About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have a poem in The Poeming Pigeon, essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. My story "Santa Lucia" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I've written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished. I'm working on a memoir about my experiences with bipolar disorder. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Update on My Memoir

I'm still working slowly but surely on my memoir about my experiences with bipolar disorder. It's difficult to write--not just about the rough times, but about the good times as well. Generally speaking, I've been having good times for about the past seven or eight years. I'm compliant (in other words, I take my meds as I'm supposed to). I have an excellent doctor and support system in my family and friends. And I have a wonderful husband and son who "get me" more than any other people in the world and always help to keep me balanced.

It's obvious why it's difficult to write about the rough times, but as I said, writing about the good times can be just as hard. I think it's because those of us with bipolar disorder are constantly working to stay balanced and avoid triggers that might cause depression or mania. So even when times are good, it can be difficult to convey to someone who's not in "the tribe" the challenges of everyday life. We have to learn to live and cope in certain ways through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) as well as other skills that we have developed along the way on our journey through this illness.

All this said, I'm glad that I'm "coming out" with this memoir, and even just with writing about it here. A big part of my goal in writing it is to educate and enlighten people about bipolar disorder and mental illness in general. I want to help remove the stigma of mental illness and demonstrate through my own example that we can be capable, productive, successful members of society. I also want to show that having a mental illness means that you have a brain disorder. The brain is an organ and a system in the body just like any other, so having a mental illness isn't all that different from having diabetes or multiple sclerosis or any other chronic condition that affects an organ or a system in the body. Mental illness isn't a character flaw. It's a medical illness involving one's biochemistry.

So this is my update on my memoir and some of the issues I wish to address within it. The writing is slow going, as one might expect, but it's fulfilling, cathartic, and therapeutic. I'm writing it for myself, but I'm also hoping that it might one day serve to do just as I've said above: educate and enlighten and erase the stigma.

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