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Military General with Bipolar Was “Fit for Duty”

Published on
October 07, 2021

On episode 6 of Disruptive Storytelling with Military Changemakers our host Jenifer Barnhill was joined by Retired U.S. Army Maj. General Gregg Martin. General Martin shares his story of what it was like to experience bouts of mania and depression while on active duty — symptoms that would eventually lead to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. He shares details about how the mental health condition affected his career and what he’s doing now to ensure others don’t encounter the same barriers to getting help or feeling the stigma as he did.

According to General Martin “I got three psychiatric evaluations in that month, and all three of them said, ‘there is nothing wrong with you. You are fit for dut. You are healthy. There’s nothing wrong.’ So as I say, ‘see there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m fine!’ But I wasn’t. I was really in severe mental illness.”

Years passed and depression hit, making his symptoms apparent to his leaders who ultimately confronted him, forcing him to finally get the help he needed.

gray scale photo of man covering face with his hands
Bipolar Disorder is characterized by periods of mania followed by periods of depression.

“Bipolar — I never wanted it, but it wanted me. And it’s never going to leave. It’s always a part of me, and it’s my job to be vigilant and keep it at bay because if you let your guard down, it can come roaring back and take you down again.”

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What is Bipolar Disorder?

According to the National Institute of Health bipolar disorder is “is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” Because mania can often pass as a high functioning individual, but this can mask the underlying condition.

Also featured in this episode:

About our Guest

U.S. Army Major General Gregg Martin is a 36-year Army combat veteran, retired two-star general and bipolar survivor. Martin is also a qualified Airborne Ranger, engineer and strategist. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy, aka West Point, as well as two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Martin is also married with three kids and lives with his wife in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where he speaks, writes and advocates for mental wellness. Martin is also writing a book, “Battling Bipolar.” 

Disruptive Storytelling with Military Changemakers is a bi-weekly podcast presented by Partners in PROMISE, a nonprofit dedicated to Protecting the Rights Of Military children In Special Education (P.R.O.M.I.S.E.). This season of the podcast is sponsored by the Modern Military Association of America with music by Stephen McDonough.

Want to Share Your Disruptive Story?

Disruptive Storytelling with Military Changemakers is a bi-weekly podcast presented by Partners in PROMISE, a nonprofit dedicated to Protecting the Rights Of Military children In Special Education (P.R.O.M.I.S.E.). This season of the podcast is sponsored by the Modern Military Association of America with music by Stephen McDonough.

This episode has been sponsored by MMAA

Want to sponsor a future episode? Email: info@thepromiseact.org

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