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The cost of this illness


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14 months ago, I was arrested in a national discount store for shoplifting. Hell is a word that I would use to describe life since.

I was a leader in the local community (clergy, no less). My memories of that night are fleeting. However, I do remember friends

and congregants alike speaking to me one on one in the weeks prior saying things just did not seem "right" with me and that

I was doing things that were out of the ordinary. I'm still picking up the pieces from that night and have not settled yet back into

life as I will be needing to move to a diffrent area to continue the ministry.

This was before I knew anything about bi-polar or schizoaffective. I had been through a major, major depression in the months prior to this incident and

had restarted Zoloft (which I had been previouslyy self-medicating on for years). I was on the max dosage of Zoloft when this

shoplifting incident occurred.....really blitzed out. I have written previously about my psychic struggles in these forums.

Last week, I received a sentance after a plea agreement. My 2 count felony charges are now a class A misdamenor with 2 years

reporting probation. I'm also on Lithium, Geodon, Xanax (shit I had never heard of 14 months ago). Also, none of my

care providers call me a person with uni-polar depression anymore. Now its either bi-polar with psychosis or schizoaffective.....

still sorting that out and getting sick, literally, of med trials.

Looking back, I can't let go of how senseless such a stupid thing could do to my life. Also, the life of my churches as they have

struggled in my absence as I spent 7 months in a sub-acutre psychiatric facility for clergy and religious. I don't know for sure

where I am going.....I know lots of folks i cared for also wonder that about me and their beloved church families.

I hate myself. I hate this fuc<ing illness. Bi-polar, Schizo, whatever the hell it is.

Does thoughts of suicide also come with this illness? Some days, that seems like the most sensible

alternative.

Thanks for letting me rant and rave.

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Steve, the thoughts of suicide are symptoms of bipolar. You have been under intense stress. I am so pleased for you that a plea was accepted and that you will not be a felon. Your denomination probably has guideliness for a clerical meltdown of this nature. It is so unfortunate that the church cannot understand and forgive. Or perhaps too much harm has been done with the congregation.

I would imagine that your grief will continue for a long time. But there is hope for your future. Because of who you are as a person I believe that you will be very compliant with your medication. Plus the other tools such as therapy, exercize, mood charts, and emotional support which will all help you become stable. You can find a new normal for you and your family. And in many ways life will be better because you will be under treatment.

Why do you write that you were self medicating on Zoloft? A doctor prescribed it, right? So in what way were you self medicating?

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Self-medicating in this way: I went to a GP about 10 years ago and got the original script. For the next 10 years, i would tell friends who were nurses and physician's assistants that my "therapist" wanted me to continue on Zoloft. Problem is,

there was no thereapist and they would supply me with samples. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

Steve, the thoughts of suicide are symptoms of bipolar. You have been under intense stress. I am so pleased for you that a plea was accepted and that you will not be a felon. Your denomination probably has guideliness for a clerical meltdown of this nature. It is so unfortunate that the church cannot understand and forgive. Or perhaps too much harm has been done with the congregation.

I would imagine that your grief will continue for a long time. But there is hope for your future. Because of who you are as a person I believe that you will be very compliant with your medication. Plus the other tools such as therapy, exercize, mood charts, and emotional support which will all help you become stable. You can find a new normal for you and your family. And in many ways life will be better because you will be under treatment.

Why do you write that you were self medicating on Zoloft? A doctor prescribed it, right? So in what way were you self medicating?

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wow, That is very manipulative. Sort of an abuse of power. And the really sad thing is that if you had been under a psychiatrist's care your mania would have been caught, hopefully, and some of your heartbreak would have been prevented. I wonder why you lied? Why not just go back to the GP's?

You are going to make it past this. You will rebuild your life. How has your wife handled the diagnosis?

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Hi Steve,

I'm sorry that things are tough for you right now. Have you ever looked at it that the events of the last few months have been a blessing for you? Now you can get adequate treatment, and hopefully, be feeling better in the near future. I know that it's not pleasant and you probably feel some shame in your community, but you shouldn't. You have a treatable illness, and thank God, that it is treatable. Worse things could have happened.

So, keep your head up and don't worry about your diagnosis so much. You will be feeling better in no time. Also, it's good that they changed your diagnosis. Now they will take you seriously, and you will get proper care. Good luck!

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A couple of thoughts from a new guy. If you were diabetic (for example) and didn't have the right insulin you could easily be stumbling around a store grabbing stuff (I've seen that) no one ought to blame the person with diabetes for being sick. correct? Now if the person is trying to treat himself there is clearly a problem. I think there is this idea that mental health has a stigma of shame. Why? You didn't ask for this problem. This stigma must never interfere with you getting helped from a professional. If we use the Aunt Bea theory you want the fridge fixed by "The Man" not Gomer Pyle. *Gomer being anyone not a Doctor who prescribes things like Zoloft.

Meds being switched around and around. Unfortunately unlike cholesterol or blood pressure meds - when you try a drug, change the dose and measure the direct result mental health take a lot of time (Because so many of these drugs takes weeks to months to kick in) and a LOT of very honest feedback. Some of us are better (or worse about telling our doctors how its working. Being truly honest and having input from your wife family etc on how its working maybe essential to finding a drug or drugs that gets your brain chemistry correct. Whatever drug you find will probably need adjustment or change over time. I'm learning its not a one size fits all.

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No wife. A few friends have been supportive. It seems like most people just don't get it fully. Its as though it seems like a number

of my friends think I should be able to "will" myself past depression or anxiety. If they can give me the magic tool to do that,

I would do so gladly.

Anyone else have folks in your life who even subtly seem to give off vibes that this can all be "willled away" ?

wow, That is very manipulative. Sort of an abuse of power. And the really sad thing is that if you had been under a psychiatrist's care your mania would have been caught, hopefully, and some of your heartbreak would have been prevented. I wonder why you lied? Why not just go back to the GP's?

You are going to make it past this. You will rebuild your life. How has your wife handled the diagnosis?

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Thanks Sylvan......I also so enjoy our late-nite talks!

Steve! I've been wondering what happened to you. So glad to see you've come back. Glad to see the felonies were reduced, I'm sure that is a big relief. I'm happy to see that you'll be able to continue in the ministry. I know that was a big concern of yours.

Don't hate yourself. You have a disease. You wouldn't hate yourself if you had a tumor. You'd go to the doctor and get medication and treatment. So you have bipolar. You do the same thing for this. It's a disease.

Unfortunately thoughts of suicide occur at some point with most people with bipolar. However, you know that isn't a choice. It is not a sensible alternative. It is the disease talking. I'm sorry to see that you're still having such a tough time but I'm thrilled that you decided to come back to crazyboards. I so enjoyed our talks in the past.

Take care.

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As a pastor, this drives me crazy also. People who think that if you have enough faith, "bam", there goes whatever illness there is.

I've buried many, many good and faith-filled people. Is the fact that they died of an illness or tragedy a sign of a lack of faith......NO.

Faith gives us meaning in the midst of illness and tragedy. It is not magic. Its something more deep than simple tricks.

I need to keep this in mind for myself as I struggle with mental illness.

Anyone else have folks in your life who even subtly seem to give off vibes that this can all be "willled away" ?

I'll have to say that the folks that do this to me the most are the ones from church. That somehow my faith should be able to see me through the tough times and I should be able to shake it off. Luckily they aren't all like this. So I ignore the ones that don't have a clue and try to stick close by the ones that understand that this is an illness and I'm doing the best that I can.

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Steve,

Without getting all uber religious and offending anyone, the Jesus I believe in walks with me through my dark times, I can endure it because he has been there before me to lead the way. I relate a lot to Jesus' humanity, the side of him that (I feel) had to be frightened and despairing at times. I think it's sad that anyone in churches around you would fail to have anything but compassion and admiration for your bravery in facing what you have faced. Keep going, I know it will be worth it in the end.

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Thanks. Good stuff !

Steve,

Without getting all uber religious and offending anyone, the Jesus I believe in walks with me through my dark times, I can endure it because he has been there before me to lead the way. I relate a lot to Jesus' humanity, the side of him that (I feel) had to be frightened and despairing at times. I think it's sad that anyone in churches around you would fail to have anything but compassion and admiration for your bravery in facing what you have faced. Keep going, I know it will be worth it in the end.

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Steve,

most people really do NOT get it. Because they can walk off their anxiety or push through their depression. Because they do NOT have clinical depression or bipolar. They have NO concept of life in your mind. Life inside your mind.

Is it possible your hypomania gave you an edge at times? A certain charisma.

I think you would benefit from a bipolar support group. You can find them through www.nami.org or www.dbsalliance.org or Meetup .com It certainly helped me to meet other bipolar people face to face. And they will understand what you have been through, this enormous loss and grief. I truly believe things will get better for you with time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am so sorry to hear about your behavior due to an illness you can't control. I have bipolar II, and have had several psychotic episodes over the past few years that included mania, severe depression, horrible panic attacks, extreme anxiety, and social phobia. I even made a serious suicide attempt a few months ago which obviously wasn't successful. I can't get back to myself. I have always had a strong Christian faith, and believed God had a special hand on me. Since my bipolar has become so bad and I have gone through these terrible symptoms, I haven't lost my faith, I just feel like God has abandoned me. I never thought bipolar or any other mental illness would happen to a member of the clergy. I am terribly sorry this is happening to you, but I realize mental illness has no regard for race, sex, or even men of the clergy. I hope you are seeing a pdoc, or at least have made an appointment with one, so you can take the proper medication for your symptoms and become stable. Good luck.:rolleyes:

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Steve, you may consider looking up Living Room or Marja Bergen on the internet. She's a christian bipolar who created Living Room as support group for christians with bipolar disorder. There are a handful of them in British Columbia, and if you live somewhere other than that, I can pretty much guarantee there is not one in your area. That's the unfortunate part, but I, for one, decided that since there wasn't one local to me that I'd start a group at my church. I'm in the middle of that process right now.

If that sounds appealing to you, her website includes downloads on how to set-up a group, how it works, meeting format, what it is for and what it is not (as in not group therapy by any means), sample devotionals, etc. It's simply a time for like folks to come together for bible study and individualized prayer support from those who understand first hand. You can also email Marja personally, and she will respond. I've found her to be very encouraging.

Anyway, something you may want to check into.

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I can't get back to myself. I have always had a strong Christian faith, and believed God had a special hand on me. Since my bipolar has become so bad and I have gone through these terrible symptoms, I haven't lost my faith, I just feel like God has abandoned me.

I can identify with how you are feeling, but I hope you do believe he will never forsake you, but will walk alongside you in the wilderness on the darkest, stormiest, days.

I am sorry for what you are going thru I'm Steve, but I am very thankful and humbled that you shared your troubles, and that you as a Pastor are able to share this personal part of yourself. No man/woman is safe from MI's clutches. I hope things are looking up for you since your last post.

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