Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • It’s pretty nondescript on the outside. It’s meant to be. You might even say the yellow cover makes it seem sunny. It’s meant to appear that way too. It’s small and compact and very portable.

    When I started…unraveling (a bit, just enough to need to do something about it), I went to see a therapist. My health insurance only allows a limited number of individual sessions, which is fine with me because I don’t really want a long term therapeutic relationship. Just a couple of meetings to get me back on track. No commitment. Strangers with benefits you might say. AA meetings for the recovering depressed.

    It turned out I was a bit more than a bit. Unfocused and unsure, I cried everyday and was angry all the time. My extreme anxiety was ambient, never localized, but always everywhere. After the cutting incident, I turned to pulling my hair out. And on those days when I wasn’t fully manic—talking fast and loud, feeling over-confident and caustic, finding more and more things to do—I would lay in bed paralyzed, convinced my dead brother was inside my head laughing at me.

    So I went to the therapist who recommended a psychiatric evaluation and an intensive outpatient program (for a moment I congratulated myself on being a regular goddamn Holden Caulfield). But in one of my manic modes I’d decided to start an Occupy free school that ran 4 days a week outdoors. So there was no way I could commit myself to committing myself. I would have to wait for the psych eval. But in the meantime, the therapist advised me to write down my feelings throughout each day. A weathervane. A seismograph. An orrery. I just called it The Crazy Book.

    For weeks I carried The Crazy Book in my back pocket and when I slept, it was on my nightstand just next to my cell phone. I was always careful to keep it nowhere the kids could find it. Not that they would have been able to read it anyway since my frenetic handwriting would have frustrated them both pretty quickly. I wrote in it religiously but as dispassionately as possible. This was simply a record, an index not an illustration. A photograph not a painting. I was going to report my findings to the psychiatrist when I finally saw her. And I panicked when I arrived at my appointment and I realized I’d left it at home.

    But I’d studied The Crazy Book enough to recount what had happened to me in the weeks prior. And once my mood was finally “stabilized,” I put The Crazy Book aside and decided to type instead of scribble.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.