“Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder,” is my personal account of a journey through severe mental illness and addiction. My first book, “No Guarantees,” was published by New Discovery Press in 1993 and describes overcoming addiction as a teenager.
I thought I was destined for success until the symptoms of bipolar disorder became undeniable. Unable to free myself from depression, mania, and psychosis, at 21 years old I was committed to a state psychiatric hospital in New Haven, Connecticut.
Following my first hospitalization, I sought comfort in a variety of illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, methamphetamine, and others. During my twenties I was prescribed over 25 different psychiatric medications. I was hospitalized 10 times for bipolar disorder. For years, I tried to find success in college or the workplace, only to fail again and again.
Years later, I married, had a child, and I’m trying to live a “normal” life. I graduated from college, graduate school, and am now working on my doctorate in psychology.
One factor contributing to my success is a curious phenomenon I’ve dubbed the “Alternate Universe,” a complex coping mechanism developed in childhood to deal with trauma. Throughout my life, I’ve lived in two realities. I’ve been fortunate to have family and other caring people to help me stabilize, overcome addiction, and continue to grow.