Then, one day in 2008, Thompson’s promising life was rudely interrupted by a frightening manic episode that changed his life forever. From, literally, out of nowhere, he was beset by delusions and hallucinations that crippled his ability to function. His delusions included having a relationship with Britney Spears and believing he was a member of the Knights Templar evading capture from the KGB.
Thompson, who lives in Ohio, says he was manic for at least a month before friends were able to get him into a hospital to get diagnosed. “The toughest part is dealing with the depression after my manic episodes,” he says. “I’m a pretty optimistic person, so (depression)
After finally being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and then eventually put on Lithium, Thompson rallied from his nightmarish experiences with new purpose and a healthy dose of humor. “I figure that if I have to endure the worst parts of bipolar disorder, like psychosis, I get to laugh as much as possible along the way,” he says.
To that end, he has completed a book-length manuscript about his experiences titled "Somehere Over the Rainbow, I've Lost My Damn Mind: A Manic's Mood Chart." He describes the work as “one Millennial’s bipolar life, with moments ranging from the ridiculous to the terrifying to the hilarious." Blending pop-culture references and cyberspeak with psychiatric terms, it combines the funny, conversational tone of: "Sh*t My Dad Says" with a nonlinear narrative structure similar to that of "Manic: A Memoir" by Terry Cheney.
Derek's forthcoming book grew out of a blog that Thompson starting writing as a way of coping with his disease. He organized his blog entries like a “mood chart,” a therapeutic tool that assigns colors to states of mind. Thompson also says that he wrote the book “as a way of therapy, to satisfy my needs. The information on the Internet, in books and articles (about bipolar disorder) just wasn’t enough.”
Thompson notes that, according to a 2007 study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the most dramatic increase in bipolar diagnoses is seen in the Millennial Generation, which is one reason he sees his primary audience as Millennials (18 to 30) who have been diagnosed with some form of bipolar disorder. So-called “Gen-X’ers,”
Now that Thompson has finished his memoir and is stabilized on Lithium, he says he is planning a new book – a novel this time – loosely based on his experiences. “I’ve discovered a passion for writing,” he says.
Thompson is seeking a literary agent and a publisher for his "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" book.
About the Author
Derek Thompson grew up in South Charleston, Ohio and received a BA in communication in 2005 from Wittenberg University. He then pursued a corporate sales career at AT&T. He completed the sales apprenticeship program six months ahead of schedule and managed a team of apprentices while earning a 2006 Sales Achievement Award. After his diagnosis, he channeled his energies into working on a master’s degree in sports administration at Xavier University and writing his memoir. He lives on one of his family’s farms in rural Ohio.
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