Editor’s Note: Experience is a good teacher. In Vikay’s story we learn that it takes self-awareness, reflection, and communication in order to gain strategic control over bipolar disorder, or manic depression. Work can also be a triggering factor for relapse. In his lifelong struggle, he has some nuggets of wisdom to share. This is his story.
The issue I struggle with is in having too much mental energy and excitement followed by periods of deep silence. Medically this is diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder.
In my childhood I was considered moody. But as I aged and started interacting socially, the peaks of excitement were combined with anger resulting in clashes with colleagues.
I ignored it in my first job. But in the second job, I had my first bout of manic depression. Not knowing what was wrong with me I took on a more strenuous job only to experience a relapse.
In the end, I gave up and went to work in a design department in a new company where things were relatively smoother. I was still unaware of my symptoms and subsequently had another relapse in 1983.
I changed doctors and finally met one who explained what bipolar disorder was. It was the first time I understood what it was and this taught me to monitor my moods. This helped the doctor adjust my medication accordingly.
Unfortunately, I became over confident and decided to discontinue one key medicine for 6 months. This consequently led to another relapse in 1993.
I resigned from my job just before the crash due to sheer delusion and impulse. With no job, I tried my hand at consultancy.
Ultimately I accepted a job in Singapore at half of the salary I could get for my twenty years of work experience.
A change of medicine (to Carbamazepine) enabled me to have a stable career in Singapore for 18 years, which was free of politics and tension.
I’ve learnt that any deficiency of the mind or psyche can only be managed. Here are some of my key principles:
- Monitor self
- Leave the rest to God.
What I learnt from my own story, I now share with you: Do not push yourself over the edge. Recover in time to lead a normal life. Keep your anger in check and monitor your emotions.
Vikay is senior Process Engineering Consultant with 40+ years experience in the Downstream Oil & Gas Industry in Singapore & India. He is an introvert and has written the book “Substance, Meaning and Consciousness” which is an areligious generic theory of existence.