark uncut lenses, and to confirm the correct mounting of lenses in spectacle frames.) He was good at his job. But due to his handicap, having been stricken with Polio during the Polio epidemic of 1916, he fell ill to this childhood disease that all but paralyzed him, Infantile Paralysis was the simple name given to the disease. He had been taken advantage of by his employer and paid very poorly. We all lived in basic poverty most of our childhood lives, due to my father's handicap and although he had a very high aptitude with numbers and he was an extremely rational minded man, our mother, who was basically a housewife, having raised us 5 children on our father's income, we were barely able to make it.

But, going forward in time to the current day , I am now 63. Both my parents have died, 1995, my mother's passing, and 2002, my father's death, were about 7 years apart. During my mother's life I noticed she suffered severe depression. I noticed that she spent long hours in bed, reading and writing. She wrote stories and poems and attempted many times to submit her poems and stories to publishers. She came from a very wealthy family actually. She was raised in Richmond, Virginia, where she was born. My father, born in North Carolina, played guitar and somehow, they managed to find each other. I imagine my father was a traveling salesman at the time, just passing through the state of Virginia. I don't really know how they met or where, but a story my father told me was that he proposed 3 times until my mother accepted.

The thing that kept me from feeling hopeless during the recent Covid-19 pandemic was my wife's support and my involvement with some people who are on the front line of Covid-19. One is with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services who is a biochemist and another person I became a social media follower of was an environmentalist who formerly was employed with a group of oceanographers I connected with people who were on the forefront of medicine and the fight to find a cure or prevention for Covid-19 and others who were painstakingly doing research on global climate change. Guy McFerson became one major influencer on my quest for knowledge about the ecosystem of the planet. I found that connecting with these people online, gave my life more meaning, and it helped me fight the moods that I generally, in the past, let them overcome me. So, basically, in summary, to make a long story shorter, I continue to research climate change, Covid-19, and on the side, am involved with a political activist group trying to keep American Democracy from falling in the hands of Right Wing Fascism heavily influenced by the GOP. Vincent Summers, who has always been a source of encouragement, has helped me in the spiritual realm. I continue to read from scriptures and try my best to do what God would have me do, to be faithful and true so I can maintain a certain balance between the chaos of the age we are now living in, and the peace and calm from ancient wisdom of the Bible. I will continue to engage with like minded people on social media but moreover, I hold fast to my faith, which is, without a doubt the single most important part of my life. Hope for a world that will one day be Paradise is the source of strength I need most. I do in fact, believe that this Earth, if we do not destroy it, will become a Paradise, but only when people have acknowledged the Divine Creator. I do believe that all things God, Jehovah, has created are of intelligent design. And that the entire universe is also. This makes this tiny little blue marble, Earth a very special place that I have grown to appreciate more than I ever have before. That is all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading.

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MegL wrote on September 2, 2021, 8:51 AM

I have known a few people with manic depression and they have a very hard time if they do not find a way to calm their emotions. The problem is for some of them, they love the "highs" so much that they are not willing to forgo them in order to level out the "lows". I am glad that you have found ways of staying level during the pandemic and it's always good to have the support of a spouse.

VinceSummers wrote on September 2, 2021, 8:47 PM

Yes, the highs. Indeed, I have heard that some run with the highs... There are all sorts of theories out there, not to mention categorizations of mental conditions. Sometimes the categorizations can be convenient, but unfortunate labels. I enjoy communicating with Anthony. Covid-19 would probably bother me a whole lot more, but I am online with Zoom everyday with those I call my brothers and sisters, and do not become severely depressed as a result. I find the Bible most encouraging, reassuring. Some might call it a crutch, but that would be an inaccurate evaluation.