Interview Fifteen: Empty Nest Teacher

“…it’s fascinating to me that some people can talk about depression without having much stigma… Big, famous celebrities, actors and actresses, creative people and artists, writers… this is old hat. But what about professions that are academic, lawyers or business people… I think the stigma is different. And I don’t think there’s a lot of discussion in the academic world…”

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Interview Twelve: My Illness is My Responsibility

“I don’t want to be thought of as a victim, as this sufferer. I want to be thought of someone with agency. Should I define myself only in reference to my struggles? What does that signal to other people? I’m trying to grow and become stable enough to have functional relationships, so is talking about my mental illness signaling to others that I am dysfunctional, impacting my ability to have those relationships?”

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Interview Eleven: Safe Town, Unsafe Mind

Interview Eleven: Safe Town, Unsafe Mind

“When I’m in a manic state, it’s not really me. It’s like my brain is on Mars, and my body is having a parade to celebrate its absence. The things that you are interested in will be the things that inform your episodes… like, I’m interested in Greek philosophy, which is why I was running around like a cynic, like a dog, looking for Diogenes. That’s not something that I would do, but it’s like a character based on me. A cartoon version of myself. It’s like the source material for a play about my life.”

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Interview Ten: Battling With My Mind

Interview Ten: Battling With My Mind

“I would constantly think, ‘This is the worst thing that could happen to me. Nothing will get better.’ I still feel that same pressure… constantly… claustrophobic… or suffocated. You cannot move… like you’re in a casket. You cannot breathe. Oh… It’s always that same feeling.”

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Interview Eight: Psychedelic Psychosis

“I took a remote control with me for whatever reason… I was pressing buttons on it, and that was helping me. I was having all of these olfactory hallucinations. I was smelling bad breath, rosemary and ginger, mangoes… I ended up getting 302’d to the psych ward. I remember my first day in there, I was licking electricity sockets, because I couldn’t move unless I had electricity in me. I would literally sit still if I couldn’t reach the outlet in enough time.”

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Interview Seven: My Experience with Anxiety, Depression, Perseverance, and Hope

“I wish my symptoms were different. They’re pretty much out of my control now. The older I get, the less I can take, you know? I’m 38 now, so I can’t really take as much as I used to be able to take… Where I’m at now, it’s just humiliation… just too much misery. Every day I’m disabled… it adds up.”

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Interview Six: The Problem Child

Interview Six: The Problem Child

“Even when my childhood was good, I kept acting out. I would scream, kick, hit, spray air freshener in people’s faces… I would get really nasty. Pound on doors all night long, pull my hair, scratch my face… I would keep panicking until I couldn’t breathe… just sitting there wondering why I couldn’t stop panicking… when there was nothing wrong.”

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Business as Usual (While Drowning Inside)

Interview Three: Business as Usual (While Drowning Inside)

“I thought I was having a heart attack. The doctors told me there was nothing wrong, but I was so anxious that no rational thought made sense. I had them do more tests. They told me, ‘Cardiac arrest is rare in a 20-year-old. You’re fine.’ None of them ever mentioned stress or anxiety as a possibility for how I was feeling.”

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