Diagnosis

For most of my life, I was diagnosed as having some sort of depression. There were several variations over the years, but the common thread of them all was depression. As it happens, this wasn’t correct. The diagnosis has changed to Bipolar Disorder II. This has made a world of difference.

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Prozac, Starbucks, and Me

Near me is a sheltered care residence for the mentally ill. They don’t need to be confined, but they need help. My wanderings often take me past this melancholy place.

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Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive Therapy – “ECT” for short, often called “shock therapy” – the stuff of horror movies. Some demented doctor has his helpless patient dragged off to be cruelly shocked. It sounds terrible. In the movies it’s seen as torture; in my experience, it brought relief.

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Yet Another Hospitalization

When I felt suicidal, I called for help. I came to the hospital and was admitted to the psych floor. Once again I was on a locked ward because of depression. After all these years, after all the therapy and medications and efforts, I was still at a place where I needed to be confined.

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I Am *Not* Mentally Ill

Whenever someone says that in a movie, you just know this is going to end badly. I’m not trying to claim that I don’t have mental illness. Unfortunately, I do. However, I am rephrasing it slightly to focus on the person rather than the illness.

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Dream Crushers

I recently discovered free software on my laptop that would allow me to create music, videos, and images. I was excitedly telling a friend about it, explaining how I could record from a keyboard, add instruments, compose melodies, etc. As I waxed poetic, she said, “Or you could just get a CD.”

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Freud

When I began my therapeutic journey more than forty years ago, Freud was in vogue. My first therapy experience was psychoanalysis once a week, lying on an honest-to-God couch and free associating.

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Death March

I feel as though I’m on a death march – a long, grueling, weary march to an unknown destination, with no idea whether I can make it. In a death march, if you stop marching, you die. That’s what it feels like.

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I Am Mentally Ill

How’s that for a conversation stopper? The only way to top that is to announce that you have worms. People often get very nervous about mental illness. They think it means that a person is “crazy.”

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Elgin State Hospital

ISPI was a short-term facility. I hadn’t improved after four months, so I was sent to Elgin State Hospital. There was no limit here on how long you might be confined. Some patients had been here for decades.

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