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written three novels entitled Purple Loosestrife, Hoping It Might Be So, and Dark and Bright, all of which are as yet unpublished.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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bipolar Disorder and a Darker Side of Writing

As you may know, I'm working on a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. This project is coming along extremely slowly and is very hard to write. There are many things about my depressive and manic episodes, hospitalizations, and just day-to-day struggles that I don't want to dwell on long enough to write about them. This endeavor has the potential to take me to some very dark places. Just the other night, I was thinking about my worst manic episode ever and subsequent hospitalization, and it really brought me down.

And then I began to wonder... is memoir just a fiction of what the writer is able to write? Is it a narrative that's easier to deal with than reality? I want to write what's true and honest and raw, but how can I do that when it takes me to places in my mind to which I don't want to go? Where I can't go for fear of triggering depression?

So this project remains up in the air. I'm taking a couple weeks of hiatus from it perhaps to come back to it with the strength to write about what truly happened. But I don't know if I can do that. There were some very dark times, both depressive and manic, that I don't want to revisit. But don't I have to if I want to educate and enlighten my readers? I don't have the answers to these questions at this time. It's just something I have to continue to ponder.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Little Running Can Go a Long Way

Yesterday, I ran a little bit for the first time in quite a while. I had stopped running for various reasons including problems with my hypothyroidism and exertional (exercise-induced) headaches. But I missed running and decided to try doing it again. I've been walking, and I walk really fast for the cardio benefits, so I interspersed into my walking a few little bursts of running for fifteen seconds at a time. It's only a very little bit of running at this point, but I've got to start somewhere.

The good part for me is that I went ahead and did it. I was scared that I'd get an exertional headache (they're as bad as migraines), but I'm taking it so slowly that I'm hoping those won't be a problem anymore. Also, I'm forty-nine years old but so what? If I work up to running again slowly, who's to say I can't do it? Now, if I don't like it anymore, then I'll go back to power walking, but at least I'm trying.

I love the runner's high, and while I do get an endorphin burst from power walking, I really get a great feeling when I run. I also used to enjoy running 5Ks. I've run in five of them and would love to do it again if I can. The picture here is of me at my first ever 5K. So we'll see what happens. Whatever happens, the boost to my confidence was great.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Seasons and Bipolar Disorder

According to articles I've read and talks I've had with my psychiatrist, it seems that many people with bipolar disorder are more prone to become manic or hypomanic in the spring and summer when the days get longer and brighter and the temperatures go up. On the other hand, people with bipolar disorder tend to get depressed more frequently in the winter when the days are short and darker and cold (if you live in a cold climate, that is). I live in central New York and our seasons vary widely. It can be like the tropics in the summer and like the arctic in the winter. The differences are radical, and they do affect me.

But strangely, I tend to experience the flip side of what many people with bipolar disorder experience. I usually feel pretty good in the winter. There's something about the cold and dark that make me feel cozy and comfortable inside my house. And I seem to have more time to write, which for me can trigger hypomania or even mania.

In spring and summer, on the other hand, I'm more apt to feel a little depressed. I can get excited and hyper, too, but the depression comes with the additional work that I have to do in the summer (gardening, yard and pool work). I feel overwhelmed, despite really liking gardening and yard and pool work. When I feel overwhelmed, I might also feel down and frozen--unable to figure out what to do first or next.

Of course, I have skills and a lot of help when these feelings come over me. I've got a great support system, good meds, and an excellent doctor. I just find it interesting that the seasons affect me differently than what seems to be the norm. That said, I love all the seasons here in upstate New York. I wouldn't trade them for any other seasonal pattern. Even though I may have some trouble, I love the change of seasons here and having all four seasons.