He’s lived on the streets.

And, Randle Loeb has bipolar disorder.

His father was a lawyer and his mother, an actress, writer, and teacher of literature. But, his parents were supportive.

In college, he was a conscientious objector and an activist, protesting the Vietnam War. He read his poetry at coffee houses and worked at a variety of jobs. But, he suffered mood swings and often felt insecure, anxious, and unable to sleep. He earned a Master of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology, University of Denver, and a second master’s in science and education at the prestigious Bank Street College of Education, New York.

He was married, had three children, and was divorced. He was troubled and in pain. He felt alone.

“I’d spent my life trying to fit in. I couldn’t relate to the people I loved. I was frenetic and petulant. I thought I was a failure as a father, and that’s why I decided to get help.”

“I could be overbearing and intense,” he said. He lost jobs, and his life crumbled.

He was homeless for six years, sleeping on porches and in gardens. He said he just gave up.

“I was physically and emotionally destitute. I lost faith and to be quite frank also judgment.” After a suicide attempt on the eve of Sept. 11, 2001, that left him in a coma for five days, he wondered how thousands of innocent people could die in the World Trade Center tragedy, while he had somehow survived. He vowed to turn his life around.

He became a passionate advocate for the homeless. Last year, a major Colorado television news program recognized him as their volunteer of the year, and he’s won numerous awards for his advocacy.

Loeb is an active volunteer in his Unitarian church, working on its Social Action Committee. He pays the price.

I have tremendous anger, fear, and loss of control. I can’t be a stable and loving partner.”

He has no income other than the occasional odd job or stipend he receives for speaking. He applied for Social Security disability but was denied.

He tries to stay healthy. “I swim, I bike. There are people in my life who look after me.” He writes poetry and essays about his experiences and “the brothers and sisters of the shadows.”

“I am a survivor,” he said.

The National Consumer Advisory Board awarded Randle Loeb the Ellen Dailey Advocacy Award in Phoenix in June.

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