13 Ways to Talk About 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why is everywhere, and I am still seeing people argue with school boards, mental health associations and suicide awareness centres over whether or not the show is *good*. No one claims it is not a good television series. It is also, however, socially irresponsible.

So, let’s stop arguing and find a way to help kids/people think critically about bullying and suicide. I humbly offer my suggestions below, and hope they give you somewhere to start. Continue reading “13 Ways to Talk About 13 Reasons Why”

Memories of a Bullied Nerd

I went to five (five!) different elementary schools ’cause we moved a lot, so I was always the new girl, the nerd girl, the cross-eyed girl, the steals-my-solo girl, the outsider, the weirdo, the freak. Because I’d skipped a grade and was born in October, I was also the youngest.

But I thought if I could somehow be better, the other kids wouldn’t be so mean. I was so f*cking naive. Big brain, not a clue.

Recess was torture. The schools were small, and the herd mentality was well established. In dodgeball, I wasn’t a target. I was a piñata. Not only would I be chosen last for a team, but the team that wound up with me would simply sit down and go on strike. The other team would be furious and taunt me until I just tiptoed away, crying.

I was nine. Continue reading “Memories of a Bullied Nerd”

How 13 Reasons Why Let Us All Down

HEY YOU: If you are having thoughts of suicide or are making plans to end your life, please call 1 (800) 273-TALK – or visit this website to chat online with someone who really can make things better: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org (US and Canada). I know they can help because I’ve called them before.

Everyone I know who has watched the hugely popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has been absorbed (and obsessed) with its intense storyline about a high school student who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tapes detailing how her life slid so far downhill.

Each tape names one of her tormentors and explains what they did to screw up her life.

** Spoilers ahead, and discussion that will probably upset sensitive readers ** Continue reading “How 13 Reasons Why Let Us All Down”

My 7-Day, Mexican, All-Inclusive, 5-day Vacation

How much I love to fly

My entire family just returned from a fantastic trip to a 5* resort in Mexico, where our every whim was catered to, no request was too outrageous, and no buffet was shown a shred of mercy. Twenty of any family would be loud and boisterous. This twenty of my family knows a lot about decibels and how to raise them, uncontrollable belly laughs and how to solicit them, and what it feels like to be part of a clan.

Being around them in large doses has always triggered my anxiety. So does flying. I’ve spent the last month working with the doctor and therapist on coping skills, including carrying around a bottle of sedatives to be taken four times a day. Or sometimes, four times an hour. Whatever gets ya through, right? Continue reading “My 7-Day, Mexican, All-Inclusive, 5-day Vacation”

AJ Lee: Bullshit is your Superpower

AJ Lee means nothing to me. I’m not a fan of melodramatic violence as entertainment, so I’ve never encountered her image or name before. But she does have a book coming out (Crazy is my Superpower, coincidentally). It is the story of her life from her perspective: she is bipolar. Not has, is.

These are words from her blog post announcing the arrival of her sure fire bestseller:

By Flickr user Starship PaintOne day I made the choice to stop throwing myself a pity party. I chose to stand up and fight… Continue reading “AJ Lee: Bullshit is your Superpower”

Yes, Bipolar is my Superpower

One recent afternoon, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a headline caught my eye. The summary indicated that the TV show Homeland should stop romanticizing the main character’s bipolar disorder, or treating it like some kind of superpower.

(There will more on Homeland, bipolar disorder and finding ignorance everywhere in my upcoming first podcast!)

I’d like to respectfully disagree with that opinion. I don’t watch the show, but I’ve read about its depiction of bipolar disorder. The fact is, I don’t know what defines the bipolar experience.

I know what defines MY bipolar experience.

And yes, #bipolarismysuperpower. It’s how I’m going to change the world. Continue reading “Yes, Bipolar is my Superpower”

Firecrackers and Accidental Overdoses

I used to believe that the phrase “accidental overdose” was used to protect families when someone commits suicide. Turns out, it’s really pretty easy. I’ve done it. Twice. It’s why I decided to approach my illness as a scientist, not a victim.

***

I could not sleep.

It had been days.

In the four years since my depression diagnosis, I’d been on dozens of medications. And still I was spiralling out of control. I had no idea that my affliction was actually bipolar disorder, and that most of the drugs I’d been taking were making things worse. Much, much worse.

I sat on the sofa in the front room, typing frantically to my online support group. The doctor had told me that the new medication would help me sleep. So, after three days without sleep, I took an extra dose. Two hours later, I took another dose. I became more and more wired. I took another dose, and waited to be knocked into oblivion.  Continue reading “Firecrackers and Accidental Overdoses”

A Fresh Start

When I decided to start my own business, I took my personal blog down.

I’d written deeply personal posts about my experiences with mental illness and was afraid that if a potential client saw them, they wouldn’t want to work with me.

More recently, I decided that I’d use whichever medium I could to become an advocate for the very thing I was so ashamed of.  Continue reading “A Fresh Start”