Bipolar

Bipolar Loses Its Romance

For years, I thought my mental illness was romantic. I felt I saw things clearer than people without mental illness. I felt I was somehow more real, more in touch with reality, more capable of feeling. I thought it made me more interesting.

When, a year or so ago, I tried again to take medication, I was worried it would make me bland, that it would take away the thrills I found within my highs and lows. I liked the waves of emotion, of not knowing when or where my next episode would happen. The intensity of both mania and depression was exciting. Within the past 6 months though, things have gone from entertaining to incredibly painful, and I no longer want to be this way, I no longer look down upon normal people. Now I am jealous of them.
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Addiction

Did You Take Your Meds?

My support system has earned certain rights that other people in my life do not get. The main thing that comes to mind when I speak of this is the age-old question that most people with bipolar hate being asked, “Did you take your medication?” I have got to admit at one point in my life with bipolar disorder it was a question that would boil my blood. My husband would ask me, “Honey, did you take your meds?” in the most loving, sweetest voice he possibly could and I in return would absolutely blow up at him. In my defense, we weren’t working together to keep my bipolar disorder in check yet and so he hadn’t yet earned the right to ask me the meds question.
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ADHD and ADD

How I Healed My Inner Child

Growing older does not mean we’ve actually grown “up.” Aging chronologically and mentally are two very different things, as my young adult life so brilliantly demonstrated.

I was completely out of control: alcohol abuse, depression, and if I didn’t get my way, throwing temper tantrums that would make a three year old blush. Well into my twenties, I had the mentality of a rebellious child.

And while I was well aware that my dysfunctional childhood was at the root of my behavior, I had no idea how to rectify this part of me that had been around for almost as long as I had been.
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General

Start Your Life Passport

My United States passport is expired. I keep meaning to get it renewed, but the reality is, with upcoming career changes, I don't see myself needing it anytime soon. And I haven't added anything to my "bucket list" in years because I haven't been inspired to. My bucket list is rather full. I filled it when I was younger. Feels like I had more life and energy then -- when I wanted to conquer the world. 

I've already lived out that song by Tim McGraw, Live Like You Were Dying. I've been skydiving, mountain climbing, and actually made it more than 2.7 seconds on a bull I named Fumanchu (I couldn't walk for three days, but it was worth it). If you know the song, I also learned to love deeper, speak sweeter, and to forgive. I've raised an amazing son, cultivated lifetime friendships, and meaningful work. 
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Aging

Peeling Off the Pericardium

On June 12, 2014, my life changed immeasurably with an unexpected cardiac event. It had been brewing for a while and reached a boiling point with a fully occluded artery sending me careening into a new way of living and loving. A few hours after the initial symptoms, I had a new body part (a stent) keeping it open and the blood flowing.

How many beats per minute? How much love can the heart hold? How do we keep the blood pumping that sustains our lives? How do we become works of he(art)? Each of these is a practical and philosophical question I ponder.
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College

How to Do Well in College, From a Professor’s Perspective

I’ve taught at colleges and universities in the United States since 1985. I teach writing. And over the years, I’ve amassed a great deal of information on how to teach.  In short, each semester I practice educating others, I become a better instructor. But I’ve also collected some good info on how to get the most out of the college experience from the other side of the “fence” -- how to be a good student and how to enjoy, not just suffer through, college.
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Anger

Fatherhood: Optional

“We have a personality clash,” my father would flippantly remark before storming off. This was his throwaway line.

I stood there dumbfounded. A sensitive teenager, the words wounded. There was a cold dismissiveness in his voice.

“What have I ever done to you?” I wondered.

The answer: Nothing. But that doesn’t stop the lingering hurt. In 1997, 2007, and, yes, 2017.
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Anxiety and Panic

Keeping Anxiety at Bay: My Arsenal of Recovery

Looking back on my childhood, there was never really a time I was sure of myself. I never thought I was cute enough, smart enough, funny enough, or fun enough. In fact, I doubted that any of my playmates actually liked me.

On my birthday, I wondered whether my friends would show up to my party. And if they did, was it because my parents paid them to come? If so, how much? How much was I worth?
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