In fact, I didn't even know what bipolar disorder was. The church terminated me because of the mood swings, but I didn't have a diagnosis yet.
For a short time, I quit preaching and started selling roofing materials. However, that didn't work. So I went back to preaching, and I worked for about two years with a congregation in Valley Mills.
I was very depressed at the time, and the congregation supported me through my depression. I voluntarily went into the hospital, but when I started taking the antidepressant Wellbutrin, it flung me into mania. I didn't know what it was, but I was very euphoric. Then I climbed into a state where I was irritable and hearing voices.
When I swung into this euphoric state, the psychiatrist wanted me to go to the hospital to be evaluated. I went on his recommendation and stayed there for a couple of weeks. They stabilized me, and when I came out, I was balanced. I was very open and told the church what my diagnosis was. But the mood swings had already set in, and they were afraid of me.
The church leaders wanted to talk to the psychiatrist to understand what I was going through, but the psychiatrist refused on the grounds of HIPAA. [The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a set of rules that strictly govern patient privacy.] That bothered them, and they perceived me as not being open with my condition and stigmatized me.
There were members who became distant from me and demanded that the leaders fire me. One of the influential members who donated a lot of money to the church told the elders that if I were to continue with the congregation, he would move. It ended in my termination.