1 October 2018
221 Oriskany Plaza
Utica, NY 13501
This weekend, I was the victim of a crime. The “thief” took $700 of my clothes, assorted toiletries, and most importantly, my laptop. During the events of the weekend, I was almost assaulted multiple time. Please do not feel sorry for me as I have a great support network and multiple sources of revenue. That is not why I am writing today.
As some people know, I am Bi-Polar. When things like this happen to us, the results can be devastating. For close to 48 hours now, I have been managing moments at a time and staying out of a deep mania run. However, that will soon come to an end.
I am also an addict and alcoholic. Because I only have to manage 1 day at a time, I recently celebrated 16 years of continuous sobriety. Staying away from a drink and the crack pipe is 1000 times easier than avoiding a mania run. Soon my tools will run out and I will need to go seek help.
In a perfect world, the thought of me going to get help for my mania should be no different than you going in to have spinal fusion surgery or a knee replacement or a tummy tuck. However, as we know, this is not a perfect world. We know there is a large group out there that will find this funny and the subject of ridicule. They are the same crowd that wants to take health care benefits away and if they can’t do that, at least make access to health care harder to get.
None of their efforts will affect me. I will get the help I need and stay sober. One of the unfortunate side effects of a mania run is that you literally “forget” that you’re an addict/alcoholic. Then you use because you think nothing is wrong. I have seen it happen to many people.
The jokes and the demeaning memes that will result from this will affect others however. There is a reason most Bi-polar people never get to turn 51. In fact most of us do not make it past 39 or so because at some point we refuse to seek help and we commit suicide or, if we already have an addiction, relapse and die. I don’t mind all the jokes tossed in my direction if revealing where I am right now causes you to engage in less stigma.
If everyone engages in less stigma, more of us will seek help. If more of us seek help, more of us can be employed like I am and pay taxes like I do. We can even help others stay sober. All of that begins when you decide to back up the person seeking help instead of ridiculing them for it,. While we wait for all that, let’s see what the meme generators come up with this time.
Robert T. Oliveira
Clark Mills, NY 13501