About

Call me DeeDee. You can also call me Dr. Chickadee – I have a PhD in Smartypants Stuff* – but also ADD and an endocrine disorder that mimics a mood disorder, turning a life-less-ordinary into something even more interesting.

Since I started this blog in September 2011, my diagnoses have included Bipolar Disorder II, Anxiety Disorder NOS, Major Depressive Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and ADHD – and those are just the ones I know about! Most of those diagnoses were flat-out wrong. I take a combination of medications and use other wellness strategies to stay as stable as I can. I do pretty well most of the time, and I am grateful to be so fortunate.

I really would like to tell you who I am “in real life.” Unfortunately, I’m not comfortable being fully open about my mental health in connection with my IRL identity just yet. Plus I like being frank, and that’s far easier to do under a nom de plume, regardless of the topic of the text.

Photography on this blog is my own (and I retain all copyright to the images), unless credited otherwise. All other content on this blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license – please inquire for permissions, with which I’m generous. I also write for A Canvas of the Minds, a premier collaborative mental health blog – check ‘em out!

Credit for the awesome “Out of My Tree” tagline goes to Jen of Sips of Jen and Tonic, who won my blog contest with her clever wit.

* Since I know you’re going to ask, it’s “Information Science & Technology.”

67 thoughts on “About”

  1. It is great to see you at WordPress! There is absolutely no need for apologies in regards to anonymity. The greater majority of mental health bloggers are anonymous. There’s a serious gradient though. I have posted obscured, artsy pictures of myself because I am sure that only the people who really know me would be able to positively identify me. Others go to great lengths to protect any personal information – age, real name, location, etc. I once wrote something to the effect of, “I live in Allegheny County, population 1.3mil. Come and get me.” But, that’s the major advantage of living in a major metropolitan area.

    I look forward to reading!

    • Thanks! I doubt anyone in my “real life” would find this without my telling them about it, and I’d be more worried about that than some random stalker-y type coming to get me.

      But the almighty power of web searching is the biggest reason for anonymity. My future employers will Google me, and I don’t want mental health issues popping up when they do…

  2. I am anonymous too for the same reason – career aspirations. Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I enjoy reading yours :)

    • You have a really interesting blog too – I love well-written prose. :)

      I really like that the anonymity is about career aspirations, because it points out that we have them and can be productive members of society. All too often the attention goes to the dramatic cases where people can’t really function at all, and while my heart goes out to those people, it doesn’t help with the public perception that the mentally ill are a burden and not a benefit to the rest of the world. I think we have a lot to contribute.

      The stigma part of it is something else, of course. I think I have a blog post brewing on that topic…

  3. I love your blog. I think it’s very prudent not to put your name on your blog. I thought I had done that- and I found out I totally didn’t.

    It has hurt me. I can’t undo it, my blog is too old now, but if I could re-do it, I would have done it differently.

  4. Thank you :) You are too kind!!

    I am completely with you on what you said about public perception. I want people to know that we can and do contribute, and that just because we happen to have a mental illness, it doesn’t mean we’re nut-jobs. I know plenty of people who don’t have mental illnesses who are more insane than I am. Yet there is this idea out there that if you have a mental illness you’re a freakin weirdo. I feel for those who really cannot function, for whatever reason, and it’s a shame that they themselves seem to shoulder the blame when in some circumstances we really just do not have control.

    I think the world just needs a whole lot more compassion!

  5. I’m like you in that I write anonymously because I worry about how it would impact my career. I think it’s very sad that we all feel that way. I work with people who are way crazier than I am but if it were to get out that I have a diagnosis… well, you understand.

    I wanted you to know that I nominated you for some awards including the Versatile Blogger, Liebster Blog, and the Blog for Mental Health 2012 challenge, which I see you are already doing.

    • Thanks, MM! I appreciate the awards – it’s meaningful. :)

      It is truly sad that this diagnosis is so taboo. When I thought it was “just depression” I had no problem telling people about that. It seems that most people around me get it well enough not to judge based on that – they all know people who are depressed and take medications and so on. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal these days, especially among people of my generation.

      But when the label was switched to bipolar, it became a different story. I knew that others didn’t have enough experience with or understanding of the illness to be able to see past the diagnosis and keep in mind that I’m the same person I’ve always been. A few people that I’ve told so far have been really great and understanding, and I think it has a lot to do with the type of people I’m surrounded by. But I’m also very careful about whom I “come out” to as it only seems prudent.

  6. Hello, almost-Dr.-Chickadee! I admire your straight-ahead engagement with your diagnoses. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to come out of the closet, without fear of trashing our careers. Mine is already in past tense, so I have no qualms about revealing my identity. Looking forward to reading your posts.

    • Once I get tenure, the world can know the truth. ;)

      Actually, you can get sacked even with tenure. The dean or department chair just has to show that you’re not meeting expectations of your position, and they can manufacture conditions that make it impossible to meet expectations. An environment like that, however, is not likely to be a place I’d stick around for very long anyway.

      I don’t have a problem with diagnoses that seem to fit, explain my past, and have provided me access to treatments that really help me. Arguing something so logical and self-evident seems silly to me – but I do tend towards rationality, at least when I’m sane enough!

  7. I also choose to blog anonymously. At least, I hope it’s anonymous! Interestingly, I do have people in my profession that know about my diagnosis – unavoidable given that I displayed very evident signs in the workplace. Luckily for me the people didn’t treat me differently to my face. As to what was said behind my back…..rather not know! I do know of one person’s opinion and am thankful I haven’t seen her since finding out.

    God luck in becoming a Dr!

    • Yeah, I’ve disclosed my condition to a few close colleagues. They’re actually all the more supportive for it, but don’t really treat me any differently either. The reaction is typically, “Oh, that explains so much!” I’m lucky to be around people who are intelligent, educated, and willing to take evidence into consideration before passing judgment. I think it goes with the territory, to some degree, but I know it’s not a universal experience.

      I’m glad to hear you aren’t treated differently for it. I was beginning to wonder if my experiences were unique, or if I am just deluding myself!

      • The irony is that the person who does think differently about me since the diagnosis is someone who has a physical illness that can interfere with their work (ie in terms of taking a week off when the illness – whatever it is – has been aggravated by stress). You’d think she’d get it……!

        I also think the profession I am in helps. Although, I still do hear some rather ignorant opinions being expressed about mental illness in general. I do some internal eye-rolling at times!

        How much longer until you get your PhD?

      • 2 months and counting until the defense, about 3 months until degree conferral if I can get all my revisions wrapped up very quickly. Here’s hoping!

  8. First, your header is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all day. I award you the (totally arbitrary since I just made it up) Seal Of Beautiful Headers.
    Secondly, you write real pretty. Consider me a subscriber.

    • Thanks! The header took awhile to concoct. I found an awesome image, remixed it to make the chickadee look tweaked, and then did many, many copy-paste-resize maneuvers. The authorial voice took much, much longer to develop. :)

    • clownonfire said:

      I agree with you Sara. Dee Dee’s writing is pretty.

  9. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award: http://themirthofdespair.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/liebster-and-versatile-blog-awards-round-2/

    • Thanks, fracturedangel! I rearranged my regularly scheduled posts so the “acceptance” post is queued up for tomorrow. :)

      • You have regularly scheduled posts, huh? I’m impressed with such efficiency! I just write whatever randomly comes to mind.

      • Well, not exactly…

        I write blog posts as breaks from dissertation writing (sick, I know!) and then queue them up. Whenever an idea comes to mind, I start a draft. Whenever I get a writing bug, I either whip it up then, or flesh out one of the drafts.

        Efficient? Perhaps, but that’s how I roll. :D

  10. I completely respect your decision to keep your disorder a secret. On & off since out of high school I’ve worked in professional establishments. So I am only too familiar with just how judgmental, catty and cruel some co-workers can be. I can’t even imagine how terrible it would’ve been if those ladies would’ve learned that I suffered from Bipolar Disorder. Those same co-workers would’ve had a ball spreading the news to the rest of the company. Good call!

    • So far, so good with the few professional colleagues I’ve told, but I tend to keep it quiet. Especially so in the case of a tell-all blog. :)

      • Yesterday during my appt with my Psychiatrist (he only deals with medications and does not counsel) my Blog came up. To my shock he asked if I’d mind him reading it! Now who would’ve guessed my Psych would even consider reading my lonely blog!. Unfortunately his pratice is mentioned in my blog but not by name. Now I hope I don’t hold anything back knowing my doctor will be reading it!
        My point: be very careful who you tell about your blog because you never know who may want to read it!

      • Oh, that’s a very good point!

        I mentioned my blog to my therapist just the other day. He’s really not an Internet user type, so I’m not so worried that he’d go looking it up. And I use pseudonyms for pretty much everything, but it wouldn’t be too hard to figure some of it out if you had a little context – like a psych or therapist would.

        That’s pretty awesome that you have a doc that would be interested in reading your blog. I wouldn’t mind finding someone that invested in patient care.

  11. Hey, Chickadee,
    Just wanted to thank you for visiting my site and following. Much luck in your studies and pursuits.

  12. Birds can play tag, right? You’re it! This Time, I’ll Play (Part Two) | I Was Just Thinking. . . :)

  13. boldkevin said:

    Hi,

    My name is Kevin and I run the Mental Health Writers’ Guild and blog (among other ones) and was recently contacted by Candida who sid that she felt that your blog would be great for inclusion in the Guild’s membership and that she had already talked to you about it.

    Having had a chance to check out your blog I totally agree with her and so have today added your name to the Guild Members list (http://mentalhealthwritersguild.wordpress.com/guild-members/).

    Please feel free to visit that page and to copy the members logo and to display it on your blog as you see fit.

    Additionally please feel free to check out the blog’s pages. There is an award that is available for Guild Members to give out if someone’s blog inspires them and I have just recently announced a competition which as a Guild Member you are more than welcome to participate it.

    Should you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.

    Great that you are a member.

    Kind Regards,

    Kevin

  14. Tag! You’re it! I got tagged and now I have to tag three people. My questions for you guys are in my “Tagged! I’m It!” post.

    Though I know this is breaking the rules, this meme seems to have hit everyone else a million times — it’s fun to answer the questions, but it’s also time-consuming — and I don’t want to add a burden to anyone’s plate, so anyone I’ve tagged can opt out of my round if they so choose, no questions, no hard feelings.

  15. I know you don’t usually like to respond to these things, but I nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award: http://themirthofdespair.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/reader-appreciation-award/

  16. Hi there, DeeDee! I’ve just nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award. :) You can read more about it here if you’d like: http://mybipolarbubble.com/2012/06/16/i-thank-you/. Please don’t feel you need to accept it if you don’t want to. No hard feelings if you don’t. I just wanted to nominate you ’cause I love your blog and think you deserve it. :)

  17. I nominated you for the Outstanding Blogger Award: http://themirthofdespair.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/awards/

  18. Hi DeeDee, I’ve nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

    http://mybipolarbubble.com/2012/08/05/seven-very-inspiring-things-about-the-sisterhood/

  19. Thanks for liking my haiku post.

  20. A PHD in smarty pants stuff? Wow. I have two Masters Degrees in Like We Care stuff, but somehow they don’t add up to a doctorate. Also, no one calls me master, which hardly seems fair.

    I’m enjoying checking out your blog. Good luck with everything.

    • Mr. Chickadee has 2 MS degrees too, and yeah, they don’t add up to a PhD. I have an MS myself, and it’s nothing like a PhD. Even two MS degrees back-to-back would be a walk in the park by comparison. My memory is fresh enough to assert that. ;)

      I don’t get called doctor very often at all. But last time I went to the oral surgeon, they said: “Dr. Chickadee, the doctor is ready for you.” I almost giggled.

      • Oh, I can imagine! There were some who wanted to go on for doctorates and I was like, yeah, I don’t want one of those stupid beanies for the ceremony then. Where’s my frickin crown, buddy? Lol. The way I even got those degrees is such a goofy run around mess anyway.

        What is your PHD in, if you don’t mind saying?

      • Hey, I was pretty proud of my silly looking tam!

        My PhD is in Information Science & Technology. As if anyone know what that really means – but perhaps it’s better that way. ;)

  21. I look forward to reading more..was diagnosed at 50 with bipolar II after 45 years of wondering why I was so messed up- out-of-step…

    • You have my sympathies, westseven……I was dx’d at 53, but have probably been bipolar since I was a child. It’s been a battle to accept the diagnosis, but knowing my issues have a name is also something of a relief because it explains so much about me, even to me. :-)

  22. Good on you. Keep up the fine work. It’s people like you who make it all a little less stigmatised. I believe that a mental health checkup is equal to a physical health checkup. No part of the body is less or more important than the other; or anything for people to be ashamed of. However, I do understand you anonymity, and kudos to you for being such a brave soul by sharing your story.

    Cheers
    Miche

    • Thanks, Miche! It’s easier to be fully honest when my IRL name isn’t attached to what I write, and I can (now) admit to a bit more paranoia than the average bear.

      I’m still working on accepting that I really am bipolar, despite the blatant supporting evidence, which also makes me resistant to putting my identity out there. That delusional hope that maybe it’s all a mistake… Alas.

  23. Hey, it’s a pleasure to “meet” you, Dr. Chickadee. :) I applaud your courage, plain and simple. Years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder + BPD (and a collection of other things). I was told that I would need medication for the rest of my life. (Was locked up in the psyche ward a handful of times- mute, and catatonic.) I had to relearn everything. I took my broken pieces and glued myself together- today I am a Behavioral Sciences student, published children’s book author and photographer.

    Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do great things! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are “crazy”. No. You simply have more colours in your rainbow. Embrace it. ;)

    Again, pleasure to meet you! And have a great Christmas. xo

    • Thanks! More colors in my rainbow – I like that. And I agree; it’s like I extend into the ultraviolet and infrared ranges, to abuse the metaphor. It’s definitely a different perspective, in any case!

  24. Good luck. I’ve had my diagnosis so long, all the important people know. I’m still working out the career impact, but right now I have a stable lovely job. You’re doing a brave thing talking about it, who cares if we know who you are. Congrats on your disclosure part one and all the luck in the world for part two. You’re going to be great at this.

    • Thanks! I figure in a few years, it won’t matter for one reason or another. But for right now – looking for my first “real” career job next year – mum’s the word.

  25. Hi Dee Dee: I read your blog on coming out as BP; I think what you did was courageous! I’m BP1, and I think that each time we publicly share our MI with others that it makes it a little harder to stigmatize us. It’s a very real and necessary part of our healing, recovery and wellness. It also sounds like you got pretty good feedback from your supervisor.

    I’ve always felt a lot of shame around it, but when I went through a certification process here in Austin, TX with people who were all in recovery from the Psyche. Dx, it affirmed that I could do the same thing. During the training I began to feel some of my chains drop off–it was a feeling of opening, freedom and liberation from both my past and present life dealing with depression, anxiety, BP, and substance abuse.

    I feel very strongly that lacking accurate knowledge, as well as fear, are some of the causes of stigmatization which also keeps people people perpetuating the stigma. Your story really grabbed my attention.

    Thanks again, Christopher Bear-Beam

  26. I am very glad I ran across your blog. I hope it is OK that I posted a link to your site on my website (moodsurfing.com). I thought that your post on “coming out” about bipolar was very well written. The topic of whether or not to tell, and what to tell, and to whom, is one of the topics that has generated the most interest on our site.

    As a psychiatrist working with people with bipolar, I am aware of the potential pitfalls of telling others, most especially because what you think you are telling someone (I have problems with depression and periods of being energized) is sometimes not what they are hearing (she is a crazy person). So telling or not is in part about assessing whether the person you are telling has even a basic understanding of what you mean.

    On the other hand, I know that every person who does “come out” about bipolar makes the world a better place by standing up to the corrosive effects of stigma.

    Thanks for your courage and for your blog.

  27. Are you familiar with Binghamton, New York?

  28. Hi DeeDee,

    Looking at the comments, I can see your honesty in writing this blog has helped a lot of people. I also think it is helping you by expressing exactly what you are feeling and what is happening in your life. Not knowing your real name doesn’t make it any less real, I can see why you aren’t ready for the whole world to know.
    I’ve had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 42 years, most people know it is not contagious or make me hard to understand. However, they also don’t expect much from me because of some deformity in my joints and not as much energy as I would like. I’ve been writing my blog for over 2 years and the writing really helps me, plus I hope it is of use to others.

    Keep on writing your truth, it is important to you and the other people who read your blog.

    • Thanks for your support, Lee, and my sympathies on the RA. I’m glad the writing helps you – it’s definitely very therapeutic for me too.

  29. So I know you know about the launch of Blog For Mental Health 2013 over on Canvas, and I also know you have a lot going on right now, and should take things bit by bit. But this is my official comment letting you know I’ve pledged you. Write about it when you feel up to it, if and when you want to. Love ~

  30. melissajplum said:

    I nominated you for the Inspiring Blogger Award!

  31. Laura SQ said:

    I seriously love you already. I get the anonymity thing. Bookmarking this blog immediately.

  32. Hello. My name is Tony and I also have Bipolar (but I only have a Master’s and I’ve never been Freshly Pressed – he says, green with envy).

    I have nominated you for award, mainly because I like what you are doing here and would like to invite you to my neighborhood, over here –

    http://writingforfoodinindy.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/in-which-i-accept-an-award-i-cant-repeat-because-it-is-filled-with-meaningless-slang-i-abhor/

    If you choose to play along, great. If not, just keep up the good work. Go about your business. Pretend like I was just a psychotic intrusion.

    • Thanks! Sentiment appreciated.

      You know, you’ll have a higher lifetime income for having stopped with a Master’s. :)

      • Would that were true! The statistics may show that, but I tend to defy the odds and consistently perform below expectations.

        Still, I’m grateful that though my education hasn’t improved my net worth, I am safely ensconced within the “Intelligentsia” class (with all the benefits that includes).

  33. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at UCLA mood disorder clinic in 2010 (age 38). Lamictal was added to my daily medications and was told to go to DBT. Unfortunately the first handful of DBT groups I contacted told me they were not accepting new members. In 2012 I started DBT and completed a year of learning and applying all the skills and coping techniques. Due to possibility needing to start looking for a new job (merger) I have regressed and re-enrolled in DBT.
    I came across your site while researching DBT skills last week. I have never been upset when it’s 5pm on a Friday and time to leave work, but I was so enthralled in reading your blog I didn’t want to stop! I’m reading from the beginning and now at your March 2012 entries. I see in your “about” page you mention you have the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder but you have not mentioned it in the blog thus far. I’m assuming you will discuss in the upcoming blog entries I haven’t read yet. I can relate so well to your frustration of medications, therapists, psychiatrists, etc. I ‘get it’ and reading your blog is validating and makes me feel not as alone and understood.
    You mentioned a Bi-polar forum you had joined that gave you an outlet and support of others with same diagnosis. Could you recommend a borderline personality forum?

    Thank you!

    • The short answer is, I’ve been diagnosed with a lot of things that I don’t actually have–including both bipolar and borderline.

      The forums I used to haunt were on psychcentral.net – pretty good community there overall.

  34. kkdancer2014 said:

    Where do you live? If you live in California message me and I’ll give you doc’s info. She’s a Chinese Medical doc (I know you’ve tried- but she is different. Trust me). My PMDD episodes are gradually improving each month. Good luck either way.

  35. Hi DeeDee, I’ve read your article on medication sensitivity and would love to find someone locally who can run these tests but I’m hitting a brick wall. Docs and hospitals around here don’t seem to know anything about them, how to order them, how to read the results if they were to order them. (I don’t even understand that last one, seems like the lab would give results even the patient could understand but maybe I’m wrong.) Any words of wisdom? Thanks!

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