First Hypomanic/Depressive Episode

Blue Houston
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC

I moved to Houston, Texas a year after high school (I took a year off). I was going to be a music performance major, and I was thrilled to live in a different city, far away from my parents. For about 6 months, my boyfriend and I lived with his mother. Then he broke up with me.

His new girlfriend, I’d heard, was Filipino like me. I was devastated. And a little weirded out. I certainly wasn’t going to continue living with his family, even though I didn’t know how to look for an apartment.  So his mother (bless her) helped me find a nearby apartment, co-signed on the lease, and I moved out.

I had no furniture. No couch or futon to sit on, no bed to sleep on. I didn’t mind, though, because the place was mine. I spent an awful lot of time listening to Melissa Etheridge’s self-titled album. I played the song, “Similar Features,” over and over again so much, I thought the needle on the record player would be damaged from its constant use. And boy, did I ugly cry!

On campus I always ate alone, not that anyone ever invited me. I didn’t socialize with the other students in the percussion department. Most of them were older guys, or at least they seemed a lot older than my age, 19-20. I felt fear, fear, fear. I didn’t have any techniques for getting past the fear, so I turned to drugs and alcohol.

At the end of spring semester, a good friend moved back to Houston, where he was born. We got a place together. It was paaaaarty central. To me, anyway. My friend had a real job. Two of my co-workers unofficially lived with us. People were in and out of our place: my new, older (over 21) boyfriend; two couples who lived in our building.

This was, I believe, when I first experienced my first hypomanic episode. Life had become an all-day/all-night party. I hardly slept. Several months later, I went the other way. I felt suicidal for the first time in my life. I just felt awful, and I didn’t know why.

I talked to my parents over the phone, and I told them I wanted to kill myself. My mom said they would get me help back home. They came down to Houston and helped me move.

But I never got the help I needed until 1995. I don’t know why. Could be stigma in the Filipino-American community. Could be denial. Could be both.

Do you remember the circumstances surrounding you first manic episode? Or depressive episode?

10 thoughts on “First Hypomanic/Depressive Episode

  1. When I first got sick I realized it was depressed, but didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t handle it myself.

  2. Mine first began during my divorce, and shortly thereafter, his death. 2002-2005 is an absolute blur. I was first hospitalized for alcoholism in 2008, but they never helped me with my depression whatsoever. It wasn’t until the tail end of 2014 straight through August 2015, I was nothing but depressed and attempted suicide. My mother got me out of a toxic relationship with my ex-fiance’, and even though I faced homelessness, I was at least getting the help I so needed. The rest is history.
    I have a place to live since 2017 and have been working on my mental health continuously since 2015.

    1. I wanted to comment on your comment about being in choir, but stupid WP won’t let me. I’ll try again later.

  3. It’s good that your parents came to help, but I understand about the stigma. My first episode was in 1999, but I think it was the culture back then-stigma. I couldn’t be open about my confusion about what was happening to me because I was afraid of being weak at work. It was a different environment. I think there is less stigma about getting help now and that is a very good thing. I didn’t get help after the first episode-real help-until 2005. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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