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Hi Mary,

I'm sorry for the confusion. His speech patttern is slow normally. That is just the way he talks. He is originally from WI, but moved to VA in the Navy and he sounds like he is from the hills of WV. When his speech pattern increased dramatically, that is the manic side I spoke of.

His manic episodes bring him to normal function. Not up all night partying, not traipsing all over the country side, not doing anything strange, just normal functioning. He got up, he slept, he went to work when he had a job, he accomplished things, etc. And most importantly he didn't drink. He was able to function. As these manic episodes progressed, the speech and thoughts would become progressively faster (they lasted about two to three weeks) and then he would try really hard to hang on to the normalcy for another week or two. Inevitably he'd fail and the cycle would start all over again. Drinking, not sleeping, up at 2:30 am (Alcohol will do that when you drink a fifth at a time), not going to work, too drunk to function, seizures, incontinence, vehicle accidents, etc.) I've been around for seven years of this, three when it has gotten really bad.

I suspected the bipolar when this manic period was just ending last summer. The speech was rapid, the thought process was all over the map, I told him to "take a breath" more times than I could count. I tried to get an evaluation, but the VA couldn't act fast enough. He started drinking again and the spiral downward just became a nosedive. I had him Baker Acted three times in 80 days before I could get him arrested and held without bail. I needed him confined until I could get someone to evaluate him. Thankfully I am active in politics and called in a few folks and got that handled, but it was a hell of a battle.

The official diagnosis is bipolar disorder with psychotic features. (They wouldn't tell me until I told him he wasn't coming back until I knew what I was dealing with and then they seemed to get the picture. It's funny what a subpeona and the threat of a restraining order can do.) He is on several drugs whose names escape me, but depakote isnt one of them. (Alcohol damage to the liver is suspected so D is contraindicated.) They are still fine tuning one of them, but he is functioning, which is more that I could say before.

He is going to be in some kind of "daycare". It isn't a sheltered workshop. It sounds more like a social club with counseling, but that's fine. I do not want him home alone for more than a few hours. He has to have structure and socialization. He tends to shut down if he is by himself and I can't be here to interact with him all the time. The hope is that when he has built a few successes, he can use that to wean himself off of this support system and substitute it with one he has built himself. Understanding that is going to take time.

He isn't one to speak up. Never has been. He has bunches of things going for him, he just takes them for granted. The biggest one is his brain. He is EXTREMELY bright. Not school smart, but intuitively smart. He has the most amazing ability to see something built, manufactured, designed, engineered, etc. once and he can duplicate it. Exactly. He seems to think the rest of the world can do this and it isn't a big deal. He has several skills like that that he just takes for granted.

I was trying to come up with a way for him to use some of these skills, but in some kind of structured and supportive environment that takes into account his obvious physical limitations as well as the not so obvious mental/emotional limitations.


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