In May of 1996 I left El Paso, TX and returned to my roots in Madison, WI. I sold my grandmother’s prized secretary desk I had inherited to pay for an airline ticket home. I shipped what few other possessions I had. My ‘ex’ drove me to the airport and I never saw her again. I heard years later that she had died of cancer. I was going home to start a new life.
Every time I had previously stopped taking my medications I eventually went manic, only to prove my doctors and parents right, that mental illness was a life time sentence. I always felt they were wrong and this time I was going to prove it. I had worked very hard over the last few years to change my mental-emotional state by using an idea that emotions correlated to my bio-chemistry. Over these years I had convinced my psychiatrist that though I needed medication to control my mental-emotional state, weren’t there other medications that were less invasive. I was becoming stronger and I could better use my own emotions to guide my mental activities. I have to admit that 1995 was not a good year. I had a couple manic episodes and ended up in jail with my wife asking for a divorce. I understood completely and I was very sorry I couldn’t be the person she married. That person was alive because of the medications he took but he was also dying because of those same drugs. I was not going to live much longer continually medicated.
I had been off any medications for about eight months though I still depended on cigarettes to ease my turbulent mind. Years ago, I ‘awoke’ after a manic episode in a mental hospital and a nurse was giving me my cigarettes to go outside for a break. They were Camels, the same my mother use to smoke before she quit. Somehow during a “black-out” period I had started smoking. It was eight months previously that I had gone a “little” manic and was spending my nights walking the desert mountains around El Paso. Eventually I came down, though with a couple more tattoos, but I was able to stay sane enough to stay out of the hospital. That was my last manic episode. It took me several years after that to quit smoking but that was an acceptable transition for me at the time.
Over the next few years back in Madison I was still not in great shape but getting better. I went from Social Security Disability, to packing grocery bags, to cashier, to quality inspector to a drafting and CAD teacher in a local college. I had visited a good college friend of mine. We were roommates before my twenty year nightmare into mental illness began. Our meeting was like the story of Rip Van Winkle. Mentally I was back in college talking to my old roommate. He was married, and had children in college. And, oh yeah, twenty years had gone by! Tears came to my eyes as thoughts of my last twenty years flashed by, my god……
It took me about eight years (from 1992 to 2000) to regain my mental-emotional health and well being. In 1992 I began attempts to change my bio-chemical balance by correlating my emotions with my bio-chemical balance. I was on my own. I was exploring unheard of territory, a territory forbidden to me by an industry dependent on medicating mental illness and my well meaning family who would not listen to my “insanity”.
In 2014 I began writing another paper to the mental health community presenting the scientific evidence that the territory I traveled is a viable alternative to today’s theories and beliefs of mental illness. It is a territory that must be opened up and explored for today’s ideology fails 40,000 people every year. 40,000 suicides a year means 40,000 people every year believe death is a more viable option than that offered by our mental health professionals. Is that not enough reason to explore the possibilities in an evolved biological system that correlates emotions, mental activities and bio-chemical balance? I develop this argument in “Cognitive-Emotional Therapy: Emotions Regulating Cognition” which can be downloaded from; http://cognitive-emotional-therapy.com/ . I am living proof of the success this story can have for one person. It is my sincere hope that my story will help others.