His life was magical and euphoric. He was invincible, brilliant, and super positive. Everything he wanted could be his. “You think you’re just happy, that everything is going your way and you don’t have a problem. But you do,” writes Conor Bezane in his intimate and disturbing memoir, The Bipolar Addict.
Yet when the mania flipped to depression and the psychosis and hallucinations set in, Bezane’s erratic behavior destroyed his relationships and jobs. He felt crushed by despair. His bones ached. He attempted suicide, and he felt that he would do anything to get the euphoria back.
According to Bezane, this is what life is like with bipolar disorder. He relates that sixty percent of the 5.7 million people diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the US are also addicted to drugs or alcohol. His book is intimate and brutally honest, showing how mental illness, coupled with addiction, took him from being a geeky guy with a great childhood behind him and a great job ahead of him to being unemployed—a “vampire recluse” who slept during the day and got high with addicts in dark alleys at night.
In telling the bare truth about the nightmare he lived as one of the “dually diagnosed,” Bezane’s moving account of the down-and-dirty events that almost killed him is also an emphatic takedown of the myths surrounding drug use. His story includes a way out, achieved with the help of family, friends, and support groups, and his joy in the present is expressed in eloquent and authentic terms, as is his dedication to helping others to live sober.
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