Like many people I know, I've gotten back in touch with people I went to high school with via the internet. Not very many days ago, I was looking at such a person's photos when I was reminded of the guy she dated while we were at school together.
He was hugely smart, a very good musician, generally someone we all knew was going to go far. I'm not sure I spoke to him more than once or twice, he was an overachiever and I was slumping with my black-clad crew listening to the Cure. We didn't exactly turn in the same circles.
And, apologies to my classmate for saying this, but he looked like a geek right down to the narrow chin and huge glasses. Despite his stereotypical appearance we all knew he'd go very far in the world. He'd been accepted to Stanford and was already programming in 1988. His future was so bright he shoulda worn shades.
I learned that my fellow Highlander had indeed gone far, graduating from Stanford with a double major, going to work for Microsoft in the early 90's which made him rich. He'd bought 64 Valiant on ebay and driven it across the country among many other things that went with being successful and smart. When I looked for photos of him, he'd filled out, gotten contacts, grown a goatee and was downright appealing.
But, he also suffered from bipolar disorder, classic bipolar as compared to my type II. Sometime in the mid/late 90s he had a mental breakdown and had to leave his job. He had an incredible feeling that he had to be the best at everything among everyone he knew. He suffered from horrid insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.
This ended with his suicide in 2004. This fact has distressed me greatly, I've been upset about it all weekend. I can't say exactly why, I can't say I had any kind of epiphany about how the rich and smart aren't immune to mental illness, I can't say I knew him well and now there's a hole in my life. But I'm very upset about it all the same.
It doesn't seem right that he couldn't enjoy the life he'd built for himself. It doesn't seem right that he couldn't take advantage of the benefits available to him, both financial and that health insurance from God Bill Gates gives him employees, to make himself happy, not paranoid and content with what he had achieved.
It has tossed me into some belly-button contemplation about my process, (because everything circles back to me don't ya know *kidding tone meant here*)
I could easily have turned this around on myself at various times in my life. Dang, if *he* wasn't happy with what he'd done what right do I have to celebrate anything I've done? What have I done? Bought art supplies and bragged about it on a blog? Sheesh, what do I think I am?
But, I should be proud of the fact that I got well. I should be proud that I listened to the people in my life and took my pills and let them work. I put my children into the first space of my priorities. I've sustained a marriage for almost 21 years, starting from a point that was the formula for failure.
I don't know, it made me very sad to hear of his death.
Amanda's beauty tip of the day: Pin curling your hair is still a great way to get curls without using heat. I'll be posting my step-by-step later this week.