Hyphen: Fighting Back (Interview by Abigail Licad)

In the last decade, memoirs about personal experience with mental illness have proliferated and evolved as a new genre. While many of these memoirs have been self-published, a chosen few have been baked by major publishing houses and made widely available. However, these are largely written by upper middle-class white women. At press time, Melody Moezzi's Haldol and Hyacinths (Avery, 2014) is the only memoir about surviving bipolar disorder written by a woman of color and released by a major publishing house.

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The Daily Beast: One Woman’s Battle With Bipolar Disorder (Haldol and Hyacinths Excerpt)

United by helplessness, fear, fragility and common enemies, the Cottage E residents of November 2005 weren’t much different from those in myriad other residential psychiatric facilities across the country. We were, however, quite extraordinary as compared to our “normal” counterparts on the outside. There was Compass (I never learned her real name), a middleaged schizophrenic teacher who’d stabbed herself in the jugular with, you guessed it, a compass. To her, I recommended dickies, turtlenecks and antipsychotics

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Parabola: Coming Clean (War on Error excerpt)

I was eating an empanada and waiting for my clothes to dry at a local laundromat not far from my apartment shortly after the owners of the nearby convenience store had chosen to temporarily shut it down when María, who had worked at the laundromat since I’d been there and with whom I’d developed a camaraderie, started talking about how happy she was that the two brothers who owned that convenience store had been forced to shut down. She told me that she should have known better than to have ever bought even a stick of gum from those disgusting Arabs. Then she told me that we were lucky that we had a glorious, civilized, Catholic culture that helped us stick together and succeed. I told her that I liked the brothers and that I used to watch soccer games in the back of the store with them because they had satellite. Then she asked me why the hell I did that given all they ever watched were all the Middle Eastern countries’ matches. I had told her twice before that I was Iranian, and it now became clear to me that she either had no idea where Iran was or that she wasn’t listening to me. “María,” I told her, with tears running down my face by that point, “Soy iraní. Soy casi árabe, y soy musulmana.” I threw the remainder of my empanada at her and I ran home, leaving my laundry to fend for itself.

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