Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Peers

Hello faithful blog readers,

I am not going to apologize for this lengthy absence because I have been having a wonderful and, in my opinion, well deserved vacation before starting medical school. However, I hope to write more in the upcoming months because I have a feeling that medical school will provide lots of fodder, both in terms of my own mental health management and exposure to mental health professionals and patients in the system.

Monday, October 29, 2012


**Note: This is my first post using Blogsy, an iPad app -- hopefully everything works OK!!**


This morning, I had to go to the doctor's office for a simple blood test. I was fasting and hadn't had any coffee so was a little on edge. The lab tech didn't help when she looked over my file and loudly asked, when was the last time you took your lithium?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three Years

For most of my adult life, I have been the least emotionally stable person in my interpersonal relationships. I have been the one struggling through physical and mental illness and undeniably, not always doing so in the most graceful and peaceable way. I have said unimaginably dramatic and cruel things to those I cared for and care for the most, I have complicated simple friendships, and I have raised the emotional stakes in almost every situation, no matter how benign. I shudder to remember my uncontrolled, raw emotions, my desperating coping mechanisms, and the despair and hopelessness I felt inside and unfortunately, transferred to my friends and family. This is not to say that no one ever mistreated me, or overreacted to something I did, or betrayed my trust, but simply that as part of my recovery, I started assuming that I was overreacting, emoting inappropriately, or creating drama for my own reasons. I did not start assuming this out of self loathing but out of pragmatism. I was usually correct, and approaching friends and family with humility, noting my weakness in this area, felt therapeutic, like admitting to a friend of mine who loves to ski that I am afraid of ski lifts. Over the past few years, my emotional health, distress tolerance, and quality of life have dramatically improved, and so have my relationships. As the former three have changed, my assumption feels less valid. Now, I am often the more emotionally healthy, balanced, or even reasonable person in a heated discussion, or perhaps most importantly, I am well trained and increasingly well practiced in using the appropriate skills to understand and manage my emotions. I am far from perfect, but I am closer to the middle of the pack then I have been for years.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Came This Way

NB: The first three embedded links below are better than my post. Click on them.

Six days later, I completed the first season of Homeland. I am proud and disgusted by this feat. This television show has inspired me to return to this blog and more importantly, to challenge myself to articulate the challenges, joys, and small moments of living successfully and (dare I say it) happily with a mood disorder. These adverbs have been a long time coming, which perhaps is what makes watching Homeland so empowering and vindicating. The Internet is full of haters who claim not to relate with Carrie Mathison (or, for that matter, with Mindy Kaling in her new sitcom, and this is awesome), but I empathize so fully with her that watching Homeland feels self-congratulatory at times. As a teenager, I felt a similar relief/elation/joy/inspiration when I first read "The Namesake" - when Lahiri wrote about the protagonist's wife, I felt that she could have been writing about me. I am self-aggrandizing enough to believe that if I keep writing, someday I can create a Moushimi, or a Carrie, or a Mindy that some bipolar or Indian or smart or chubby or Portland-born or outdoor loving or stubborn or confused or empathic young woman will hold close to and be comforted and think wow, that author knows me. I came this way, and she came this way, too.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Hello readers - sorry about the hiatus! I could apologize for it or make excuses, but I would rather move along and write about Homeland, the amazing Showtime drama that just won a couple Emmys and appears poised to help me ruin my GPA over the next nine weeks.

As I've previously discussed, mentally ill characters are often marginalized, ridiculed, grossly stereotyped or just plain mischaracterized in the name of entertainment (see: some, but not all, Law and Order characterizations, A Beautiful Mind, etc). I expected the main character to be overly moody, dramatic, and devastatingly broken and sexy and appealing because of her tragic flaws. I expected to feel weirdly guilty that my bipolar disorder isn't as beautiful, heartbreaking, and dependent as hers and also hugely defensive of the character and her ignored, omitted struggles. My expectations were wrong.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

...Or Don't Come to Class

In high school, I had a teacher or two who'd kick you out of class if you hadn't done the reading. If you hadn't put the work in, they implied, you wouldn't get much out of the lesson anyway and could actually hold your fellow students back.

There's a lot of emphasis on the mentally ill to do our homework. We're supposed to understand our diagnosis, our variable body chemistry, our medications and their effects, and of course, the effects that we have on those we love. Some of us don't take care of these things. It's not just side effects that cause our life expectancies to be 20-30 years shorter than everyone else's. But some of us do. Some of us try super hard, and sometimes we're met with an unexpected result.

Like the teacher who goes back to graduate school and struggles to turn his own assignments in on time, it can be difficult for our loved ones to appreciate that they have homework too. There's a certain type of perceived heroism in supporting someone who is mentally ill, in holding their hands, in wiping your tears away bravely. Some people feel that they are special or caring because they do this, and they probably are. And (see those skills there) they  have homework too. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


Hello dear blog - it's been too long. To be honest, I've had moments when I've wanted to write, and incidents that I've wanted to discuss, but somehow the two haven't come together appropriately. This week, I couldn't stop thinking about two communications.