Polarized: Joseph DeBlasi
Wanting to try out for the Mets and Jets our author is hospitalized after trying out at the training camp for the Mets. This is a very telling introduction to the life of Joseph DeBlasi and the family that weathered many storms not just because of his mental illness but at the hand of his father who manipulated events, brainwashed him into divorcing his mother from his life and wanted him to remain loyal only to his wants and needs.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that the author realizes he has but as you get to know his father, you will realize he never admitted being bipolar too. His mood swings, violent outbursts, and cycles of depression should have alerted his family that something was wrong. But, in the 70’s this was not dealt with at least in his family and the dramatic mood switches from high to low and back again are frank and rapid. They might have shaken it off as being in a bad mood, angry for sone thing said or worse. Let us start at the beginning with the families involved. The DeBlasi family and the Paladino family. Each tight knit, close and family oriented. Neither thought they would ever become so deeply entwined. Grandma Jennie was the author’s favorite grandmother and she never thought her perfect golden sin, his father would marry and pursue Regina Paladino. Some matches are made in heaven and this one would eventually turn toxic. Regina was a good wife and loyal to her husband . Three sons Joseph Jr, Stephen and Kevin. Family dynamics were different but as you get to know both his father and mother you begin to see signs that will alert you to the fact that his father was cruel, unfeeling, manipulative and frightening. After 12 years if marriage he claimed to be bored and needed to branch out. As a doctor because that is what his mother wanted him to be, he had nurses who sought him just for his title as Chief of Staff. His mother wanted him to be a doctor but when Joseph decided to play the field she was embarrassed and her family did everything to discredit Regina which did not hold well with the other side,
Joseph did everything he could to make Regina look bad and he even managed to brainwash Joseph Jr. into coming to live with him and now his new wife Rita who disliked him from the start. A plan so evil and manipulative that his son never saw it coming and just pleasing his father was all he wanted at the expense of a mother that loved her children. Having to commute to his old school lasted for a while but when they went to court, he was coached, and his father got permanent custody of him. Lives were held at bay, homes were changed, his mother needed to live somewhere with her other two children and his father paid minimum child support. She worked hard, with the help of her parents and able to live with them for a while she was okay but in the back of her mind, she had to wonder what was coming next.
Joseph was never satisfied with his living conditions and living with his mother lasted for a while each time he bought a new property it’s as if he had to prove to the world that he was rich and had it all. His wife had her own children and Joseph at first was in the way and missed his brothers who he rarely got to see. Now, the father went after the middle brother, Stephen and with the help of Joseph Jr. he was able to manipulate him and now he had two of his sons would he want the third?
A family torn apart by anger, greed, hate, manipulation, abuse and revenge as both families come up against each other too often and yet neither seems to come out on top. Joseph Sr. is always angry, mad or looking to take down Regina but why?
Life was okay but both Joseph and Stephen were not allowed to date until their father gave them permission but that did not stop him from having some secret sessions with Rita, his father’s wife. No one noticed that they were a secret couple but when he came in after curfew or dated a girl when allowed, she would rant, rave and get upset. Seeing his grandparents Grandpa Jack and Grandma Dar made him feel guilty about why he was visiting his mother and her new husband who was great. His father wanted Kevin, the youngest to come to an event with their family and the only way was to set the path by visiting his mother.
Things were about to change and so did Joseph when he entered Rutgers, broke loose from the confining restraints of his father, drank, girls, cut classes and depression set in. After a while it was serious and his father took him to see two doctors, but his depression did not end, his feeling to end his life was there but no one realized what was wrong.
Working was his father’s answer but not the solution and reentering college would he succeed, would he become a doctor, or would he fall deeper and deeper into a depressed state? The author describes his feelings, his moods and his reactions to people and situations that the reader almost experiences them as he continues his journey.
Years of therapy, different doctors, ups and downs with his behavior, times when he went through long periods that he was okay and then out of nowhere depressed, angry and often spending money that he did not have, the author takes many journeys both good and bad. With his father alienating him, not wanting to help him and sticking with his wife who helped create his depression and is definitely a pedophile, grandma Dar who you love, Grandma Jennie who helped but was eliminated from their lives, his half brothers that they were banned from seeing this author’s life was on a downward slope and at times he almost sank even further. Shock therapy, medications, denial that he was ill, upsetting his family, this brother Kevin coming to his side but his father’s clout as a doctor and the lawyer that he used plus the judges not hearing the truth you wonder why Joe was Manic Joe yet through it all he realizes his actions, even when wanting to play for the Jets, his life has taken many turns. Jobs that he got and lost. A huge lawsuit and losing his benefits, tax problems and through it all his mother and her husband stood with him hard and fast as did his brother Kevin and some of his friends. His parent’s divorce, childhood issues that an cause adult depression and bipolar in an adult and the courage to try hard and yet never really giving up on himself abandoning his mother for his father, Rita who was a catalyst in his downfall, mania was his only escape. With the death of Grandma Jennie, her son not present and yet his Uncle Mike there, the DeBlasis family and the Paladino’s would forever be apart. Sharing his story took courage and readers need to understand just how serious this mental illness is and how it can affect you all the time. With the reminder that he has family it is what he ends his journey with: The three brothers must stick together. Told in his own words and you can feel the torment, undergo the anger and the treatments as he lives his life day by day and hour by hour cherishing those close to him. What happens when you realize you have bipolar you become a victim of your own self and you are truly Polarized. A must read.
Fran Lewis; Just reviews