Bipolar disorder is known as the “CEO disease” and living with it firsthand I can tell you why that is true. It’s not something I’m shameful of, it’s something that I embrace that has pushed me to different heights. We are visionaries who see the world differently. We have grandiose ideas that we feel that we must follow through with. We want so badly for these ideas to come into fruition because we feel that they will change the world.
Unmedicated or undiagnosed we can fall into periods of depression because we feel that the life we are living is inadequate. We must stand for more because no matter what we accomplish we feel that it is never enough. Sometimes a manic high will sweep us off our feet, but that is when creativity is highest and a rampage of ideas starts flowing through our minds. Of course we can become completely illogical and go as far as having delusions like I had where I thought that I was Jesus. Although once we come back to reality there are some things that we thought of when we were in that irrational state of mind that we dwell on because some good ideas do come from the mania.
Growing up I always wanted to accomplish more. No one was ever pushing me to do more, it was just that no matter what I accomplished I always wanted to top it with a new accomplishment. I never saw myself working for someone else and I knew that one day I would be my own boss. Now that I have my own business I feel established and that dream has come true, but now it’s time for growth and I want to go in so many different directions. The hard part is that I have so many grandiose ideas that it’s hard to choose the next direction that I will go.
When I have a lot of ideas I start to dive a little bit into all of them, but eventually I find the one that interests me the most that will also have the greatest impact and I start to head down that path. So I’ve already written a book, but if you’ve already read it you know that the material is for adults. The thing I’ve found though is that when I speak adults have the least questions. I have found that no one is more inquisitive than a child. I spoke to 100 4th graders and when I asked them if they had any questions all of their hands went in the air and some of them even stood up to get noticed.
When I ride my wheelchair through a mall children will see me and just completely stop and stare. It doesn’t bother me at all, I just know that they’re curious. They don’t understand why I can’t walk and they want their own limegreen wheelchair to drive around the mall. When their parents see them staring they pull their children aside and apologize. I say let them stare. I wish their parents would just let them ask me questions. Children just do not understand disabilities, but they are curious about them and I want to be the one to explain it to them. I want to show them then I’m just a regular person like them. That I still live a normal life, but I want them to understand some of the struggles that I deal with. I want them to understand how the body works. I want them to see my limitations and understand the little things that they take for granted, but that you can still be happy no matter what your limitations are.
So that’s the next step. I’m writing a book for children to help them understand my disability and relate it to other disabilities so that children feel comfortable around the disabled. I want to answer all of those questions that are running through their heads when they stare at me.
I have interviewed 28 kids so far between the ages of five and 10. Tonight I will interview two more. These kids have been so excited to be able to ask me anything. The funniest question I had was when I spoke to a class of fourth graders and they asked me about my surgery. I told them that I have a cadaver bone in my neck and explained what that was. A little girl raised her hand and asked, “So you’re telling me that they went to a graveyard and dug up a guy and took the bone in his neck and put it into your neck? Did they wash it?” I couldn’t take it and just burst out laughing. Their teacher had to explain to them how people donate their bodies to science. It was a priceless moment and it’s one that I’ll never forget.
So that’s my grandiose idea. I want to understand the curiosity that children have and give them answers. I’m doing my research to figure out their questions and the best way to answer them. That’s the next step.
After I did a speech to the fourth-graders I received a picture of some of the students that was signed by the class. It was framed and below the word “Priorities” was the quote, “100 years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove… But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” I’m trying to do just that, but instead of just one child I want to reach the masses.