Bipolar Shoes: People Do Matter [NOOK Book]


This is the story of my life living with Bipolar Disorder. After I had a major mental breakdown back in 1994 and diagnosed I found very little litrature that I could understand or relate to on my illness. Everything was over my head and quite frankly bored me to read. Even though I live with Bipolar I am a positive person who enjoys life and I want to give back.

No one said life was going to be easy but so far for me it's been an increadible journey. I wrote this book not ...

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Bipolar Shoes: People Do Matter

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This is the story of my life living with Bipolar Disorder. After I had a major mental breakdown back in 1994 and diagnosed I found very little litrature that I could understand or relate to on my illness. Everything was over my head and quite frankly bored me to read. Even though I live with Bipolar I am a positive person who enjoys life and I want to give back.

No one said life was going to be easy but so far for me it's been an increadible journey. I wrote this book not because I'm an author but to give back to families like mine. They go through the rollercoaster ride everyday of living with a person who has a mental illness. So sit back and take a stroll with me and my "Bipolar Shoes" as I discribe my life with Bipolar Disorder. This is life and its supposed to be funny with some bumps along the way a book is to be informative as well as enjoyable. People have been telling me I should write a book for years. Now I finally have and I hope you enjoy it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468535228
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 9/10/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Bipolar Shoes

People Do Matter
By Dave O'Riordan


Copyright © 2011 Dave O'Riordan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4685-3638-6

Chapter One

The Beginning of Me

The year was 1962, September 17 to be exact; my mother was yelling, "I don't want to have this child," as she was scared to death. Well, Ma, you did it; you gave that one last push, out I came, then you welcomed me into the world. Bernie and Pat O'Riordan were now the proud parents of me, David Michael O'Riordan, and we lived in Cork City, Ireland. Now, never ones to be shy, my ma and dad found themselves in the family way again the following year; my sister, Sandra Mary O'Riordan, was born on September 16, 1963. Needless to say, my new sister screwed up my first birthday party. I never got the traditional Guinness in my bottle, ha ha. Sandra turned out to be a terrific sister; we didn't fight much, as I knew she would beat the shit out of me at any chance and I would get blamed for it anyway. In 1967, my mom gave birth to my brother, Paul Gerard O'Riordan, a cocky little bugger who turned out to be very funny. Our family was now complete: no more kids, that is, but always lots of excitement.

My parents owned a fish and chip shop on Douglas Street in Cork called Kiely's. To be honest, I don't think I've ever tasted better (except for my granddads on Maylor Street, which was a close second and also called Kiely's). I marvelled at my dad's ways. He was like the McDonald's of fast food in Cork; he built a fabulous business with his ways of thinking. He could remember all the orders. Friday lunchtime was the busiest time of the week; at that time, Catholics did not eat meat on Fridays, so the chipper was always packed. Dad would take all the orders, then recite them all back to the cheers of the crowd. His nickname was "The Brain Box"; it was great fun, a wonderful memory I'll always have. I'll never forget the smell of malt vinegar, the tradition of the chipper, and the sheer pride I had for my mom and dad for providing so well for Sandra, Paul, and myself.

I went to school at Christian Brothers Sullivan's Quay; frankly, I hated it. I still have issues about the punishment that was handed out. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm all for respect, but beating the shit out of a kid every day doesn't work, at least it didn't for me. I would have no problem shaking hands with the brothers who inflicted all those beatings with the leather, and I'd have no problem kicking them in the balls, either. Mr. Sullivan, you were ancient when I started grade two; you were the meanest teacher; well, it's a toss-up between you or Brother Sommers. Mr. Sullivan's nickname was "Fuzzy," as he only had a ring of hair. His favorite weapon was the wooden pencil box. Now, remember, we were only kids, eight years old, and that son of a bitch would give us two whacks on each hand for punishment.

Well, Mr. Sullivan, I hope God punished you before you got to heaven, like making you make a million pencil cases to replace the ones you broke, you miserable bastard. Oh yeah, remember that talk we had the first day I started school? You were right; butter doesn't melt in my mouth; it may have taken me thirty-five years to deal with this, but both you and Brother Sommers wrecked my childhood. All I can say is that I forgive you; I hope God remembers all the children you degraded, humiliated, and scared for life.

For me, personally, it's a shame that you were allowed to conduct yourselves in this manner. Just think of the minds you ruined and the people you shamed. I hope they have the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in heaven; you have about forty years to train, and then I'm going to put a beating on both of you. Brother Sommers, bring your leather; Fuzzy, bring your pencil box; I'll shove your heads so far up your asses you will smell your tonsils. Okay, tough guys!

Other than those two pricks in the roses, school was pretty good. I enjoyed learning. I was intrigued by Irish history and the accordion and sports, of course. I had a passion for hurling and Gaelic football, both national games of Ireland; my biggest passion was football (soccer in North America). I had a ton of friends at school: Christy and Jerry O'Sullivan, no relation to that bastard mentioned above; there was Tony Cove, Finbarr Ahern, Eddie Thornhill, Jim Morrison, just to name a few. I learned how to be tough at this school. Mr. Maroney and Brother Rogers were good teachers who thought instead of bullied; I respect them for that. It was a pleasure to also have many other fine teachers at that time in my life.

Cork City was a wonderful place to grow up. I had lots to do and lots of freedom to do as I wanted. Roche's installed an escalator in their store in the late sixties, and the lads and I would have great fun riding it over and over till we got kicked out: that was big in Cork in the sixties. My granddad's chipper, Kiely's, was located down the block, so I would pop in and say hi to him as well as my uncles, Matt and Martin. It was always a laugh a minute; even though I was only eight or ten, I always felt like a man and, of course, always had a full belly when I left there.

Every second Saturday, I would spend the night at my Nan and granddad's. I was about ten. Nan would give me smokes; she was cool. She had a mouth on her like a sailor's—never mind the farts out of her, which would make you swear a train was passing by. I had a very special bond with my Nan; I loved her but felt sorry for her a lot. She had had a tough life looking after my uncle Noel, who was in a wheelchair from a young age. It was hard work for her; she was a recluse and liked her Murphy's stout and paddy whiskey. We always had a laugh. I know that's where I developed the bad language that is with me to this day. I was ten when my sister and brother saw me on the bus with a cigarette; of course, they told Dad. When I came home at lunchtime, I was crucified; then off we went to the shop where I bought the smoke. The old man started giving Mrs. Monahan supreme shit; I never saw my dad's face that red. He wasn't done yet. I told him that Nan also gave me smokes, and I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Dad was pissed off. I had never seen him get that mad before; my ears were ringing for weeks.

Sunday morning would always consist of breakfast, having a wash, and getting some change from Granddad; then he would put Brillcream in my hair and again I felt like a man. Then we went to mass and then to the pub for an hour and back home for Sunday dinner. I had this routine every second week; Sandra would do the other weekend.

Some kids idolized football players or rock stars or famous people. I idolized my father. For me, the sun shined out of his arse, and he played a mean bugle with that arse, too. My dad was a bit of a prick when I was a kid, but I took the time to understand him and his logic. He didn't have much of a home life himself. My dad was the fourth child in a family of six children. His father was an alcoholic and abusive; the family often went hungry and had no money. My dad would never let that happen to Sandra, Paul, or myself.

I recall my dad giving me a crosser (crossbar) on the bike up to Granny Riordan's on a Friday with fish and chips for us to have for lunch. Then my uncle Donal would play the guitar or accordion, and we would have a singsong. I always loved those days. Granny dropped dead of a heart attack while out with two of my cousins; they were shopping downtown. I was pretty young and really don't remember her much.

What I do remember about that time, though, was looking in the mirror and finding out that I had two eyes that were in love with each other; yes, I had crossed eyes, and they looked bad. Mom and Dad spent time researching what to do, and I had corrective surgery at the age of eight. My eyes have been perfect ever since.

I always remember being at the Merries (amusement park) out in Kinsale with the family. Dad, Sandra, and I were sitting on a bench and this man walked by and Dad got up and followed this man. They had a brief conversation, and when Dad returned, I asked him who the man was, and he said that was his dad. That was the only time I saw my grandfather; I never met him, never talked to him. My dad put aside their differences and went to see him every day in the hospital till he finally died a horrible death; none of his other five kids ever went to see him. What compassion, what love, what a role model I chose to idolize.

My dad was well known around Cork as one of the best goal keepers; it always made me proud to see him play, and I would always get my picture taken with the team. Dad had very humble beginnings: he had a grade six education, but a smarter man I've never met. He was always full of dreams, always thought big, and always maintained the lifestyle he enjoyed. The family went on a holiday every year; my mom wasn't too keen on flying, so we would travel around Ireland. Then, in 1972, we were going to the Jersey Islands. Dad had convinced mom to try flying. It was an adventure for all of us, and we had a great holiday. To add to Mom's stress, I was bitten by a dog named Panda the evening we were leaving. Panda, a miserable menace, got me on my bike, and I got him with my Hurley a couple of months later.

In 1973, we traveled to Majorca, Spain; the night before that trip, I stepped on glass and had to get a few stitches. I couldn't swim for the first week; the tetanus shot I had gotten made me very stiff. It was a great adventure, seeing a new culture; we were treated like kings at the hotel. One thing that stands out for me in that hotel, though, was this Spanish gardener, a very nice man who spoke very little English and who always had a laugh with the three of us kids. Mom and Dad were relaxing by the pool while the gardener was spraying us with the hose. All of a sudden, this well-dressed man riding a horse started yelling at the gardener then pointing him off; it was the owner of the hotel. He did not approve of the gardener's actions. Dad went over to explain the situation to the owner; the gardener kept his job. That man was on his knees thanking my dad; he gave him a handmade leather wallet before we left. Then there was the day Dad called a cab. The driver did a U-turn to pick us up then got pulled over by the police; he got a hefty fine and was devastated. When we got to our destination, my dad paid the fare as well as the fellow's fine for him. It took me a lot of years to understand that it's not what you have; it's what you do with what you have. I learned more from my dad on both of those trips. Sure, I remember the sights and the stuff we did. I never forgot those kind gestures, along with the gratitude of those people for my dad doing what he thought was right.

School was now going well for me. I had Brother Rodgers as a teacher. I was enjoying the creativity he was seeking; he allowed us to express our opinions; he was firm but fair. I was on the school team for both hurling and Gaelic. I was passionate about the accordion. I could not read the music but could play by ear, a God-given talent that I have. I struggled a lot with reading, as I didn't like it; I had a hard time comprehending. I didn't like to handwrite; I preferred to print. I always enjoyed reading the paper. Brother Rodgers started a Saturday club for speaking Irish; we would talk only Irish while playing games, singing songs. It was good fun; school was now fun to go to.

In April 1974, my granddad Kiely had a massive heart attack and died while watching a cartoon. He was sixty-nine years old. It was an awful shock for Nan; she took the loss very hard. They were pretty close to their fortieth anniversary; even though they didn't show affection, you could tell they were very close. It was my first experience at a funeral, and it was sad for me to see everyone in tears. I felt so helpless for my Nan. There was nothing I could do but hold her hand and be the boy she would expect me to be. My Nan was a beautiful person whom I loved and admired very much. She would need me more than ever now; I would take my uncle Noel in the wheelchair and go for walks. I left him on the side of the road or in the middle of the road a couple of times as he barked at dogs, big feckin' dogs, then shouted, "David, David, come back here!" He knew I was scared shitless of dogs. I had the Panda episode, and then I had some big black lab lock on to my leg and start humping; I guess he liked me, but he, too, scared the shit out of me. Not many people know that story; yes, I had my leg humped, and no, he didn't finish. Noel was a character who loved football; we went to the matches all the time with my dad and Martin. It was good as we got right on the field because of Noel being in a wheelchair. He would give out constantly to the refs, the other teams' players, but everyone knew Noel. He was a definite character who didn't give a shit what he said to anyone, and he would do anything for a laugh. Most people couldn't understand him anyway, as his speech was not that good. Noel was a very intelligent man who was very funny and understood and accepted his disabilities, even though he didn't like them; it was all he knew.

For our holidays in 1974, Mom and Dad decided to go to Canada, Edmonton to be exact, as Dad had lived in Canada back in the fifties and always longed to go back. We had a month-long stay ahead of us and we were all looking forward to the trip. We arrived in Edmonton in early May and stayed with Dad's friends, the Varvas family: Mr. Varvas (Chris) and his wife, Barbara; daughter, Didi; and son, Billy. The Varvas family opened their home to us and made us feel so welcome. It was hard, at first, as we didn't know each other, but we were like family in a matter of hours. Chris owned and operated the Nite and Day Café on 118th Avenue in Edmonton, and we went there quite often. We went to Banff, and Sandra fell down a cliff behind the motel and broke her arm; she spent the night in the hospital. It was her turn for some misfortune as I had had it the last couple of years. We had a wonderful holiday and made new friends in Canada: the Cove family and the Rasmussens. Canada was awesome; we all loved it; we were in Edmonton for Klondike days. That was exciting to this twelve-year-old Irish kid; I had never seen anything like it; I thought it was brilliant. We saw and did so much that I could write another book.

We flew back to Ireland, sad to be leaving but glad to be going home, too. When we got back to Cork, it wasn't long after that Mom and Dad made the decision to immigrate to Canada. Sandra had asthma, and that was the only thing holding up the process. We were approved by the Canadian embassy and would have our papers within a few weeks. Arrangements were made for us to leave on December 11, 1974; it was about three months before we were to leave.

I would drop in on Nan every day after school; pick up her messages, and just visit. As the day got closer, my heart got heavier: here we are, going to Canada, and who's going to take care of her? It was the week before we were to leave; it was hard for me, knowing that I was leaving; I felt as if I was betraying her. The day we were leaving was one of the hardest days of my life. I was twelve years old, feeling like a man, when she gave me a hug and kiss and said we would never see each other again and that she loved me. Nan was right; she died in her sleep in September 1976. I still miss you, Nan; thank you for helping me write this. You are always in my heart, and I thank you for your love. I have such fond memories of us. Hey, remember: what goes through a hole fifty miles an hour? A rabbit on a Honda. It's a dumb joke, but I always see us laughing when I think or tell that joke. I always had fun at your house; it was always full of laughter, and man, as a twelve-year-old boy, I sure gained on my vocabulary. I will never forget you; I love you, Nan.

We arrived back in Canada on December 11, 1974, now as immigrants to a new country. Canada would now be home to us, and we would call Edmonton home. My dad had promised us snow would be on the ground when we arrived, but there was none. It was an unusually mild winter, they said. I will never forget the Christmas lights on all the houses; it was magic. We took the bus when we went out, as dad didn't have a car yet. My brother Paul decided to lick the ice at the bus shelter. He would have been almost eight; all we heard was "Ah ah ah," and the old man pulled him by the scruff of the neck. A good chunk of Paul's tongue was left on the shelter, and he was bleeding as we got on the bus. Paul and I got a couple of hockey sticks from the Coves; we would rip pucks at one another on the basement floor, no pads or helmets, just rip and shoot. We Irish were tough little bastards; we played hurling; how hard would it be? After several welts, numerous holes in the walls, not to mention the black marks all over the floor, we switched to a tennis ball.


Excerpted from Bipolar Shoes by Dave O'Riordan Copyright © 2011 by Dave O'Riordan. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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