A decorated 40-year veteran recently opened up about how combat missions forever changed his brain function. General Gregg F. Martin, who served tirelessly for four decades, shared his experiences and insights in his newly released memoir, “Bipolar General: My Forever War with Mental Illness.” In this captivating book, he chronicles his personal battle with bipolar disorder, shedding light on a topic that is often misunderstood and stigmatized. As General Martin explains, bipolar disorder can actually develop over time, rather than being something one inherently inherits.
In his memoir, General Martin reveals that the gene for bipolar disorder was dormant in his brain until the stressors of repeated combat missions in Iraq triggered its manifestation. This challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding bipolarity being solely genetic. It highlights the impact that extreme and prolonged stressors can have on an individual’s mental health, particularly combat troops. General Martin’s story serves as a cautionary tale for all service members and the doctors who treat them, emphasizing the importance of understanding the long-term psychological effects of serving in high-stress environments.
Throughout the book, General Martin vividly describes his manic episodes and the devastating consequences they had on his life. At times, he genuinely believed he was invincible, embodying the fictional character Superman. It was only 11 years after leaving Iraq that he received a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder and started on the appropriate medications. This diagnosis allowed him to gain a better understanding of how combat impacts the brain’s biochemistry and provided him with the tools to manage his condition effectively.
General Martin’s experience is far from unique. Countless veterans in the United States have gone through similar situations, facing mental health challenges as a result of their service. The Department of Veterans Affairs is aware of this issue and remains vigilant in identifying and addressing symptoms of bipolar disorder among combat troops. However, General Martin hopes that his memoir brings this important issue to the forefront, destigmatizing mental health discussions within the military and encouraging open dialogue about the challenges faced by service members.
By sharing his story, General Martin aims to raise awareness about the often-overlooked subject of mental health in the military. He wants to destigmatize the topic and ensure that veterans receive the necessary support and resources to navigate their mental health journeys successfully. His memoir serves as a powerful tool for showcasing the complexities of mental health and the profound impact that combat experiences can have on individuals.
“Bipolar General” is available for purchase online and in bookstores nationwide. General Martin’s hope is that his memoir reaches a wide audience, including service members, healthcare professionals, and the general public. By shedding light on his personal struggle, General Martin aims to initiate meaningful discussions and foster a more inclusive and empathetic understanding of mental health issues within the military.
In conclusion, General Gregg F. Martin’s memoir, “Bipolar General: My Forever War with Mental Illness,” offers a unique perspective on the long-term psychological effects of combat. Through his personal experiences and candid storytelling, General Martin challenges preconceived notions about bipolar disorder, highlighting the role of environmental stressors in its development. His memoir serves as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing mental health and destigmatizing discussions surrounding it. By sharing his story, General Martin hopes to improve the lives of veterans and promote a more compassionate approach to mental healthcare within the military community.