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Roger S.

Bipolar type II has been a part of my entire life. When I was a child, my father was hospitalized and given shock treatments, and my daughter now suffers from mood swings that are far worse than mine. I first sought professional help from our small-town family doctor who said I was just having a bout with nerves. However, 20 years and 10,000+ beers later, I moved to a larger community and received the professional help that I needed. My new doctor prescribed medicine for me and, just as importantly, required changes in my lifestyle. Beer is out (big surprise there), but simple things have made all the difference. Consistency has been the thing that made the most change in my life. He required that I go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, eat well, get exercise, have quiet time and spend at least a few minutes on art each day, etc. My art time can be as simple as reading or adding to the list of ideas that I keep on my nightstand (some of my best creations come when I'm "putting in the time.") It can also be a time when I sit down to do a rough sketch or mix a new color and spend countless hours "in the zone." There are times that I am needy and demand approval of others. There are better times when I create something and just know that it is "right." For me, the "how-to" books just frustrate me. My solace comes from just trying to convey what I want to convey (even if it is just to me).

At times, I spend a lot of time on art. Bipolar has had many effects upon this. If I'm depressed, I tend to lie around and at times can't even get started on a piece. If I do get started, many times, nothing looks right or seems worthwhile. Those pieces end up in the garbage. The colors are also affected. When I am depressed, the colors are darker and muted and the lines are not crisp. If I am manic, I go at my art with enthusiasm first and produce a lot in a very short time. Then things go from positive to excitement and then beyond. In my mind, the ideas get better and better and my plans for execution get bolder and more frenetic. This can go on for days. In the end, I crash and nothing has been accomplished.

I'm very selfish with my condition. It's all about me. After all, I'm the one that's sick! In my mind, I think: "People don't listen to me. People don't understand what I'm going through. No one cares." Actually, what I have to remember is that they have listened to me for the 10,000th time. Many do understand as much as possible without having the condition. Most do care, in spite of all the things I put them through. The main thing that I have to realize is that they are suffering from bipolar, too...

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