“The Perfect Storm”

Since seeing the movie, “The Perfect Storm,” about a shipping vessel caught up in the middle of three storms intersecting at one point, causing a catastrophic event. In 1991 this unnamed storm with winds of 120 mph, claimed the lives of 13 people, I’ve often thought about the perfect storm.

It wasn’t necessarily the high winds that made this storm historical, not even the lives that were claimed. It was the way the three storms came together. It is a truly rare occurrence.

About 10 years ago I had the unfortunate experience of living through one such storm. The devastation and destruction is almost to much to recount. This perfect storm was the culmination of three of the most powerful forces on earth; life, bipolar and major depression. 

Mock me if you will but first consider these life events all happening within a fairly small window of time. Within a two year period; I lost my sister, whom I adored to cancer, my mother to cancer and my father to CPOD. Oh wait, there’s more. Ultimately, within a two month period, with the build up of anger, resentment and the hatred of life; I lost of my wife of 20 years through divorce, my step children, and then my well paying government, contract job.

Life was not looking very good during this time. Of course life was only one element of this storm. If you can, imagine being diagnosed, only a few years prior to all this, with Bipolar I Disorder and Major Depression. Isn’t major depression a symptom of bipolar 1 disorder? That’s what I thought too. Apparently, someone didn’t think bipolar 1’s depression was enough. I don’t know.

For the first time since being diagnosed with mental illness I came out of the closet to two coworkers and my boss. There are days I just can’t manage go to work. I barely leave the house except for work. While I was discussing my most recent annual evaluation with my boss, and talking about the extra time away from work, I stopped and told him about my diagnoses hoping he would understand.

It’s funny the way people look at you when you tell share your diagnoses with them. At work I am a very high functioning mentally ill person. The psychiatrist, after three long days evaluating me, said I was one of the highest functioning people with bipolar 1 disorder he had met. Oh joy, I’m high functioning. I can’t even shop at a grocery store. Sometimes it take me three or four days to get the courage up to go to the pharmacy and pick up my medication.

The Perfect Storm by Don Graham

Coming soon, how Christianity played out in this storm. How I was treated by the church, the prayerfully, thoughtful and caring people. Stay tuned.

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