The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs

Laura Delano recognized that she was “excellent at everything, but it didn’t mean anything,” her doctor wrote. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Her father is related to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and her mother was introduced to society at a débutante ball at the Waldorf-Astoria. In eighth grade, in 1996, Laura was the class president—she ran on a platform of planting daffodils on the school’s grounds—and among the best squash players in the country. She was one of those rare proportional adolescents with a thriving social life. But she doubted whether she had a “real self underneath.”

The oldest of three sisters, Laura felt as if she were living two separate lives, one onstage and the other in the audience, reacting to an exhausting performance. She snapped at her mother, locked herself in her room, and talked about wanting to die. She had friends at school who cut themselves with razors, and she was intrigued by what seemed to be an act of defiance. She tried it, too. “The pain felt so real and raw and mine,” she said.

How I Overcame Bipolar II (And Saved My Own Life)

Age twenty-nine: I was standing by the fourth-story window of my rented flat in Buenos Aires, as I’d been doing for hours on end in recent days and months, staring sullenly at the ocean of sidewalk below, a seeming resting place of final peace with just a slight shift in weight. . .

Buenos Aires sounds to most people like a romantic vacation destination, but to me, it was a place of retreat, a sign on my failure, a last step, at the end of the earth, on the way to the end of my line.

I had taken a wrong turn somewhere in life, and after a long, winding road, I had finally hit a dead end, four stories up in an apartment overlooking the cracked sidewalks of the San Telmo neighborhood of one of the most storied cities in the world, and I was contemplating my final move.  more