Who am I?

Traduction française au début du blog.

All of what you are about to read is “TRUE”.

It is based on my life story. Many have told me to put it to paper.

Therefore, I decided to take the plunge. I opted to use a blog as a vector for sharing my experiences and raise issues regarding Bipolars. I put an “S” at the end of bipolar as I want to stress and mention the people with the illness; not the illness itself. I’ll explain it in detail later on. As I mentioned before, all of it is the truth, as I saw and felt it. I put “brackets” around true because there are many truths describing one event depending on one’s perception. Names have been changed with the exception of those who did me wrong. They need to be exposed and hopefully, through this, they will not do any harm to anyone else in the future!

Before I start, I would like to make one thing clear to the readers. As a bipolar, my thoughts and ideas are going from one place to another in nanoseconds, creating a massive mess in my head which is sometimes unbearable. Therefore, I will try to do my very best to be as organized and coherent as possible. On the positive side, for the “non-bipolar”, you may get a taste of how we think and how difficult it is for us to make any sense at times especially in dealing with people and situations.

My background:

I graduated from the Superior School of Commerce in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1984. I further extended my education throughout my 30-year career both in finance and education.

My first occupation after graduating was an arbitrageur on equities, covering European and Asian Stock Markets. I also spent a considerable amount of time on the floor of the NYSE and the AMEX.

Then I went on to take an “administrative responsibilities” position (in today’s term, COO) in an offshore Genevan Private Swiss bank. I became the youngest First Vice President to have ever undertaken such responsibilities in that country.

After completing my 4 years assignment, I joined an independent brokerage firm in the New York area. I became a fully licensed trader and eventually a partner. I spent slightly less than 10 years of my life: brokering Eurobonds, US Treasuries and US equities for institutions.

While I was in New York, I joined the best backgammon club in New York City. I got heavily involved with the game and ended up being ranked internationally after winning a few tournaments and made it to the world championships, where I didn’t last very long! Even so, I was seriously thinking about turning “pro”.

Instead, I decided that it was time to change courses and I then joined another well-established Private Bank in Geneva. My initial mission was to create from the ground up a full operating trading desk (Foreign exchange, commodity, bond, stock) for their largest offshore office.

Once this task was completed, I went on to Portfolio and Relationship Management. This turned out to be my last assignment. After 7 years in this field and ended up Head of Private Banking for the Group’s largest offshore office.

I was also involved in an International Film Festival as a Director. The experience was tremendous and eventually took me to the Cannes Film Festival. This was one of the best experiences of my life.

The result of losing both my parents a year apart combined with my responsibilities at work became too much to handle. I ended up having a massive breakdown or a “burnout” (I was told that “burnouts” do not exist in psychiatry; they are simply called depressions). I was put on a 6 months leave, but I managed to bounce back and was ready to go back to work. Despite all the achievements and success that I had accomplished for the bank, the “sharks” and “weasels” that I worked with, managed to stab me in the back and got me fired.

After this unexpected and traumatic event, I decided to take care of my family; in particular, my family affairs. Throughout this time I managed to achieve all the personal goals that I had set out; to fully renovate the family home, learn how to play the guitar, pass my black belt in mixed martial arts, to name a few.

I had a nice financial cushion when I left the bank but after living off it for 5 years, it eventually disappeared. I had no desire to go back to that rat race after being away from finance for so long.

Then for about three years, I tried to get involved in other fields, investing money and losing it. In retrospect, I believe that I was in a manic phase as my poorly made decisions were based solely on “feelings”; invincible, fearless, believing I could not fail.

It was only after the help of my family and doctors who prescribed the right treatments that I was able to face reality.

It was then that I decided to become a certified English teacher. I have two certifications; one for regular English and the other for business English.

And now I am creating this blog because it is needed. We have to fight to end mental health prejudices and abuses. The stigmas have to stop. It is believed that bipolars are smarter than the norm then, let’s use our brains (when they want to cooperate) and let’s put an end to this.

Lawrence Illoc