Growing up and getting older, I always hated hearing that someone “was bipolar” because for one moment they may have acted in a way people think is bipolar or manic depressive. The reason this bothers me is because I am bipolar and I have been diagnosed since I was 17. I don’t believe I act out or have too many episodes because I take my medication. It does bother me and I think about it every day. A lot of times I can’t get it off my mind.
Talking about it doesn’t usually help; at least it’s not something I mention to most people. What scares me is when someone like my old boss, Heinz Prechter, takes his own life. This man was one of the richest and most powerful people Downriver. He owned Heritage Newspapers and American Sunroof Corp., but he also had a dark secret. He was bipolar and unable to silence his demons, so he died by suicide.
His family donated money to the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan created the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program. The program does research to help find out more about the disease and where it comes from. I wrote a letter to Heinz’s wife, telling her how much his death bothered me and why. She responded back telling me about the Prechter Program’s flagship study, the Longitudinal Study of Bipolar Disorder. Now, I have been a part of this study for over ten years. It helps me deal with my disease and helps others as well.
If anyone is interested in taking part in the study, they should call 1-877-864-3637.
The other reason I am writing this is because suicide should never be an option for depression or for any other reason. There is always someone you can talk to. Step away from the situation and look at all your options. Help is out there.
Please, please do whatever it takes. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Do it for your family, for me, or for the greatest gift of all -- your life.
-Article slightly edited from its first appearance in the Allan Park Guardian on March 29, 2019
Dave M. has been an active research participant in the Prechter Program for over 13 years.
“It seems like forever and a day ago when I started being a participant in the Longitudinal Study. I have done several other studies since then. Participating in these studies helps me and also makes me feel like a contributor of something bigger than myself. I will continue to do it, as well as whatever other studies I can get into, as long as my assistance is needed. Thank you and see you in the lab!”