Real Monsters Bipolar
By Ben Whitcomb, Special to Everyday Health
My name is Ben Whitcomb. I am a father, a husband, a retired tattoo artist, and many other things. If you are a gamer, you may know me as BPgamer77, the bipolar video game guy from YouTube. (Yes, the BP stands for bipolar.)
My life has been filled with bad and often hasty decisions, deep dark periods of depression, irritable and energized moments of mania, and paralyzing anxiety. I have had audible and visual hallucinations and blackouts where I can’t remember what I have said or done. I’ve been suicidal and had mood swings I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yet here I am today, still alive and taking it day by day, me and my monster.
Sleeplessness, Depression, a Breakdown
Originally, my general practitioner diagnosed me with depression and insomnia after I had gone several weeks on very little sleep. I was prescribed sedatives and antidepressants and sent on my way, never really knowing what was lurking just under the surface.
In late 2001 I was in the early stages of what would be a bad separation, and by August I had suffered my first breakdown, triggered by my impending split from my now ex-wife. I wound up admitting myself to a local hospital here in Missouri for attempting to take my life. In the psych ward I was diagnosed as borderline manic-depressive (bipolar disorder wasn’t called bipolar back then).
I served my mandatory 72-hour stay, and with a little stretching of the truth and a higher dosage of the same antidepressant that hadn’t really done much for me, I was released back into the world. Honestly, that’s where I thought it had ended. I took my meds like a good boy and never really thought about the diagnosis very much again.
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