I live in North Carolina, raised in Ohio, small town typical suburbian Ohio.
I'm 41 and work at a TV station no one has heard of! It's a small community access station on a military base.
In my teens I went through periods of self hate, even cutting my arms, not suicidal but somehow I thought cutting myself and bleeding would "release" the pain I felt. Having no friends, except one, having parents working all the time and when they were home, fighting constantly, didn't help. I had an period of time where I felt dissassociated, as if I was watching the world and not part of it, a bit numb. I began having long periods of depression and was diagnosed with depression several times and given Prozac and Paxil, which didn't do much, if anything.
A few years ago the moods became very severe and would cycle at least once a month. In between I would be very crabby and grouchy, or sometimes I would stare out the window for hours and not realize the time had passed, staring at a tree or something. But at times I felt like I was on top of the world and almost superhuman. It was during one of these times that I went to yet another doctor. I knew I would "crash" again anytime. I told him everything, and explained it is frustrating to feel like crying for days when I have no reason to. No financial problems, I have a nice house, overpriced clothes, nice car, etc. I do get lonely being alone all the time but that's normal. How frustrating to feel so bad for no reason. This doctor was the first to suggest bipolar, and we tried a few things then hit on Wellbutrin. I haven't crashed down since, I seem to be in a normal-manic state often, but I'd rather have that than be depressed. Depakote hasn't calmed me, and Seroquel literally knocks me out for 10-12 hours.
I saw Stephen's documentary on the net, as it wasn't shown here, if it was I missed it. We get nothing on BBC America but what I call "slutcoms" and DIY shows, along with some old Benny Hills & Keeping Up Appearances. Anyway, I watched it in awe, hearing a lot of familiar things. Then Tony Slattery came on, and I've been a fan of his for a long time, I had no idea he has this thing also. We get no news on Brit actors here. I remember hearing Tony talk about his experiences, and thinking "I knew there was something else I liked about him!" It was surprising to see these people, along with Carrie Fisher, describe things like this, look at how different our lives are, Stephen's life, Carrie growing up in Hollywood, Tony being from an Irish family in London, and me from a small Midwestern American town, yet we have this in common. All of us with our various backgrounds can discuss these oddities that other people cannot identify with. In a way I have more in common with these people and others in the program than people I grew up with. I didn't feel so alone anymore, so I thank Stephen for the program. Although I don't advertise the fact that I have a "mental disorder" I am not ashamed of it either, sometimes I think of it as a gift. I've achieved a lot because of those manic phases. I would love to know what causes it though, it's so strange that what works for some does not work for others.
Sorry for rambling, I usually am very quiet here!
Thank you Stephen!