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I lived most of my life in normality but I was born in bipolar. For almost 32 years I managed to fit in to society without showing anyone my true nationality. But there was something peculiar about me. As a kid I recall fits of hypomania where I’d run around aimlessly, yelling and screaming, imagining all sorts of things from being a wrestler to a war hero, as if possessed by the television that had inspired me. Then, in my early adolescence, there was a time when my parents sat me down to desperately try and figure out what seemed so terribly wrong with me – they could see despair written all over my face although I tried to conceal it. I’d never heard the word depression back in those days.

I was excessively emotional and vulnerable to human interaction. I didn’t know my brain was different than most others’, who could concentrate easily, focus on a thought without disappearing into a grandiose set of evolving events and corresponding emotions. My issues with myself set me up quite nicely for substance abuse, anxiety, anger management issues, reckless behaviour, excessive spending, hypersexuality, irritability and impulsiveness that allowed me to teleport into really bad situations, ultimately shattering my self-confidence by the time I would figure out what I’d done. But there was some good to it.

By the time I learned and confirmed that I had Bipolar 2 with Rapid Cycling, I had come to the consensus that there was some really good and really bad things about my nature. Separating them was problematic, though. My identity was like a hologram that seemed to waver in the light. Looking back, hypomania was responsible for some of my best performances as a sales person; perhaps it was also part of my charm and passion which led me to the best relationships I’ve ever had. It’s undeniable that at times I could use the biochemical dysregulation in my brain to my advantage when it came to discipline and goals. How is it that someone could quit tobacco, marijuana and alcohol cold turkey, before intensifying their pursuit towards a better body in the gym if not for “something” within them that could almost be categorized as obsessive compulsive? For most of my life I had believed that it was post-traumatic stress from interactions with my father that fueled a lifetime of self-loathing. But I have since learned how remarkable a bipolar brain is at avoiding persecution, putting the blame on everything but itself.

After reading several self-help books and articles about Bipolar Disorder, learning more about neuroscience and how the brain works, becoming a certified drug educator,  along with analyzing my own experience through emotionally enhanced awareness, psychotherapy and prayer, I intend to use my dual citizenship to help those with mental health and addiction issues to live in normality with or without medication and educate others about what people with mental illness really experience in their day to day lives. Through articles, public speaking, a blog and an upcoming book, I intend to make progress with the cause, by using my experience, research and knowledge  to ensure that there’s more tolerance and less ignorance for those of us who possess dual citizenship.

About Mickey Von Bron

Mickey Von Bron is a certified personal trainer who specializes in nutrition, supplements and natural methods of improving health and wellness. Having experienced and overcome many obstacles associated with mental health and addiction, he is committed to inspiring people through his own example. His first book, Drug Free June: A Hypomanic Episode, is soon to be published. You can read some of Mickey's other writing about mental health at AliveAndAwake.ca and Light Way of Thinking.