Monday, May 18, 2009

Antique fair

This weekend Chris (my boyfriend) and I went to an antique fair in Auburn. We had a lot of fun looking at vintage items - Chris even found a prescription for cocaine and heroin dating back to the post-WWI era! Since he is studying to be a high school history teacher, I encouraged him to consider getting this to show his future students, but he said it was too controversial...he was probably right.

I found a lovely basket of hand-dyed wool, unfortunately it wasn't spun into thread so I couldn't use it for one of my crochet projects. It did make a for a pretty picture though.

I love vintage china (but know little about it) and had to practice a great deal of restraint at the fair. There were so many lovely patterns to chose from, but since I don't have room in my tiny apartment for hardly anything else, I had to find a pattern sufficiently manly enough that Chris would keep it for me in his house. He was the one that spotted it - a set of 8 teacups and saucers from the Johnson Brothers Heritage Hall collection. I ended up paying $50.00 for it. Today I looked up the pattern on ebay, it's not that vintage or rare after all - I found several pieces selling for about the same price I paid, so I didn't get a bargain, but I did get an interesting set of teacups. (This morning I talked to Mom on the way home - she reminded my that I will be getting a set of Grandma's china, so I will have to restrain myself in the future.)

This was a good weekend for me, I had fun (but not too much fun) and was able to stay in the moment. Maybe I'm finally stabilizing's about time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coming out...

I just got off the phone with a reporter, Laura Vanderkam. She was from Scientific American. In high school I was a finalist in a prestigious science competition. Laura writes a column called "Where Are They Now" profiling former finalists in the competition.

During our conversation I talked extensively about my struggles with bipolar disorder and the effect it has had on my graduate career (it's going to take 7 years for me to graduate). I wanted to do this because I think that there is still a stigma associated with bipolar disorder. We have come a long way, but there's still further to go.

Particularly in the "publish or perish" world of academia, where you are expected to "pull yourself up by the bootstraps," such an illness can be seen as a weakness. In fact, after sharing my plans of pursuing an academic career, one of my committee members asked if I thought I could handle the pressure of academia given my "condition." Would this same question have been asked if I was diagnosed with cancer as apposed to a mental illness?

Although I say I want to be a champion of the cause of mental health awareness, it's very risky to do so at this stage in my career. I don't want to be branded as "the bipolar grad student," but rather want to be evaluated on the merit of my scientific accomplishments. I have already lost friends as a result of this disease, I don't want to lose my career too.

I should have thought of this before I gave the interview...but what is done is done and I can't take it back...I guess I will officially be "out" about having bipolar disorder, and now must deal with the consequences, whatever they may be.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The perfect little rose

I was wandering around my boyfriend's rose garden on Saturday morning when I came upon the perfect little red rose. The petals were a deep velvety red and it was just beginning to open up. Naturally, I photographed it from a variety of angles. This side view is my favorite. I have addedd it, and a picture from another perspective to my etsy shop (

My life has been in turmoil recently. In April I was entrenched in a deep depression and after a medication change, came out of the depression only to begin to rapidly cycle between mania and depression for the past two weeks. I was running out of could I keep living my life between these two extremes?

Then I found this little rose. It was hidden beneath two dying roses, just peeking out. I could have easily missed it. It's radiant beauty, deep, blood red color, and velvety soft petals temporarily pulled my attention away from myself and my misery, allowing me to marvel at Nature's grand design, complexity, and beauty. If something as perfect as this rose could exist, perhaps I too could find harmony and beauty in my life.

The next day I went back to look at the perfect little rose again. It was wilting, it's delicate petals burned by the intense sunlight. My moment of hope and clarity was over, the depression had returned...