The Holy Trinity

Charles - 34 - USA


I live with three conditions that have a profound effect on my life: bipolar, epilepsy, chronic alcoholism.

I don’t know the statistics, go look em up if you want to. People with epilepsy are more likely to abuse alcohol, people who abuse alcohol are more likely to have epilepsy. Along the same lines, there are high rates of bipolars who drink too much, drinkers who have bipolar, and bipolar alcoholics who have epilepsy. Basically, the three go together really well, like some yummy tropical cocktail (the mental mojito, crazy colada, seizure on the beach)

I just call it the holy trinity because I went to Catholic School as a kid. No, they couldn’t save me, but I appreciate their stories and symbolisms. And even though I’m a devout atheist, if I’ve had enough to drink I can journey into the forest and talk to god.

Have you ever thought, “why me?!?” I think almost everyone has at some point in their life. I do quite often, with many more exclamation marks and a few profanities thrown in, shaking my fist at the sky towards that great mystery I don’t believe in. Why me- why would I have three medical conditions that compound on each other? Alcohol is a well-known trigger for seizures in epileptics. And of course it’s a depressant, major no-no for us bipolar folk. And falling unconscious any second to wake up hurt and confused doesn’t help with my sense of stability.

Here’s my alcoholism: I wake up, grab the bottle of Jack by my bed, and take a swig. Repeat ad libitum. Try not to do anything sober.

Epilepsy: A few hours later, I wake up on the floor feeling like I’m suffocating and muttering profanities. Blood on my shirt from tongue biting, usually a few cuts and bruises from falling down, maybe a concussion or dislocated shoulder. Sometimes a crowd of people standing around me looking terrified.

Bipolar: I have mood swings, and have been described as dramatic or extreme. A few months of crying, not getting out of bed, not wanting to do anything. Then a week or so of going f----ing crazy, being a dick to people, putting myself in danger, taking risks, and being super horny. Funny thing, when I’m depressed, I miss mania. Almost wish for that exciting rush and euphoria. But after a mania, I’ve usually gotten myself into trouble of some kind (legal, social, etc.) so it’s an easy transition back into depression.

Try as hard as you can to be optimistic, or at least find optimistic, happy people to be around.

I’m not all bad though; there are a few things that go along with my special nature.  Maybe I even have superpowers. I’m intelligent, my IQ rests in the 99.8th percentile. I’m always searching for those two out of a thousand people who are more intelligent than me, wondering if they are also heavy drinking bipolar epileptics. And I am more or less a good person, I care about others and how they feel, I hope for good things to happen to the world, and I try to be kind and forgiving. Plus I’m reasonably good looking, like a 7, that’s taken me much farther than my intelligence ever could. Some of my superpowers are genetic, like my slightly larger than average penis. Others are environmental, like my creativity and ability to express myself. And my family loves me, seemingly unconditionally (they don’t even know about all of my superpowers).
There have been many times when I thought I couldn’t cope, even thought of ending it all. But I’ve become quite open to asking for help. That’s made me a bit dependent on others, but I think it’s a good thing. I’ve tried a bunch of medicines for mood and anti-seizure, talked to a lot of people about it, and I’m good at sharing my feelings.
I think this website and the cheesy hope thing suggests that I should impart some wisdom or positive ideas. So here’s what I think, if you’ve got one, two, or all three of these problems. There are positives too. I’ve had a very interesting life, experienced a great range of emotions that many people never get to, and I’ve got my share of funny stories. I’d totally write a book on it if I had more self-discipline. Learn to ask for help. Try medicines, even though sometimes I forget to take them and I’ve had to try tons to find the right ones, now I have a lot less seizures and my depression and mania are less extreme. You have to at least try, and let other people tell you if they’re helping or not because it can be hard to tell for yourself. Of course its easier to give this advice than to follow it, but I have tried. And I do agree with this so-called Dr. Howard about hope and learned helplessness. Try as hard as you can to be optimistic, or at least find optimistic, happy people to be around. That’s probably the most important.