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Dear Dad,  On your birthday, and on every day, you should know how appreciated and loved you are. I am your daughter that was shy, was afraid of strangers, had separation anxiety from Mom (from what I hear), and was afraid of my own shadow. I played it safe and didn’t take risks. I tried not to be trouble. You worked long hours and...
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Dear Friend (On Your Birthday), We met almost 17 years ago, we dated in Grade 10, we had fun while it lasted (all of 6 or 7 months), and went through the “awkward” phase were we couldn’t be friends because “exes” weren’t friends in high school. But, that didn’t stop us for long. We didn’t realize it right then and there, but we built what we...
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A good support system can mean the difference between living a possibly comfortable life and suffering alone without help. We who suffer know that support is important, but so many people just don't have access to acceptable support or even a partial support situation. It is such a shame to see people who don't even have familial support, let...
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Have you ever cheated on your best friend? Have you ever betrayed the trust of someone you cared about more deeply than yourself? How did it feel? For me, it felt like my entire world collapsed around me. My husband — my best friend — no longer trusts me. I broke my marriage apart and now I need to pick up the pieces.  Bipolar mania comes in...
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This year my psychiatrist changed my initial diagnosis of severe depression to Bipolar II Disorder. For a moment I felt like my world had stopped spinning. I felt lost and betrayed because I did not know what this new diagnosis meant for me. For days I lived in denial and refused to accept it. However, a few weeks away from home taught me the...
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Until I was 16, I thought that my uncle had died of cancer rather than suicide. There was always a dark joke in the family that we have a history of mental illness in our lineage. There is the distant cousin who lived in a tiger cage because, well, he thought he was a tiger. My beloved older brother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when...
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Your buttocks are cold and aching because you’ve been pressing them for too long against those filthy concrete steps on the hallway, in front of the elevator. There are cigarette stumps and ashes all over the place, but that does not bother you in the least. You’re happy that human transit is sparse on the 4th floor, though you hear the elevator...
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I recently planned my Drug Treatment Court Graduation. In July I will successfully graduate; the courtroom will be full of my guests and other participants. Each member of the seven panel treatment team — including the judge — will take time to give me accolades, followed by a recess in court so that everyone in attendance can congratulate me...
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Thanks For The Memories

June 13, 2016
Memories are maybe our most precious commodity. And I mean that they are a one-time deal; once we lose them we cannot get them back. That is the worst part about memories. But they also ground us, they give us direction by showing us where we have been, they allow us to hold on to things, search for things, identify with things, and desire for...
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No one ever sat me down and told me I had bipolar disorder. I can only imagine that some people indeed have this sort of experience. A person might see a clinician, tell them what’s wrong, answer some questions, and maybe fill out a test before learning they have a mental illness, but that just wasn’t how it happened for me. I went psychotic...
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Don’t let your symptoms define you. You are not your illness. When you are sick, in a manic phase, you may be angry, irritable, grandiose, a chatterbox. When you are depressed, you may be hopeless, even suicidal, totally fatigued, anxious, withdrawn and perhaps even morose. When you/I are exhibiting these extreme behaviors and emotions, it is time...
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Torn Between Realities

June 8, 2016

Lauren Gann

This was written during a manic episode when the author was experiencing psychosis and was hospitalized. It contains adult language which may be triggering to some readers. I awaken. I hear hospital noises. I feel aloof but in control. Why am I here? What is my purpose in this place? Suddenly it looks so familiar. I am in a Florida hospital;...
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