The following is a summation of Justin Giron’s life as I, his mother, have observed it. He may agree with some of it and certainly will disagree with much of it.
Until Justin (Jay) entered adolescence, he was a sunny, happy, bright child who seldom, if ever, expressed anger and was never jealous of his two younger brothers. He was always popular, had many friends, was enjoyed and respected by his teachers, and was a total delight to me and my then husband. Jay and I were always very close.
When Jay was in 8thgrade, we were transferred to London, England. He and his brothers were enrolled in a private prep school. It was a challenging transition for him because his classmates had already had two years of Latin and were doing advanced math. He had to catch up while keeping up with his class. Socially, he felt he was an outcast and was bullied. His disposition changed drastically and I believe that he had his first episode of depression at the age of 13 or 14. He resented everyone and everything around him. He began to have episodes of rage and would go to his room and rip up the bed, throw everything in the room around, bang on the walls. During those times he was inconsolable.
After three years in England, he had adjusted a bit but was still sullen and had periodic bouts of anger. During this period he developed a schoolboy crush on another boy in his class. He appeared to be horrified and perhaps that was what drove his mood swings.
We were transferred back to Dallas when he was 16. Coming home to his friends didn’t help as they had all changed and really had no interest in him any more. Besides, he was not the happy, fun Jay they remembered. He began to act out ran with a bad crowd.
During this time, his father and I were having marital difficulties and separated within six months of returning to the States. I relocated with the three boys to Baltimore. Jay found his feet again when he was about 17 and began to do well in school again and was awarded several scholarships to Loyola University, an ROTC scholarship, and a scholarship to Georgetown University from which he graduated with honors. During this period he began to question his sexual orientation and appeared to suffer shame and anger again despite our reassurances that it didn’t matter to us or in life. Another depressive period ensued.
B. Young Adulthood
Jay joined the Army as an infantry officer and served in Korea, Saudi Arabia, and spent three hard years in the Mojave Desert at the National Training Center. His depression deepened seemingly because he could never reach his personal high standard. His episodes of rage/rebellion increased. He felt as though he had failed as an officer because he had to resign from Ranger training.
After his tour at the National Training Center, he’d had enough of the Infantry and transferred to the Transportation Corps. He was stationed in Virginia and seemed to steady out again. We were also able to see him more frequently and I think that helped reground him.
He met a woman, married, had a daughter, and (at the wife’s insistence) left his career in the Army and moved to Chicago so she could be closer to her family. He finally found a miserable job in a factory but despite his efforts, they divorced in short order—about three years. Admittedly, he was not easy to live with during this time. He resented being asked to do things for his wife, Amy, and being told what to do around the house. Amy is also bipolar/ADHD and was very, very difficult. They were a perfect storm. Finally, she found another man, asked Jay to leave. He was left with no home car, daughter, and with $40,000 of his wife’s debt. He had a breakdown shortly thereafter.
We invited him to come home to live with us and, thankfully, he did. The depression had become crippling but he fought it with everything he had. He was incapable of working for a while but then took a series of retail jobs with gradually increasing levels of responsibility. During this time, his grandparents began failing and he pitched in to care for them—he was a wonderfully caring man who would do anything for anyone.
Jay’s life after the divorce has been a series of ups and downs. His bipolarity has been treated for 20 years but, while he has had comfortable/successful periods they have alternated with highly disturbed periods wherein he becomes angry, irrational, and has a tendency to make decisions that are not to his benefit e.g. overspending, taking what seem to us to be needless and serious risks (racing motorcycles and sustaining life-threatening injuries on several occasions), and having difficulty in sustaining relationships.
In the past three years, Jay has had two life threatening motorcycle accidents and, among other serious injuries, sustained two major concussions. He was admitted to Shock Trauma on both occasions.
During the recovery from his first accident, I can only describe Jay as hostile, angry, irrational and very difficult to be around. His decision-making suffered in our opinion. Over time, his attitude improved but never regained his full enjoyment of life except that which revolved around motorcycles. He became what I would term as fixated on riding/racing. He went into debt on bikes/gear/track time. By his own assessment, he rode too far and too fast.
His most recent accident seemingly has deepened his depression both as a result of the brain injury and his realization that he would have to give up riding. Since then he has undergone a serious personality change becoming more hostile and angry and hopeless. Where he previously enjoyed his job, he now finds no meaning in his work and no longer enjoys his working environment. He feels very alone and is convinced that his friends and family are “tired of him” and will abandon him. Nothing is good in his world right now.
He has expressed his feeling that he feels he has failed at everything he has tried and that he no longer has any interest in living as the future can only hold more pain. He has a plan to end his life although I don’t know what the plan consists of.
D. Family Background
Bipolarity runs through the maternal side of the family. His grandmother, mother and niece have been diagnosed with it. His daughter has demonstrated serious behavioral issues and is on medication. They have been estranged for two years although she is making overtures toward him again.
Jay has two brothers one of whom has been diagnosed with ADHD and has periods of mild depression. The other has no apparent psychiatric issues.
Although Jay doesn’t believe it, we all love and respect the wonderful man he is. We consider him a successful, strong, loving man who has had to fight a debilitating disease most of his life. We are all here for him no matter what happens and we pray that he will find a way back to peace and love.