Friday, September 29, 2006

Mood Watch - 20

The publication of “An Inappropriate Illness” generated a great deal of constructive online discussion. In addition to a number of attaboys from my colleagues in the history department, I also received about ten private emails from people around the country who knew of, or were themselves struggling with, a serious mood disorder.

The rough consensus in both the public comments and private emails was that disclosing the existence of a mood disorder or anything like it remained, even in academe, a risky thing to do. Thus I had people tell me how brave I was. I don’t know about that. I do know that some of the emails were so affecting that they moved me to tears. I felt honored to have been able to strike a blow, however modest, against the stigma that still imprisons too many people with mental illnesses behind walls of silence.

I have also been engaged over the past couple of days with a totally unrelated matter that has reinforced a sense that I can and am making a constructive difference. Thus, on the whole I’ve been feeling about as good as a man can feel. And the very best news is that I continue to sleep around six hours a night.

The only symptom I notice right now is a certain sense of feeling “scattered” — trying to keep track of two many things at once — and that seems less attributable to biochemistry than to how hectic the start of a new school year tends to be.

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