Bi-Polar, Manic Depressive or just nuts

When I was a kid, my father's Manic Depression reared it's ugly head.  Life didn't make a lot of sense to me and Dad even made it harder to understand.  When my father was on a high, he would come home of Friday after work, hand everyone a grocery sack and tell us to be in the car in 15 minutes because we were going to Arkansas. If you forgot your toothbrush or clean underwear, it was only the weekend so get you ass in the car.  When he was on a low, he would spend most of his time in bed or asleep on the couch.  When he would say "Come Here," you didn't know if he was going to hit or kiss you.  I never thought he was sick, just nuts.

Probably the one time that sticks out in my mind was the year we went to Sear's to spend my birthday money.  or some strange reason I discovered fishing at Beech lake as a thing to do that took me away from the rest of my life.  I would take a couple of raisins with me and the Perch that gathered around the dock would bite on them and then I would use perch parts as bait.  Hours would fly by and I had worn out my old fishing rod.  I had been given a few dollars and I asked Dad if he could take me to Sears to get a new rod.  After selecting a new rod, Dad picked up a reel and placed it on the counter.  I protested that I didn't have enough money for the rod and reel, he paid for both of them.  We put it in the trunk of the car and went home.  In a couple of weeks, Dad was in the Hospital and I had forgot the new rod and reel.  The next spring one day Dad asked me if I wanted to go fishing with him.  As we unloaded the fishing tackle from the trunk, Dad looked at the new equipment and asked, "Where did you get that?  Steal it."  I was absolutely crushed. 

Later on, Dad told us the stories of the electro shock therapy he was given in the Hospital.  He said he would have to get out of bed and look at the chart to see who he was.  Memory was fleeting and he really didn't know or remember where I got the reel.  I really became aware that his illness wasn't a conscious thing.  He said that when he was depressed, he just couldn't get over it.  He asked me if when I had a cold and someone said get over it, could I.  That was the reality of his depression.

Later on in life, I helped Mom get dad into Menninger's Clinic here
in Topeka.  They diagnosed his disorder and put him on Lithium. He became the same dull person as the rest of us. So, as a kid, Manic depression, Bi-Polar didn't mean anything to me,  He was just nuts. 


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