An Interview with Olympian and Author Suzy Favor Hamilton

I am very excited to interview Suzy Favor Hamilton, a former Olympian who lives with bipolar disorder. She has been featured on multiple news shows, including 20/20. She is an amazing advocate, a really cool person, and it was nice to meet her. From her bio:
Fast Girl – A Life Spent Running From Madness is a New York Times Best Seller, and follows Suzy’s path from child phenom runner to Olympian, and then her struggles with life after running and an eventual year in Las Vegas as a high end escort. Once Suzy is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, her entire life makes sense and recovery to a life of contentment begins.
Let's jump right in! The questions and answers are unedited. Presented to you, the reader, exactly as Suzy saw and answered them. Information to purchase Suzy's book is at the bottom of this article.


Top 3 Things Every Psychiatric Practitioner Should Remember

As both a mental health patient and an advocate, I hear a lot of complaints from patients about providers. Each side sees things from their perspective and a power struggle often emerges.

There are many things I wish psychiatric practitioners understood about living with mental illness. Much of this, however, is taught in medical school and many practitioners do understand and incorporate into their practices. When discussing an entire profession, spread across an entire country, who work with a variety of different people, it is impossible to offer advice that benefits everyone.

That said, here are the top three things that every practitioner should keep in mind to help their patients achieve better results. If you are already doing them, thank you. If not, please consider adding them to your routine.


I Didn’t Choose to Have Bipolar Disorder

Let’s pretend for a moment that living with bipolar disorder isn’t life-sucking. Let’s pretend that having a chronic illness, going to medical appointments, and managing the day-to-day issues that bipolar disorder brings doesn’t take a daily toll. For the sake of argument, I’ll even remove fear, expenses, and emotional pain from the list of things bipolar brings into my life. Even if every last thing I just said was true, one thing that will never be true is this:


Why the Murphy Bill Gets it Wrong

There is a lot of talk in the mental health community about the Murphy Bill, or H.R. 2646, as it is officially known. This legislation is being touted as comprehensive legislation to help people with mental illness live better lives by changing laws and funding to ensure that people with mental illness have better access to services and the money to pay for them.

That would be fantastic – if it were true.


3 Things All Certified Peer Supporters Need to Know

I have been an official peer supporter (completed course work, passed the test for the state of Ohio) for almost a year. Before that, I was trained to facilitate support groups and teach certain courses, and before that, I was a volunteer for a mental health charity. I’ve been an unofficial peer supporter for many years, which is to say I used my lived experienced with bipolar disorder to help other people reach recovery.

Recently, while on Stigma Fighter’s...


My Mom Doesn’t Understand What it’s like to be Openly Bipolar

Every morning, on my drive to work, I call my mom. One might think this makes me a mama’s boy, but it’s more to stave off boredom than anything else. The conversations are generally limited to family gossip and the like, but recently, the subject of me living openly with bipolar disorder came up. I said, “It is very hard to live openly with bipolar disorder.”

My mom said, “I can’t even imagine what that must be like.”

Wait. What?


Crisis Counseling and Capes

Editor's Note: Please welcome a guest blog post by my dear friend, the superhero (who hates that word) Dynamistress. Learn more about her at the links at the end of the article. Thank you, Gabe.

As someone in the "hero" community, I'm often asked about the biggest fights I've been in or the worst injury I've received and so on. The extremes of what I do are always interesting to people. And I'll answer them, of course, to appease their curiosity. But then I'll tell them about something even more extreme and more brutal, in some ways. It surprises them for two reasons: 1) it involves a team of heroes that most people don't know I belong to, and 2) it has nothing to do with having superhuman abilities.


Thank You For Loving Me in Spite of Bipolar Disorder

This article is dedicated to my wife, Kendall. She loves all of me – bipolar disorder included. She and I will be married three years on August 22, 2015. She knew on our first date that I was living with mental illness and she showed up anyway. Call it a romantic story, call it love, you can even call it stupid, but she deserves a thank you note. Buckle up friends, it’s about to get sappy.