Poetry: Too Important To Be Left To The Sane

As an insecure, fear-driven youth I relied exclusively on intellect. Lacking faith in social institutions, other people, or myself, I steadfastly trusted my mind’s ability to predict and manage life’s challenges. It made for a chilly, detached existence I found satisfactory. “Poetry is far too important to be left to the sane.” Taz Mopula Manic […]

Straight Jackets Made Here

How is it that a culture able to conceive and create over 100 different types of toothpaste has managed to develop just one vision of the afterlife? Heaven: puffy clouds, harps, angels floating lazily. Hell: flames, smell of sulfur, pitchfork-wielding demons. Humanity really enjoys patting its collective back on the subject of inventiveness and creativity, but here, in […]

DSM-5 Challenges Sanity Definition

Most of us who wrestle with mental health issues also must confront feelings of low self-esteem. When we fully appreciate that we are not quite “normal” we may come to believe that we are “less than”. But that feeling does not last forever. For the most part we work hard to address our maladies and […]

Portrait Of The Artist As A Short Man

By the time I arrived in Philadelphia at age six I had already lived in three different countries and learned two very different languages. My writerly personality – detached, solitary, depressed, thoughtful, lonely, mercurial, disingenuous, acquiescent, analytical, misanthropic and insecure – was already well in place. Drug abuse, chronic isolation, and a rich assortment of […]

Stigma Is A Two-Way Street

As a long-term professional writer, I am very careful, and selective, about what I do and do not say. Like a spy, I know how to offer only the appearance of self-disclosure. As a mentally ill person moving incognito among “sane” citizens, one becomes a skillful actor. However, I am temporarily discarding this policy. Shamelessness […]

Self Medication

The first time I heard the term “self-medication” I laughed out loud. In searching for an analogy one thinks immediately of the old adage – the lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. But that’s when the stakes are low, going free or going to jail. How about when the stakes are […]

Shame On You

The earliest phases of recovery are characterized by denial; you try to distance yourself from the mental illness that has wreaked havoc in your life. Gradually you acknowledge the catastrophic messes you’ve made and claim ownership, your signature is unmistakable. The guilt you experience is not altogether unhealthy as it provides the foundation for action, […]

Suffering Judgment

When my daughter was young – say 12 – she was going through a rough patch with her friends involving bad-mouthing and backstabbing. I told her, “Honey, people will always talk about you and 95% of what they say will be wrong. You may as well get used it.”In the rooms they repeat this gem, […]