It’s holiday madness. Everyone around you is getting smashed. You want a drink too. But you can’t have one. Why? Because you are an alcoholic. And you are bipolar. What should you do? I’ve survived five Thanksgivings and four Christmases sober and come out on the other end unscathed. In fact, they were some of the best holidays in memory, mainly because I can remember them because I was sober.
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Artificial happiness. That’s what I thought I’d be getting into if I went on antidepressants. I have to admit I was scared to even go there. Would I become a zombie? Would my emotions be flattened? What about apathy? Turns out these fears were, for me, irrational.
But the circumstances were terrifying. My initial diagnosis of depression occurred in December 2007, after I was coming off a stressful situation in which I worked on a live television show, MTV’s Presidential Dialogue with John McCain.
There are 5.7 million bipolar people in the US, and 60 percent of them are addicts, according to the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study. Co-occurring addiction is more common in bipolar people than in any other psychiatric group. We drink and use drugs to stabilize our moods or to replicate the feelings of mania.
Conor Bezane is a music-meister who has written for MTV News, AOL, and VICE. A champion of the dually diagnosed, Conor has developed a flourishing support community on TheBipolarAddict.com and Facebook and has chronicled his own mental-health battles in his book The Bipolar Addict: Drinks, Drugs, Delirium, and Why Sober is the New Cool.