Embracing Dual Diagnosis in 2014
I just woke up from a Seroquel-induced sleep with money on my mind. Money creates stress for many people, but especially for someone who is mentally challenged yet hasn't bounced a check or missed a payment in 9 years, 3 months. The challenge stems from way back in my youth, but is really rooted in the diagnoses of bipolar disorder and HIV+ that I received in 1996. These diagnoses forced me onto disability so that I could sustain myself while starting my recovery. Well, it's January 2014 and the struggle is still there, but so is my gift for raising awareness and helping others. I now struggle with giving back while still focusing on my recovery, and that struggle can cause some anger.
People get angry; it’s a normal human emotion. My anger isn't toward anyone else, it's toward myself. I also blame God to a degree. He gave me this beautiful gift that enables me to do what I call kindness projects, real tangible projects that help humanity, but there is always an undercurrent of financial stress. When I was a young man my dad would often say to me, "When are you going to make money from any of these projects?" My answer would always be, "Dad, it's not always about money."
Now I see that that was his way of trying to teach his son that even in the face of challenge, making money is important. To this day I struggle with money, but I use the gift to help others. Why would I not want to help raise funds for nonprofits struggling to keep its doors open? Why wouldn’t I send stock tips around the globe (a recent pick is up 54 percent since July 2013!)? And while I’m doing these things, I’m writing about my dual diagnoses and carrying a heavy cross as I fight compound stigma, from the world for my being HIV+ and from my community for being gay and bipolar. That’s a whole other story, but one with a happy ending, as my dad got to experience part of my life as the Bipolar Bear. My diagnoses bring me joy, pain, present barriers, educate me, and most important, help me raise awareness within the gay community, which tends to embrace the HIV+ but stand back from the mental health piece. As we begin 2014, I propose a toast to the people who, this year, will become a little more aware that HIV and mental illness can go hand in hand, and that the afflicted can and do recover.
Seroquel for insomnia.
List of People With Bipolar Disorder
The Advantages of being Bipolar the gift.
Stock Tip referenced
Other Real Tangible Projects that help humanity:
raised $17,000 Please make a donation, 2014 thank you.
raised $1500.00 towards a $10K matching gift
Think Tank 1996 - 2000
Stop The Hate, under Governor William Weld, Boston
Bipolar Bear project