Posted March, 5th, 2021.
This preface is almost 20 years late. Perhaps it should be a postscript. Why did I write the following post nearly 20 years ago?
One reason was, I understood that in Stanly County everyone knows everyone. The cat was out of the bag and the train had left the station. The cat was probably on the train.
Everyone has problems. Everyone struggles, and most carry on with so called normal lives. No one should extrapolate from those struggles to an illness such as bipolar disorder. They don't have a clue what a severe mental illness is or does to a life.
Lithium began to harm my thyroid a few years ago. Now I take oxcarbazepine. Lithium was easier to spell and pronounce.
In 1950 I was born in Albemarle, NC.
At this point life became complicated and much more difficult. As I understand it, I laid around, hit the bottle, and put on weight. I never said a word. One of my best years evidently. After that first year, my parents took me kicking and screaming away from Albemarle. Many people feel I left as an infant only to return in 1994 as infantile. Such is life.
My father’s parents were both natives of Stanly County. Dad’s father, William P. Lowder, was born in what is now Morrow Mountain State Park. Will was the last owner/operator of the ferry that ran from Stanly County to near the mouth of the Uwharrie River. My mother’s parents moved here in the 1920′s. Although she was born here, I have always felt Mom was an outsider and not really one of us. Her father worked for Alcoa, when he could take time off from hunting and fishing. From the time I was 5 until I was 15, we lived in Monroe, NC. In those years I spent many weekends and holidays visiting my grandparents. I was often dragged from a comfortable bed onto the river and into the boiling sun. There I sat in a smelly home made boat. I was unable to speak or I would scare the fish. My grandfather was catching the fish. Why would the fish be afraid of me? Why did he take me to the river if the fish feared me?
I graduated from Shelby High School in 1968 after attending for only a year and a half. Almost every other student went to Shelby High for 3 years. So, I was able to graduate in half the time. Statistics don’t lie. It hurt me not to be invited to speak at graduation. My accomplishments often go unnoticed. (Statistics don’t lie, but I should mention that I moved to Shelby half way into my Junior year.) Then I attended Western Carolina University graduating in 1972. After the lack of recognition in high school, I took 4 years to finish at WCU. Why knock yourself out? It was at Western Carolina that I concentrated my energy on chess. I focused like a weak flashlight. I can honestly claim that no school activities came between chess and me. Dedication like that should always be rewarded. I’m certain it would have been, if I had some talent for the game.
I’ve been taking lithium since about 1981. It has helped manage my bipolar disorder. Take this opportunity to learn about mental illness. Two million adult Americans have some form of bipolar disorder.
While in Sumter, SC, I was a member of the ‘Sumter/Shaw PC Users Group’ from 1989 until 1992. (It was a computer club.) Those were the good old days of MS-DOS. My participation in that group has been my main computer education.