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, and several other journals. I have 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. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. 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!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Theoretical Physics

I love theoretical physics and love reading books and articles on the topic. The problem is, sometimes I just go down the rabbit hole when I read about this stuff and end up feeling depressed, or perhaps hypomanic, or maybe a combination of the two. Although I love it, the topic is a trigger, and I have to be careful of how much and when I read about physics.

I love the way various theories make me think deeply and way outside of the box. But then this thinking often seems to bring me around to questions about life and death, and why we're here, and what's the point of all this, etc. These questions are what unhinge me. I think this kind of thing could happen to anyone, but when you're a person with bipolar disorder, I believe you're more likely to become off balance by such profound thinking that can lead to negative concepts such as, "There's nothing after this," or "There's no point," or "We're just little meaningless specks in this unfathomably huge universe."

So I just watch my mood when I feel inclined to read about physics. If I'm not very well balanced, I consider carefully whether or not I want to risk the negative thinking that I bring about (because I know I'm making it happen). If I'm feeling good, then it may be a perfect time to read. The bottom line is that it's important to know what might trigger episodes for you when you have bipolar disorder. The things that do this may be obvious or may be really weird, but recognizing them is important.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"Tom Cruise" Is Here

My story "Tom Cruise Doesn't Give a Damn" is now available to read in The Round Up Writer's Zine. This was a fun story to write and I hope a fun story to read. What the hell is Tom Cruise doing at Target in Clay, New York?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

An Epic Tom Cruise Story (or So I Hope)...

The Round-Up Writer's Zine has accepted my story "Tom Cruise Doesn't Give a Damn" for publication in their next issue. This will be my third publication in The Round-Up, and I'm proud of this since I really like the journal.

This story is about Mr. Cruise and a visit he makes to Target in the town of Clay, New York. What on earth is Tom Cruise doing at Target? When the story comes out, I'll let you know so that you can find out.

(By the way, the rather unflattering picture I've used of Mr. Cruise is, as far as I was able to tell, a free public domain photograph.)

The Trouble with Abilify

One of the medications I take for my bipolar disorder is Abilify, an atypical antipsychotic. Abilfy has worked to keep my mood stable, to keep away paranoia, and to reduce obsessive thinking, especially about negative and scary things.

I'm having some trouble with Abilify, however--I think. There's a condition called tardive dyskinesia (t.d.) that the atypical antipsychotics can cause (the old school antipsychotics are even more likely to cause it).  According to MedlinePlus, a website of the NIMH U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Tardive dyskinesia is a disorder that involves involuntary movements. Most commonly, the movements affect the lower face. Tardive means delayed and dyskinesia means abnormal movement." The trouble I'm having is with my lower lip. At least several times a day, I feel it quiver on the inside (in other words, no one would notice this when looking at me). My doctor also noticed a very slight tremor on one side of my tongue.

I say that I think I'm having trouble with Abilify because my doctor isn't entirely certain that that's what this is. With t.d., a person is not aware of abnormal movements, and yet I'm very aware of the trembling of my lip. Therefore, this could be a side effect of something else, or perhaps just a harmless quirk of mine (this is one of my own theories).

In any event, my doctor has lowered my Abilify from what was once 30 mg a day to 25 mg a day to my current 20 mg a day. I'm also taking 1,200 iu of vitamin E a day, which may help the problem. And if this is indeed t.d., then I may have to go off the Abilify and avoid any other atypical antipsychotics. It's just a matter of waiting and seeing. I find it interesting, however, that people with t.d. aren't aware of it and yet I am. I hope that this might indicate that I can stay on the Abilify. It helps me so much that I'd hate to have to go off it.

I'm writing about this in order to help anyone else who's having any kind of odd side effect, including a potential sign of t.d. I'm neither a doctor nor an expert, so my advice would be to talk to your doctor, but at least knowing that there's someone else out here going through some stuff may help give you the confidence needed to talk about this. I also want to educate any reader, whether he or she has a mental illness or not, about one of the things we go through. In my opinion, having an open dialogue about issues surrounding mental illness helps to erase the stigma. I like to give glimpses into the life of a person with a mental illness to show that it's nothing that should be kept secret, nothing scary, and nothing that can't be understood with compassion and thoughtfulness.