Thursday, January 14, 2010

A QNY Interview: Keith Adams Gets On With Life

By Father Tony

Keith Adams, briefly a New Yorker, is a fascinating blogger who has written an equally fascinating book entitled Broken Whole: a California tale of Craziness, Creativity and Chaos. His publisher describes Keith's book this way:

This violently colorful, devastatingly forthright recounting of the author’s search for self amidst the shards of mania, takes place almost exclusively over the course of the summer of the author’s forty-first year, set against the glittering background of the Corridor of Dreams – the swanky swathe of the West side of LA stretching from the Hollywood Hills to the boulevards of Beverly Hills. With its tale of luxury goods, spiritual discovery, thrust for glory, brilliant ideas, not so brilliant ideas, fist-fights, arrest by the LAPD, and, ultimately, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, it asks if the gleaming personality chained up by mood stabilizers is the real self, and, if it is not, is there any such thing as a real self?

Keith graciously answered my questions. Words and pictures, after the jump.

QNY: Do you think people are afraid of those who are bipolar?

KA: Mental illness is a big unknown to people, particularly  mania. Sometimes I’m talking to a stranger about my book, and I think that they’re expecting me to bite their nose off. I’m not immune to the fear: I’m wary about other people who are bipolar

QNY: Do you still have manic episodes?

KA: No, not since the first huge one. I don’t expect ever to have any more. You know, I really liked the person I became when I was manic: but he’s a dangerous fellow, and needs to be locked up. That’s what mood stabilizers do: I’ll be taking those suckers for the rest of my life.

QNY: How has writing this book helped you?

KA: It helped me find a true narrative to my life; things began to fit into place. Having written the book, I hope the busy work of publicizing it will add richer socialization in my daytimes (interviews etc.). I work at home as a software developer, and mostly have phone interactions with people who haven’t yet located the right side of their brains.

QNY: You are in a relationship with a man named Ben. Tell us about him. How does he feel about the book and your bipolar status?

KA: Benhur actually, though I call him Ben. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. He’s smart, loving, sexy and strong. Principal Investigator in his UCLA research lab (virology). He’s been very supportive about the book, and loves that I’m bipolar. Well, not the last bit, maybe! I don’t know how he stuck with me: I put him through hell.

QNY: Talk about doctors and medication and how you keep your balance and what the future looks like to you.

KA: I have a great psychiatrist. But my illness is purely organic, and I find I have nothing to say to therapists any more. The present is great, excepting depression, so I expect the future to be rosy. It depends on what day you ask. When you’re depressed it’s difficult to see the horizon, and depression is really the only thing in my life I have to be depressed about. Honestly, depression completely sucks. But you get on with life.

I told Keith that the parts of the book I liked best were those in which he simply describes his own actions and words without opining or assessing or judging or apologizing. At those points, his narrative races and gives us a clear glimpse into the way his mind works.

Keith Adams is a man with a story, and his having told it will help demythologize bipolar disorder and mania.

Broken Whole is a Kindle ebook published by Chipmunka Press.

(All photos supplied by Keith Adams)

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