On Trust and Personal Responsibility

"Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here, and become as joyless as they have become...The person who distrusts himself has no touchstone for reality---for this touchstone can be only oneself." -James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time I'm fairly… Continue reading On Trust and Personal Responsibility


Thoughts After Reading Notes on a Banana by David Leite

In Notes on a Banana, Leite writes about what he experiences as the central elements in his life: his Portuguese/Azorean heritage, his sexuality, his body image, his relationship with food, and his mental illness. In a straightforward manner, without self-pity or melodrama, Leite writes about how these elements intersect in his life, how his awareness… Continue reading Thoughts After Reading Notes on a Banana by David Leite

On Side Effects and Self-Medication

As my dose of mood stabilizer has increased, the side effects have evolved. At first, the main side effect was a very dry throat and mouth and a little numbness in my lips and tongue. Those are still there, but have either improved or I've adjusted to them. As my dose increased, I found myself… Continue reading On Side Effects and Self-Medication

On Lifestyle Changes Related to Bipolar Disorder

A few days after I got my diagnosis, I checked out a stack of books about bipolar from the library. I quickly returned the large percentage that seemed to equate having bipolar with being an idiot. The ones that were left all said pretty similar things. Take your medications. Learn to manage stress. Keep a regular schedule. Take your… Continue reading On Lifestyle Changes Related to Bipolar Disorder

On Moods and Self-Identity

I recognize that my moods follow a predictable pattern. There's the high, during which every cloud has a silver lining, every goal seems within my reach, and everything on the Internet seems worth purchasing. That lasts a few days before it gives way to a short but dramatic period of explosive tantrums, stomping, throwing things,… Continue reading On Moods and Self-Identity

On the Decision to Disclose a Diagnosis (or Not)

  I feel conflicted about telling people about my diagnosis. On the one hand, I feel a responsibility to disclose to help reduce the stigma of mental illness, especially serious mental illness. On the other hand, I feel like keeping it to myself because I don't want to be the object of the stigma against… Continue reading On the Decision to Disclose a Diagnosis (or Not)

On Medication Dependency, or You Get What You Get and You Don’t Throw a Fit

Recently a woman I know told a group of people about her decision to taper down her depression and anxiety medications. She explained that she'd needed them when she was working because her job was so stressful, but now that she's retired, she doesn't feel like she needs them anymore. "I've come to the realization… Continue reading On Medication Dependency, or You Get What You Get and You Don’t Throw a Fit

On Joining the Ranks of the “Seriously Mentally Ill”

In a previous life, I worked on clinical trials for bipolar depression. On clinical trials, actually, of the very drug I am now taking as a mood stabilizer. Is that irony or just coincidence? Alanis Morissette and I always have trouble telling the difference. Working on those trials, the closest I got to working with… Continue reading On Joining the Ranks of the “Seriously Mentally Ill”