by Patrick in Oregon
My mental illness has probably affected me most or all of my life. I was a loner. My siblings both younger and older (yes I'm the middle child) were so much more advanced than I was that I was labeled to be slightly retarded. I didn't understand or much less care about anything or try to do anything because I would never follow through. That's what I was told.
Even after a doctor and lots of tests confirmed I was not retarded, I was still sheltered and never encouraged about much. I was always and to this day am either in a great mood or mellow and more stable.
In my adult life after high school, I joined the army and began drinking heavily and doing some drugs. Most of the time in Germany, I was very manic and/or drunk and thought of nothing except enjoying life. Eventually I went to other places in the Army and was a Sargeant E-5 and doing pretty well. Then my life crumbled and I was released from the army as a private. My brain was all over the place and I traveled anywhere just because or would take any job just to quit. I ended up in Baltimore and got married and have three wonderful kids whom I haven't seen since 1999. I drove a truck and made pretty good money but kept changing jobs constantly. I learned a couple of other trades but couldn't keep a job. In one way or another I've destroyed three marriages and hurt three kids.
In 1999 my brain quit functioning and I spent time in a couple of state hospitals. I spent three years trying to commit suicide. I did come close to succeeding a few times but was brought back. I've been in recovery for a few years now and speak to organizations who need to hear about the need for better care and treatment for the mentally ill.