I’m a programmer and aspiring writer living in Orem, Utah, with my wife and three little girls. I’m Mormon, and an experienced improv comedian (I used to play frequently with ComedySportz Provo).
My two brothers and one sister all live here in the same valley, each with their spouses and kids, so all my immediate family is close by.
Except my parents, who died when I was young. Mom was killed by a drunk driver when I was 11, and Dad had a sudden, fatal heart attack two years later. My younger brother and I lived with our grandmother (who has also since passed, much more recently) and my older sister (who came back from college to help take care of us). I’m forever indebted to her for her willingness to come back to Florida, with its heat, roaches, and endless octogenarian drivers.
Regardless, high school was rough. It didn’t help that I was shy, and a year ahead of my class, and tiny for my age. And that I was coming from a tiny magnet school to a big, 2500-student 4-year high school where I knew no one. This is when I first started suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression.
And, alternately, highs where I felt I could conquer the world.
I didn’t believe in clinical depression, though it clearly believed in me. So I never sought medical help.
When I finished high school and went to BYU, my life drastically improved. I was surrounded by great people who shared my most basic beliefs, and actually began to go on dates on occasion.
Still, depression is a persistent bugger. (Dear Brits: that word isn’t dirty in the U.S.) In my third semester of school I had to drop out, unable to cope with the massive depression from which I was suffering. I left for an LDS mission in January of 1994, and reached my most suicidal in the first few months I lived in Argentina.
Thankfully, bipolar disorder includes manic swings. Though I’m technically bipolar II, and thus don’t get very manic, I was still fortunate to get some reprieves from brutal depression.
I survived my two years of service, though I feel sorry for the companions who had to deal with me, and often carry me along. A couple years after I got back, I finally chose to get medicated for my mental health problem.
I’ll never go off my meds.
Do you guys even know what color your sky is? It’s BLUE. Bright, beautiful, blue! I couldn’t see anything but a bluish-gray. People talked to me about beautiful weather and the joy to be alive, and I didn’t get it. I do now. Thank you medication, and thank you God for the geniuses who concocted it.
I got married in 2000, and we moved to California to live with my father-in-law when our bills exceeded our means. In a few years we were back on our feet, and we came back to Utah where we’ve lived ever since. We have three girls who will break boys’ hearts someday, and I’m working and healthy and happy.