Jonathan, 33, Fallbrook, CA


“I was raised in the suburbs of Washington D.C. in Northern Virginia. Having fun was what I cared about, I didn’t worry much.  Years went by, I got older and at the beginning of the school year in 1995 my family moved to Portland Oregon.  Fast forward to 2003.  I didn’t know what a mental health crisis was until my senior year of high school. It was the beginning of February it was going to snow and I was about to have a mental breakdown. I had recently visited Virginia Tech, a school I had applied to, with friends from my high school. My hopes were high that I would be accepted that year. As I pondered college plans, I decided that I was tired of being anxious and unhappy. There had to be something else besides alcohol that let me relax and have a good time. Maybe if I read books, I thought to myself.  Eventually I was reading more often and I started to feel better. I didn’t drag my feet, optimism returned to the experience of living, things were looking up. The next day I felt better, and better still the next day, I started sleeping less but didn’t become tired. This was the beginning of the breakdown.

Everything was easy, I felt wonderful. It was now snowing, I walked into the store and not one single person was present. At 7 pm on this snowy evening I walked out of the grocery store with two cases of beer. Nobody saw me and to this day I have no answer as to why not even an employee was in the store. The beer went in the car and the car headed to a friend’s house. That evening I got drunk and hung out with a friend. I felt good, better and better. My thoughts became increasingly irrational. I believed that I had found heaven and that reality was simply a projection of my mind. All I had to do was figure out the obstacles in my reality that I put there to keep myself from getting too bored. I was in full blown mania for the first time in my life.

I spent the night there at my friend’s house, and I continued to drink.  I arrived at a local dealership, walked into the shop and drove off in a large red Dodge pickup truck.  This vehicle was not my own.  It belonged to a man who dropped it off for service.  The police were notified.  I would have the truck for another 3 days.  During those three days my mental state was euphoria.  There was lots of drinking, I never returned home during that time.  I was resting, lying down on a bed when I heard a loud noise.  The police entered the room, guns drawn, and arrested me.  I was transported to jail.

Eventually I would graduate high school, and my parents took me out to a nice restaurant.  I wouldn’t be going to beach week with my friends.  Life as I knew it had changed.  I pondered my future but all I wanted to do was give up.  I had my day in court that year.  The case was dismissed, I would not serve any time for stealing that large red Dodge pickup from the dealership.  I was thankful to my lawyer.  He took me out to lunch and to this day I am thankful to him for helping get me out of that narrow miss.  I was accepted at Virginia Tech and I was looking forward to writing a new chapter in my life.  However, I would begin my college career with very poor decision making.

College was a short few weeks.  I was thrown in the drunk tank for a night.  After that I really didn’t have the capacity to finish the semester.  I dropped out of college.  I went back home to McLean Virginia.  A few weeks later I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt.
I got a job at the local Blockbuster and periodically had to be hospitalized for mania once or twice a year.  I often thought of suicide during this time.

I  couldn’t sleep one night. I got up out of bed and went to the pharmacy and bought sleeping pills. I drove to a park and walked deep into the woods sat by the riverside. In the dark with only moonlight I waited to die. I got really scared within 5 minutes. I opened my phone and called my girlfriend to pick me up and I told her what I had done. I walked swiftly and saw the headlights on her car. Just about then the horizon turned from horizontal to vertical. I just barely made it into her car. I woke up in the hospital, the doctor had me squeeze his hand. He told me I was lucky to be alive.

Now my bipolar instability showed up less and I have become a more stable individual.  I was invited to a church in San Marcos California by a friend.  I was nervous to attend because I was afraid of what I thought it meant to be a church goer.  My spiritual life is now a foundation to all good that happens in my life.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Today it is a constant adjustment to unblock that which is a hindrance to spiritual progress.  Mostly I have to let go of what it is I am focusing on, unneeded attention on that which isn’t useful.  Getting rid of what I am so attached to, the things, ideas, or people which I have made too important.  What I receive instead of those hindrances is the freedom to be moved, to help others, and to grow along spiritual lines.”

You can follow Jonathan’s healing journey on his homepage.


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