When I was growing up, I was more likely to be manic than depressed. I had this super-high energy and the episodes could last for months. My speech was rapid and my thoughts raced.
I was a creative kid. I read everything I could get my hands on, and at 7 years old I knew I wanted to be a writer. I also thought I could be a songwriterI loved the whole idea of a rock-star life. Who doesn't?
Only now do I realize that some of those qualities are classic symptoms of bipolar disorder.
When I was 13 or 14 years old, I met a guy named Brian* while I was doing my paper route. A 26-year-old ex-convict, Brian introduced me to alcohol. After I got drunk the first time, I wanted to do it every day. So I started getting drunk three to five times a week.
About three months later, Brian introduced me to cocaine and crack. I didn't do drugs every day, but I wanted to. It was just the beginning of my problems with substance abuse.
*Not his real name