There are three things I know of that a person with bipolar disorder cannot do:
- Get a pilot’s license (I looked into it after visiting an airfield)
- Get a security clearance (I learned this after I tried to get a job that required one)
- Be a foster parent (I found this out after my wife and I had finished the state required classes)
And there’s a few things I know that a person with bipolar disorder should not do, but I probably do most of those things.
I avoided seeking treatment for a long time, a real long time, and for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons was that I was certain that being diagnosed with a mental illness would mean the end of everything. It would confirm that I shouldn’t be leading others. It would confirm that I was incapable of being the father or husband that I had always wanted to be. It would confirm that I would never be as strong an individual as the people that I admired. It would just be the end.
Now, a year and a half later, I’m playing with my kids and being present with my wife. I’m enjoying work, even leading at a higher level. I’m actively living life alongside others. Still not able to fly, but that’s probably best.
Look, we’re all a little screwed up. I know I am. My hope is that Uncharted Chapter, while primarily a resource for those living with mental illness, would be a help to anyone who thinks their story is at an early end. It’s not. I promise. The next chapter remains uncharted.