Please welcome our new blogger, Leif!
I was born of a Danish Father and French-Canadian Mother in a small community just north of the growing city of Edmonton, Alberta. I was a very happy child and greatly enjoyed school, loved to play football and participate in snowball fights after school and at recess, but as I went into junior high something started to go desperately wrong. I had a hard time making friends, I couldn't stand people making fun of me and I would get into many fights. In my second year of junior high, I discovered something that seemed to be the answer to all of my problems: The Air Cadets.
In Cadets I found reasons to try hard again and excel in grades and performance, I started playing sports again and made it to the senior volleyball team. For a long while it looked like the only thing I would ever do when I was finished school would be to join the military. Within Cadets, I also joined the band and had many friends. After just three years of cadets though, I somehow started to change again as a person and once more nothing was good enough for me. I took on the theories that my sister's boyfriend who was studying political science at University fed me, that everything I had worked for all my life was wrong, that the system was just out to manipulate me to feed the pockets of unfeeling capitalists. Also, I started to get into terrible fights with my Dad. By the end of High School I had given up on Cadets and just about everything that brought joy to my life except for working. Maybe it was the pressure at home, maybe it was the pressure of working a man's job, on the night shift while trying to finish school, but it all boiled down to me becoming severely mentally ill and I had to be put in a mental hospital for a number of months. I like to think that by writing, especially by writing my book "Through The Withering Storm" and the sequel, which I have yet to title, I went through a form of deep therapy that allowed me a much healthier perspective on my illness. I like to think that I am helping those who come after me not to push down their feelings of depression or mania or delusional thinking and seek help, because when it comes down to it we are all human beings, different only in that we all have a different mix of difficulties.
I would like to sincerely thank the International Bipolar Foundation also for letting me write for them and encourage anyone who reads my words to find a way to give something back to the huge mountain of problems that all of us with Bipolar Disorder face. My books, including "Through The Withering Storm: A Brief History of a Mental Illness" are available at amazon.com and I feel it is an essential tool for those who suffer from a mental illness, those who want to understand Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia more, and especially those who are caregivers to the mentally ill.