Archive | March, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

26 Mar

“Do you think I’ve gone round the bend?”
“I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

This past weekend really made me think.  It’s one thing to go through my own adventure, it’s another thing to try and explain it to someone else who will be reading through my eyes.



I realized it is one thing to explain something to someone –  that has nearly destroyed your life – to actually being able to live through hearing this.

It’s not only about telling “my” story – it’s about telling the story of those who have lived it with me.

How can I explain to someone, what it’s like to love someone with bipolar and depression?  I’m not the one looking from the other side of the glass.

It’s not even about me.  This is about those who love me – who love you.  It’s one thing to be able to say, “This is how I am feeling right now”, – but what about the people that are living with us – loving us – trying to understand and comfort us.

How can I explain to someone “What It’s All About” – when I’m on the wrong side of the mirror – What is it like for parent’s to see their child going through this?  To hear that their child has been admitted to a hospital because they tried to kill themselves?  To know that something is going on wrong chemically inside a loved ones mind?

I’m not on that side of the mirror.  And it hurts me to think of being on that side of mirror –  even more, knowing I put people on that side of the mirror.

When will it be ‘okay’ to talk about mental illness?

When will it be okay to actually live with a mental illness?



21 Mar

It’s funny how media can start to relate to your life.

Let me explain..

When  you bought your first car – and it was *BRIGHT RED* (or insert another color you thought stood out)… the weeks following, did you think, “Wow – I am seeing a lot of *BRIGHT RED* cars out here!”

Thank your brain for that.  It’s a little thing called, ” availability heuristic“.

[I’ll give you time to Google or Wiki that term…]

When we learn about things, we start to relate more and more to the subject at hand (*ahem*- Medical Student Syndrome).

I recall the day I was told I was “BIPOLAR” – and yes, I freaked out.  I knew I was depressed, but to tell me I was bipolar scared the crap out of me.

The more I listen and watch the media talk about Bipolar and Depression, the more I try to study what they’re trying to convey.


While meeting with one of my workers, they had asked me, “Have you watched ‘Silver Linings Playbook‘?”, and I had said, “no”, because honestly, I am into horror movies, mostly, and I had never heard of the movie.

She said, “I have been asking my clients who are depressed or bipolar if they’ve watched it, to see if it actually rings true”.  Curiosity affects us all.

I went home, downloaded it, and watched it.  Not a horror movie, but having Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in it definitely makes it break even.

I won’t lie – there were times when I connected to the movie.  One part in particular, I had to chuckle, because I don’t know how many times my parents would ask me this or something similar:   

Dolores: “I’m making crabby snacks and homemades.”
Pat: “Come on, dad, be nice. She’s making crabby snacks and homemades. Come on, dad!”
Pat Sr.: “What are you so up about?”
Dolores: “You’re very happy.”
Pat: “I’m happy.”
Pat Sr.: “No, you’re so up, up, up.”
Pat: “Isn’t that a good thing?”
Pat Sr.: “No, you’re just up, up, up, up, I don’t know what that is. Are you taking the proper dosage of your medication?”
Pat: “Am I taking the right dose? Of course I am”
Pat Sr.: “Okay, are you taking maybe a little bit too many or something?”
Pat: “No, if I was taking that I’d be on the floor, dad.”

To me, this was an obvious movie to connect to, because I sat through the whole thing thinking, “Yea that’s like me.. No, that’s not like me.. Maybe that is me? Yea that’s a lot like me..”

But it’s the movies and media that I don’t need to think about that catch me.

I watched “Limitless” the other night with Matt, because it was another Bradley Cooper movie, AND Matt doesn’t like horror movies.  What I didn’t expect was how much I would relate to THIS movie.

Synopsis of Limitless: A writer discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities. (IMDb)

Weird, right?  I remember a part maybe a quarter of the way through saying, “That was me on benzos!” to Matt.

Ok, so I didn’t become incredibly intelligent like Cooper did in this movie, but when I was on them – I was a different person completely.  I really felt like I was invincible (invincible and in a zombie like state a lot of the time).  Don’t take this the wrong way – they have been the worst medication I have been on since being treated, but looking back on it now – I know I was the evil side of the doppelganger.  I did some really stupid things, mean things, and the worst part of it was – I didn’t remember most of it – until each person would come up to me and say, “listen, we need to talk – you’re a real dick!”.

See, Cooper had fallen into a rut with his writing career.  His place was a disaster, he was unkempt, and socially inept. (*coughDEPRESSIONcough* – but after running into an old acquaintance, and the introduction to this new drug – he bounces ten times higher than he ever was, accomplishing things he couldn’t do before (maaanic).  There’s one scene, right after he takes the pill, where he goes and completely over hauls his apartment.  That’s when I said, “yea, my place was never cleaner than when I was on benzos”.

I’m often told to think about the “positive” things I have accomplished while being sick, such as getting my degree and a diploma, challenging the artistic world more through photography – and for some reason, I always go back to how clean my apartment was.  It’s making me grin right now while I write this.

I know this blog comes outta nowhere, but it’s things like this – silly movies – that allow me to open back up the dark doors of the past and understand myself better.

Have you ever watched a movie, and it turn out to be your life?



P.S. Some recent shots from the great white north 🙂

DSCN4161-2 DSCN4114-3 DSCN4141-2

15 Mar

This explains things that I can’t put into words.

Manic Muses

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Albert Camus

Nobody realizes that some people must expend tremendous energy to merely appear normal.
Vivien Brunning

My bipolar disorder is a closely guarded secret.  I believe with all of my heart that I would not have been able to accomplish the professional achievements or maintained the personal relationships I have were I to wear my mental illness along with my heart on my sleeve   While my mother and my grandmother always taught me to be kind to the ‘slow’ person we would sometimes stop and chat with while walking on Park Avenue, I will never forget the looks and laughter from the meanies as they passed us by.  This was a valuable lesson for a six-year-old child.  It’s OK to be ‘different.’  There are kind people who will be compassionate towards you.  But, then there are those who…

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