I have had bipolar disorder since I was a teenager, and while I have had serious issues with depression, I have also had serious issues with bipolar mania as well. When I was a teenager, the bipolar mania would be so bad that I would have to drink to be able to get to sleep. I was underage at the time, so I would sneak out of the house late at night and go to a couple of convenience stores that I knew would sell me beer. It was actually a manic episode that finally got me properly diagnosed in 1998, at the age of 32. I was working at Dell Computer Corp. at the time, and I sold all of my Dell stock. When the check came in, which was about $2000, I cashed it and went on a spending spree and bought a lot of computer stuff I wanted that I hadn’t been able to afford. After the spending spree was over, I spiraled down into deep depression and wound up in the hospital. I have had quite a few episodes of bipolar mania or hypomania over the years, but the worst episode ever occurred in 2012. I got very little sleep for about a week, and I ran up a $16,000 credit card bill in a matter of days. I got sucked in to the credit card spending by the promise of low monthly payments. I didn’t realize it while I was running the bill up online, but there was no easy way for me to get out from under all of that debt. My father was able to do so at the time, and he paid the credit card debt off. But I’m sure he had plenty of other plans for that money.
I made this video while hiking in the wilderness near Eagle River, Alaska. I hope it helps bring some understanding to the issue of bipolar mania.