Carl, 57, had struggled with bipolar disorder and severe depression for years and had threatened suicide before, friends and church officials said. “There were other incidents when he had gone off his medication,” cathedral spokesman John Charles said.
As one who has had first-hand experience with a bipolar who went off her meds, it is terrifying to watch a once functional person descend into delusion and madness. In my case, the person became homeless. The State finally intervened, putting her on a 72 hour mandatory psychiatric hold which sufficiently scared that she got back on her meds – and has religiously taken them ever since. She soon got a little volunteer job with the State helping other bipolars. That turned into a part time job. Now she works full time, and is completely self-supporting and off disability. You can’t get to where she is from where she was, but she did it anyway.
Actress Patty Duke, who is also bipolar, has wrote about her struggles and recovery in her ground-breaking, A Brilliant Madness, a book which explained to the general public what bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depression) is about. Thousands of people read this book and said, maybe that’s what’s wrong with me or my spouse or child or friend. Her book had a huge impact.
The meds are needed, as much of the illness is chemically-based. However the meds can have unwanted side effects like shaking hands or making one zombie-like, and thus must be constantly monitored and frequently changed. Staying on them can be hard.
Going off the meds, as shown by this tragic Crystal Cathedral suicide of a noted composer of religious music, is even worse.