Living well with bipolar disorder

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Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that affects more than five and a half million people in the U.S.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the chemical imbalance doesn't discriminate and affects men, women, and all races ethnic groups and social classes.

58-year old Sarasota author Johnnie Calloway said he suffered from bipolar disorder. Calloway said there are two types, he has type 2.

Calloway explained, "I had paralyzing depression, anxiety and panic attacks like crazy, if I was awake, I wanted to die." Calloway added that he sought medical help. "First he diagosed me with A.D.D., then A.D.H..D., then P.T.S.D., and then finally he landed on bipolar."

Forensic Psychologist Dr. Eddy Regnier, M.S.W., M.A., Ph. D. of Assessment and Psychotherapy Services explained that bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance previously known as manic depression.

Dr. Regnier said, "the way you know it is someone is happy one day, the next day or a week later depressed and want to die, and then they are happy again and they want to party party."

People are often creative and productive added Dr. Regnier, with unending supplies of energy.

"The down side is that they can also get depressed, and when they get depressed, they get very depressed. If you are average and you get sad it's OK, if you are flying high like an eagle and you fall to the ground, it's a horrible feeling," said Dr. Regnier.

These feelings can lead to addiction, explained Dr. Regnier. "One of the quickest ways to change that is to pop a pill or take a street drug, a terrible mistake to make."

Calloway said that he is successful in battling addiction and is now six years without an episode resulting from his bipolar disorder, and that he is living proof that people can be bipolar and function.

Calloway said, "most people that know me would never guess today that I'm bipolar, but I take my medication and I do my personal work to keep my mind straight."

Calloway was so compelled by the fact that he is living a healthy lifestyle, that he has written his second book to offer hope to others as well.  It's called 'Dragons to Butterflies, The Metamorphosis of a Man'.

"I've come to believe for myself that the route of all my addiction, because I've been addicted to everything was the addiction to negative thinking. I had to stop that," said Calloway, and added, "I am determined that my story is going to help others find hope, determined."

Dr. Regnier says there is effective treatment for bipolar disorder, including medication management from a medical professional and living a healthy lifestyle.

If a person lives that way then you can live with bipolar disorder and you can benefit from it's energy, happiness, you can benefit from those things.

You can get a copy of Dragons to Butterflies at, or catch up with Calloway at one of his two upcoming book signings in Sarasota.

Sunday, January 15th, at Unity of Sarasota, 3023 Proctor Rd, 34231 (After the service)

Barnes and Noble located at 4010, S. Tamiami Trail, 34231, on Saturday, January the 21st from 12:00-2:00P.M.