“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”

I’m writing this morning to share a little bit more about my recent hospitalization, my resignation from classroom teaching, and my dancing-around-the-issue label of “chronic health issues”. I hope you’ll understand I’m mainly sharing this because I’m desperate for other folks to be equipped if they ever have to deal with a similar situation.

Back in February, I was briefly hospitalized for a manic episode (props tSiobhan Chan for her kindness). In a diagnosis that is no surprise to anyone, least of all me, it seems I have Bipolar I disorder. I tweaked my meds (I’ve been on Prozac for years, so we added in a mood stabilizer), and thought the worst was over.

A few weeks ago, I broke with reality and on Good Friday, Toby McKes took me to the emergency room again. I lost three days to effed up dreams, and when I woke, I learned I had been involuntarily transferred to Fairfax, a private hospital. (More on that later; Toby and I are planning to write a series of pieces around navigating mental health care in Seattle.)

On the positive side I received tremendous care from the folks at Sound Mental Health, Seattle Counseling Service, ABH Seattle, and Kristin Andrews at the Polyclinic. My experience in the emergency room (“Now which patient are you?”) was scary, and Fairfax was frankly, the stuff of nightmares, but I’m encouraged by folks working tirelessly within a broken system.

Again, I’m nervous about going all “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (my favorite book in HS) on you all, but I’m hopeful that sharing my story will not be perceived as grandstanding, but will instead be useful to others. Here’s the information to Seattle Counseling Services, if you’re looking for someone to reach out to.

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