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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written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished.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!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

No Rage Here

I read and hear a lot about people with bipolar disorder experiencing severe anger and rage. They argue with loved ones or acquaintances or strangers and feel that they can't control the rage.

I have never felt rage in all my years with bipolar disorder. I know I've been irritable, and I've had minor irritability-fueled outbursts. But these never last long, and I've never felt the severe anger of which I'm aware can exist in people with bipolar disorder.

I think it's just not part of my make-up. I believe my personality has a lot to do with this. I dislike feeling anger and can't stay angry for long. I also never hold grudges. I don't like confrontation or arguing. The idea of feeling rage scares me. I'm grateful that this isn't one way in which my disorder manifests itself.

Perhaps I take whatever rage might be bubbling inside me in a given situation and channel it into my writing. I've certainly written enraged characters. I've written angry exchanges, explosive arguments, and even outright physical fighting. I write such scenes because they're part of whatever story I'm telling, but I do find them cathartic as well.

Some advice for all writers, not just those with a mental illness: perhaps channeling negative emotions such as rage into your writing will help you work through it. This is not to say that you'll never get angry and act on it; it's just one way of attempting to rein it in. If you feel that you're about to blow up at someone and they may not deserve it, then have one of your characters blow up at another, even if you don't use the scene in your story or novel. Now if there's good reason for blowing up at someone, then by all means, it may be what you have to do. Yet still I believe that writing can go a long way in dealing with negative emotions.

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