Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published May 2014.

Darkness Visible

His alcoholism and bipolar disorder conspired to keep him in some fearful places

My drinking started when I was 17 years old. Some friends and I got hold of some liquor and beer, which we drank in the back of my friend's truck bed. We sat drinking and smoking cigarettes. Everyone was getting pretty drunk and although I was pretty far-gone, I kept drinking that whiskey. When I came to the next morning and found my friends still passed out cold, I found some more whiskey and started drinking all over again.

Something else happened to me when I was 17—I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I would get manic and would run around town all day long. My Bipolar goes up and down, mania and depression. When I get depressed I am tired and don't have any energy. In the summer I get more manic and can just go and go, then I would crash. It is hard to catch up on sleep after being manic. Bipolar makes me feel depressed, anxious, angry, paranoid, racing thoughts, and sometimes I have felt suicidal. My mind is not always the best place to be. My thoughts come and go very quickly.

-- Toby M.

Estes Park, Colorado

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