Trump: Headed for bipolar meltdown?

trump-new-yorker-cover-10_10_16-400I’m thrilled that the Times Union in Albany ran my opinion piece on Donald Trump in today’s paper. When I wrote last week that I thought he might be heading for a bipolar diagnosis, I knew I was going out on a limb, but the events of the past few days have made me more certain than ever that I may very well be right.

If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the link to the article:

http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Trump-on-the-verge-of-bipolar-9958577.php

Trump’s obsessive tweeting in the wee hours of the morning about the former Miss Universe and her weight issues was what first got me pondering a possible diagnosis of bipolar disorder, because the behavior reminded me so much of my own escalation into a first full-blown episode of mania a couple of decades ago. I won’t rehash the article here, though I’ll post it in full a couple of days from now.

I missed last graham-nash-2015night’s Trump vs. Clinton debate, because I was busy ushering for a marvelous concert by Graham Nash—of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame—at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. It was a far more inspiring and uplifting way to spend a couple of hours, to be sure, but once I came home and heard my husband’s descriptions of the debate, then went to the Internet and watched some clips, I learned all about the thuggish stalking behavior Trump exhibited while Hillary was speaking, behavior many have described as frighteningly offensive.

Before becoming founder and President of ElderSource, Inc., the Licensed Home Care Services Agency I described in my article, I worked for 13 years as a creative arts therapist at Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie, a state mental hospital of the old-school variety that have long since been closed by supposedly well-meaning bureaucrats. There I worked on locked admissions wards as well as wards for the most seriously disturbed and often violent patients—the kinds of patients who are now more likely to be housed in prisons.

Among them were many who were diagnosed bipolar. They weren’t locked up because of their often fascinating delusions and grandiosity, but because psychiatrists had determined that they were a danger to themselves or others. In other words, they were either suicidal or violent. I’ll force myself to watch the debate in its entirety later tonight, but Trump’s body language, and especially his pacing around the confined space like a caged predator in a zoo, looming threateningly close to Clinton, suggests a psychological and physical state dangerously close to the edge. I can only hope he has his total meltdown before election day, and before his verbal  threats escalate to physical violence.

trump-cartoonThere’s much more I could say on this topic, but for now I’ll take a break to address my readers, both new and old. The Times Union published the link for this blog, so I’m hoping that will lure people who may not have visited before. If you’re a newbie, please click on the link in the column to the right and subscribe to my blog so that you’ll be notified of new posts. I promise you won’t be deluged with emails, because I post a maximum of two or three times a week.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]In that same column, you’ll find a list of categories. Click on Bipolar Mood Swings, and you’ll find lots of posts that touch on bipolar disorder, in both its manic and depressive aspects. And check out my novel Mood Swing: The Bipolar Murders, which is inspired by my own experiences with bipolar disorder, as a professional, an advocate and a consumer.

Lastly, please leave comments and spread the news about this blog to your friends. Thanks!

Panic at LarkFest: News not fit to print?

Edward Munch

Edward Munch

Two weeks ago I wrote this letter to the editor at the Times Union. I guess they’re not going to run it, so I’m hereby publishing it here:

As a lover of rock and jazz music for over five decades, I’ve been to countless concerts, most notably the Woodstock Festival in 1969. But never have I experienced the sheer panic that I felt at LarkFest, trapped and immobilized in the crowd near the main stage when Moby was playing.

The crowd was composed primarily of college-age, beer drinking youth, but I’m not complaining about them. Like the rest of the multi-racial, multi-generational crowd, the majority were friendly and well-behaved. Rather, I’m blaming the organizers who decided to book Moby and Bell X1, build a mammoth stage that blocked much of the street, and hold a free concert wedged in between row houses.  

As Moby began, I was part of the crowd shown in Michael P. Farrell’s photo, fairly near the stage. After half an hour the crowd was getting to me, so I decided to leave by making my way to State Street and over to Washington Park. On the sidewalk, people were pushing in both directions, but progress was almost nonexistent. Pinned in by strange bodies, shoved and jostled from all sides, I began to panic. “I’ve got to get out of here,” I called repeatedly to no avail. A woman heading south while I was trying to go north said, “Don’t go this way. It’s even worse up ahead – really dangerous.” So I turned around. During the eternity it took me to backtrack half a block, it occurred to me that I could actually die here, crushed by the mob. At last I made it to the next corner, where I could walk and breathe freely once more.

 

What if someone had started screaming, even pulled a knife or gun? The resultant stampede could have turned instantly to tragedy. I’m not saying the city shouldn’t book name bands for LarkFest, but they need better plans for crowd control. A simple solution: next year, move the main stage to Washington Park.

Why didn’t they run it? I’ll probably never know, but here’s my theory. LarkFest is an annual event sponsored by the Lark Street Business Association in conjunction with the city of Albany. It’s intended to lure people to Lark Street and promote its businesses. For those not familiar with the Capital Region, Lark Street is an attractive destination, with bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques. The newspaper’s follow-up stories, including a front-page feature and a music review, portrayed this event in the best possible light, with no mention of the potential danger, although there was a small “unrelated” story about a stabbing that took place near Washington Park when the crowd was breaking up.

So was this a deliberate cover-up decision designed to protect the neighborhood’s business interests? Or did some unpaid intern simply shuffle through that day’s letters and decide mine belonged in the circular file? Who knows? In any case, I’ll probably bypass the event next year.

Yesterday, in contrast, my husband and I strolled through a “Motorcycle Art” festival in downtown Schenectady en route to a “high tea” (a story in its own right). The street was full of bikes and bikers in full regalia, many drinking beer, but I felt safe and secure, even when I was on my own. The difference? It simply wasn’t as crowded.

My husband had a different reaction, though – having ridden motorcycles in the past, and being more sensitive to that world, he was acutely aware of which folks were serious “gang bangers” and which were simply ordinary folks doing a little weekend role playing and showing off their Harleys.

I’m way behind on new blog posts, so I want to get this one up today. Tomorrow maybe I’ll search out some more relevant graphics, but now I’m off to a free reading at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. Memoirs about travel, with wine and French cheese – decadent, maybe, but I deserve the respite after meeting my Web Con deadlines.