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A Piece of My Mind
January 13, 2015

Take a Look at Me Now

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai St Luke’s/Mount Sinai Roosevelt, New York, New York
JAMA. 2015;313(2):137-138. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15774

The somber holiday weekend ended with an early-morning ambulance ride down sleepy city streets toward an imposing concrete building. As the vehicle jostled my body to and fro, I tried to summon the energy to curse the psychiatrist whose signature ultimately sealed my fate—a hospital admission to protect me from myself—but was exhausted from the mixed episode in which I had been drowning for the last three days. I had been speaking much too rapidly (even for my normally quick tongue) and sleeping far too little to explain my body’s unrelenting state of hyperarousal. I was so agitated and irritable that even my parents avoided me lest I snap at them for no good reason. As my mood shattered into a thousand pieces, leaving me numb and questioning life, I begrudgingly accepted that I needed help. For ten days of intense cognitive behavioral group therapy, I avoided the dilemma posed by simultaneously being a young health care professional and a person with bipolar disorder by pretending to be someone else entirely. However, upon my release, I could no longer hide—returning to my everyday world would mean constantly being judged as two diametrically opposed forces.