September 22, 2015


(In which I try to sound interesting)

It's hard to begin anything like this without getting over the feelings of being pretentious, self-indulgent, and silly.

The question is why to write a blog and send it out to the ether?  I guess my ultimate (and possibly self-important) wish is that I could write something that would be found and resonate with someone like me.  But I'll try to accept that will likely not happen.

About me
I'm the father of two wonderful boys.  I'll call them Jacob and Phillip (not their real names).

Jacob is 8 and Phillip is 4.  Jacob is gifted, sensitive, and an avid reader.  He changed my life forever.  I like to think that he saved me (more on that later)... and I'll never be able to repay that debt.  Someone once told me that the best way to think about children is as a gift.  They are not your own.  So in that sense there isn't a debt to repay, he is a true gift.

Phillip is a non-stop whirlwind of activity.  He was diagnosed on the autism spectrum in May of 2014.  It was difficult news for my wife Mary (also not her real name) and me.  My goal is to not see him as autistic, but as my amazing son who happens to be on the spectrum.  Currently he is non-verbal with some signs.  He does occasionally speak some words at school and therapy.

My wife Mary is a wonderful woman.  We dated for seven years and finally got married in 2004.  She has a biology related PhD but left her post-doctorate when she became pregnant with Jacob.  She has been so supportive of me throughout our time together.  She's a fantastic mother.  Being a mother to our boys is a constant challenge, but I guess the same can be said for all mothers.  Every mother has their own unique challenges.

I'm a computer programmer (code monkey) for a company that customizes business software.  I telecommute which has a lot of perks but can be difficult at times to keep focused and not obsess about the people I rarely see.  I keep my nose to the grindstone and concentrate on what is expected of me.

I was diagnosed bipolar about nine days after my son was born.  It was my first manic episode.  I was lucky to be hospitalized before I hurt myself, hurt others, or damaged our way of life.  I'll write more about this later.  The correct diagnosis was obviously key in managing my mental health.  I had battled with depression since I was 20.  I had been on various anti-depressants and was fortunate (in a way) that none of those propelled me to mania... which is a common thing I hear.  Of course, if the medicine had triggered mania I might have got a diagnosis much earlier in my life.

I have a long history of intermittent marijuana use.  Marijuana causes a state in me that is remarkably similar to mania followed by a much longer period of depression.  Being high for me involves decreased need for sleep, increased activity, racing thoughts, being prone to distraction, and increased speech (assuming there is anyone to talk to).

Right now I'm trying to keep my drinking down.  I started drinking much more heavily after my brother Andrew died last May.  He was only 45 and as I approach that age it is a nagging and frightening reminder of my own mortality.

Well that's about it as far as introductions go.  Not sure how day to day these posts will be.  No one wants to read about what I had for breakfast.  So it won't be a diary in that sense, but hopefully some more high level recounting of my struggle with bipolar, adapting to Phillip's autism, being a dad in general, trying to be a good husband.  Again, I really hope someone might read this and identify with something of all this... and hopefully not feel as alone, discouraged, overwhelmed, or depressed.

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