Do … And the minute I started investigating it, it was like this miracle drug. Lowe notes mental illness is still associated with social stigma despite affecting tens of millions of Americans. Jaime Lowe. JAIME LOWE: So, I still experience the highs and lows in life, in a pretty hyperbolic form, even with lithium. JAIME LOWE: Well, it started a little bit before that, because I was cycling, and so I was pretty much—. Lowe is the author of Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan. You don’t have—, AMY GOODMAN: But even the psychiatrists who work in clinics—, AMY GOODMAN: —are not given the time to actually talk to their patients. Lowe did a ton of research to find out where families vacation in countries around the globe. It May Soon Get Even Worse, Would You Patent the Sun? According to the American Psychiatric Association, bipolar disorders are, quote, “brain disorders that cause changes in a person’s mood, energy and ability to function.” Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression. Like, I have always been the center of all of my own terrible, explosive, you know, awful episodes. But there were these like small parts of it that didn’t work, and among them was like people dying. JAIME LOWE: So, I—that was what basically brought on this book, is that I had realized that I had this almost love affair with lithium, like this relationship with lithium, that it really helped me function for two decades in a way that I never would have had, and that the minute that I had this physical like reminder that it wasn’t actually 100 percent good for me or that it was, you know, eating away at my kidneys—which is not a technical term—that I had to know more about it. So how do you want those family members to respond to you? And I think that’s why a lot of times they’re kind of like woven in together, where you’re trying to self-medicate with either, you know, drugs or booze or whatever. And I ended up taking another medication, Tegretol, which then, it turned out, was toxic for my liver, which was a like sort of a random thing that my general practitioner found at a routine physical, thank goodness, or not, whatever. Like there’s no money to be made. You know, two men died this year who were inmate firefighters. And I think that the thing with alcoholism and drug abuse is that you are essentially instigating and being out of control and being a different person than who you preternaturally are without those substances. I don’t—like I haven’t—the courage part didn’t really even occur to me, because I don’t—I’ve always talked a lot about being bipolar. AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about what happened after 20 years, when your kidneys were affected and you had to completely go off of lithium? And that was a glimpse of that; I don’t think that I was like completely better and it was an “aha” moment, I was like “OK, great!” But I felt calmer. This is Democracy Now! And so, it’s nice to know that those things exist in other people’s world, as well. But I don’t know. I had to go through a lot before Dr. DeAntonio, who was the head of adolescent care there, diagnosed me. NERMEEN SHAIKH: And do you—from the people that you heard from, all the people you received letters from, after you wrote that New York Times piece, and, no doubt, after this book, as well, did many people say that those around them, those close to them, had responded in this way—in other words, thinking that they had a choice and they just had to get it together, or however people understand it? And that was when I wanted to sort of know him more. JAIME LOWE: I think I’m lucky in more ways than I can probably articulate, because I’m lucky in terms of my family, in that I have so much family that’s always been so supportive and kind of there to pick up the pieces. JAIME LOWE: So, I was on a manic high, which meant that I was hallucinating. It was OK. And all of the side effects I had felt initially were like there, but way less. (33 minutes) A riveting memoir and a fascinating investigation of the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium, an essential medication for millions of people struggling with bipolar disorder. Getty Images offers exclusive rights-ready and premium royalty-free analog, HD, and 4K video of the highest quality. Interview with photo editor Stacey Baker From Concept to Cover Image: Behind the Scenes at The New York Times Magazine. He’s been a loving father my entire life and very supportive and trying to understand what all of this is, as all my parents have always tried to do, because it’s not easy. It was about Ol’ Dirty Bastard from the Wu-Tang Clan, and he was diagnosed schizophrenic. AMY GOODMAN: Can you think of a moment where someone intervened, when you were pushing them away, that made an enormous difference in your life? And describing it is not something that I feel bad about myself for. But with mental illness, there is still a stigma. Explain why. AMY GOODMAN: Jaime, can you talk about what you write at the end of your book, which is, “I am lucky. NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, one of the things that you say, in terms of the extent to which lithium is prescribed, is that it’s not a patented drug. For me, it was kind of seamless. But then after Donald Trump, and "grab them by the pussy," and Harvey Weinstein, and all of them, it's not that specific memories of the assault would pop up, I just felt immobilized, anxious, protective of my body. I don’t like have a preference one way or the other. Your fears at the time? He had never been physically abusive. And I remember thinking like, “Maybe something is wrong.”. How many doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists have talked about this, where they now can only see a patient for something like 20 minutes or less, which only leaves them time to prescribe? In what sense would you say that’s the case? AMY GOODMAN: And explain what lithium is, and explain how—what effect it had on you and why you eventually, after decades, had to give it up. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. It's now called bipolar disorder. Let alone write about it. When we come back, we’ll go from that UCLA adolescent psych ward to the salt flats of Bolivia, where so much of lithium is. NERMEEN SHAIKH: “Everyone has a brain, which plays a major role in mental illness. And I was in my senior year, and I kind of just let go of everything else and was like, “OK, this is what’s going to work for me, and this is what I have to do. Jamie Lowe Jamie Lowe Jamie Lowe Jamie Lowe I thought that Mental—I wanted to reclaim that word, because I think that, like you’ve both said, there’s a huge stigma about mental illness, and I don’t think there needs to be. NERMEEN SHAIKH: And despite what people may think of that, which is that it’s very scary or claustrophobic, it actually helped you. I think that when you think about how the FDA has approved medications and how recently that’s been, lithium wasn’t approved, actually, until the early '70s. Jaime Lowe is a writer living in Brooklyn.She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and her work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, Gawker, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and on ESPN.com. Jaime Lowe. So, it was present in the Big Bang. So, the tapering off was in 2001. A lot of people feel side effects. And it was like I wanted to just roll around in it and kind of pay homage to this thing that had helped me for so long. She was on lithium for 20 years but was forced to go off it when she experienced serious kidney problems as a result of the medication. JAIME LOWE: No. And if any of them had said like, “Oh, you’re experiencing mania. And I think that the—so, I think the sexual assault actually is part of it. I think that that was why I ended up writing the book, was there were a lot of unanswered questions or a lot of threads to follow. It was really, really hard. It’s not—like she always wanted to be called manic depressive, and that “bipolar” always sounded weird to her. I don’t know. But it’s a similar situation, where you’re kind of—you’ve lost control, and you’re not necessarily who you are when you are functioning and waking up and who you would be at your best day. For Heeb‘s Music Issue, I was issued the task of reporting on a lawsuit that Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s former manager, Jarred Weisfeld, had filed against the rapper’s biographer, Jaime Lowe. In Part 1 of our discussion, you talked all about, well, being in a psychiatric ward at UCLA at the age of 16. This really isn’t like a”—. Lowe is the author of Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol' Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan. I remember the deli. And it’s been used for millennia. is a 501(c)3 non-profit news organization. Then, I was sort of out of the really good medications for mania. Like, this is who I am. AMY GOODMAN: —and for writing this book, Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind. JAIME LOWE: Thank you so much for having me. You’re going to get better. Fastpitch Softball TV Show 3,069 views. JAIME LOWE: It’s funny, because my concerns were probably more professional than they were about being bipolar and coming out as bipolar, just because, like I said earlier, I am—I have no filter. How it felt, for me, personally, was like nothing but distraught and just like complete fear that I would end up manic again, because another medication wouldn’t work. And actually, it was earlier than that, and the manic episode that followed was that winter. “Thirsty for Democracy: The Poisoning of an American City”: Complete Democracy Now! I thought I was going to be going to war in Nicaragua. AMY GOODMAN: Meaning the high and then the low. JAIME LOWE: Right. AMY GOODMAN: So what does that mean in terms of people’s access to lithium? Everything that’s happening is the way it should be. But when I was in the hospital, I was like saying, you know, the prayers. I was like, you know, really, really into being Jewish and Judaism and like superduper—like celebrating Shabbat. We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work. So, I then ended up in L.A. for three months with my family and then came back here and was like pretty depressed for six months. delivered to your inbox every day? There are moments, though, when I’m like, “Please, I don’t want to think about medication anymore. And I get a lot of letters from people who have read the book or who read the article I wrote for the Times Magazine. 25 Longest Home Runs of the Decade (2010-2017) - Duration: 14:48. JAIME LOWE: In 2010, we had—we have 43,000 psychiatric beds, which is the same number that we had in 1850. JAIME LOWE: Right. So can you say what role you think trauma plays in this? It would have devoted a lot more federal funding for mental health recovery and care. AMY GOODMAN: But you know how you want people to respond to you. Jamie Lowe Jamie Lowe Jamie Lowe Jamie Lowe. Please do your part today. And all of my parents—my parents are divorced. Democracy Now! I was like totally a not nice person to the people around me, and I didn’t want to hear anything from them. Polio Vaccine Inventor Jonas Salk’s Son Urges More Access to, Constitutional Lawyer: Trump Is a Clear & Present Danger, a Senate Impeachment Trial Is Needed Now, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Impeachment Is Late Attempt to Curb Violence & Racism at Heart of Trump Era. Jaime was sexually assaulted thirty years ago, when she was thirteen, and she’s rarely articulated the details out loud—until now. Jaime Lowe is a writer for the New York Times Magazine and the author of Mental, a memoir about bipolar disorder. Special on Flint, 2020 Ballot Initiative Wins: Abortion Rights, Lawyers for People Facing Eviction & Payday Loan Limits, Bryan Stevenson Wins “Alternative Nobel”: We Must Overturn This Horrific Era of Mass Incarceration, New Malcolm X Biography Offers Insight into His Split with Nation of Islam & Assassination, Native American Analyst: Our Voting Bloc Helped Flip Wisconsin Blue After It Voted for Trump in 2016. In 255 pages she seeks to unravel the soul of … And similarly, it’s often very difficult for people to accept that they need medication for mental illness. So, and then, as—like from ’81 to now, like there's been a steady decrease in terms of funding and in terms of just even awareness of how much we can take care of people. JAIME LOWE: I don’t know why it was changed, because it doesn’t—I think “manic depression” actually captures what I go through perfectly. Jaime Lowe’s episode came when she was still a girl, something she sees as a benefit. Occasionally Lowe’s biography bogs down in digression; but her interviews, analyses, and commentaries are always engaging and often bittersweet, as when she discusses the public’s fascination with celebrities and its accompanying schadenfreude: “There’s a small explicit thrill, envy almost, in watching public figures self-destruct, particularly when it involves sex, drugs, and creativity, … So, I mean, I—no, I didn’t want to know that I was in a manic phase. And I think that I’m lucky—. It’s why it’s hard to get mentally ill people to stay on medications, as the side effects can be really severe. He identified it immediately, because the symptoms are so bizarre, but all similar. I think you have to basically try, and just keep trying and keep trying, to keep that person well and there and close. And it was like horrifying and just like this thing that made everything a billion times worse. AMY GOODMAN: —they become a prescription mill, even if they don’t want to be. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about James Lowe, often where they are 037 | Unite Nashville Prayer Walks | James Lowe & Kevin Queen the House of Rugby studio to talk about Ireland heading to the World Cup as World No.1, 25 of James Lowe Podcasts Interviews James Lowe could make Ireland bow; Kevin McStay on a famous That’s—I work so that I can pay him. NERMEEN SHAIKH: The work that you’ve done. This is a rush transcript. And it just triggered this really, really intense—it was probably a good six months where I was back and forth between New York and L.A., because I wouldn’t stay in L.A., where my parents were trying to like help me get better. I’m going to just like buy brussels sprouts and, like, squash.” And like, I was sending like $700 of squash to neighbors. I think that my family definitely has a history of mental illness. Like I’m going to figure this out on my own.” And there’s—you know, that’s the really scary part, I think, is when it’s just not getting through, and over and over again. I think that, you know, in the same way that—and this sounds horrible, but the same way that you break a horse, like I think that I was just so far gone, and I had been tackled by nurses to take medication at that point. AMY GOODMAN: —where half of lithium is found in? I was like a menace to everyone on the ward. Sign up for our Daily News Digest today! We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work. It was really, really hard. JAIME LOWE: So, I actually—you know, I was a real menace. It’s a memoir. And then, also describe how you changed on lithium, what kind of effects it had on you and, in your research and interviews with so many other people who have experienced this, what it meant to them. NERMEEN SHAIKH: I think one of the reasons, as you suggest in your book, that your family was so helpful—and going back to what we were talking about with social stigma—is that they realized that what you were going through was not a choice. But that one was sort of like, nope, they just are the symptoms that they are. You accused your father of being abusive, and you said that, in fact, he wasn’t abusive. I thought people could figure that out. I don’t want to have to.” And I think that that is like a totally natural reaction that everyone who suffers from mental illness sort of has to deal with. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and her work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, Gawker, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and on ESPN.com. They’re like a cot where you stay near springs that you can soak in, and the water is like really laden with lithium, and you can just sit there with like the steam rising up. We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work. And I think that then each episode is also a trauma in itself, because they’re really, really intense, really, really kind of—they sort of shift the way your life moves, and it’s like a different narrative then. Like, I have no idea. 9:26. And I had this moment where I was like, “I don’t have any idea. AMY GOODMAN: Jaime Lowe, this goes to the question of social stigma, and that is, how you decided to write this book, really to come out publicly. Interview: Jaime Lowe, Author of Digging For Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB by Zach Baron. You talked about traveling to the Bolivian salt mines, where half of the world’s lithium is found. AMY GOODMAN: And have you felt any—any effects of writing this book or writing the piece you did in The New York Times, magazines, publications you’d want to write for about many different issues, raising this? Just over four years ago, the mad Wu-Tang affiliated rapper Ol’ … But I had to take a lot of antipsychotics. I mean, I think that that makes it so that psychiatric care is socialized in a way that you have people who have enough money that can actually afford to pay for—I mean, my psychiatrist is not on my health insurance. Lithium was kind of in my back pocket and worked. This is like nothing compared to what I had experienced without being on any drugs,” which is not to say that, you know, it was a good thing, because it’s like that high, but then that destruction that comes with it. Well, to be honest, I wish I had come up with the premise behind Theron Humphrey’s This Wild Idea. And, you know, it’s well worth it. So, the lithium, for me, when I took it, I didn’t actually feel that many side effects. To me, it doesn’t make a difference. JAIME LOWE: Yes. No manic person—in the throes of omnipotence, ecstasy, and strategic warfare—wants to hear that they are…just sick,” Lowe writes. This is viewer supported news. “I was unformed,” she says, adding “I was less formed.” She didn’t have a choice about taking lithium in the same way McDermott at first felt he did. For me, it does. Business coach, speaker, and author Jaime Masters, is the host of the Eventual Millionaire podcast. Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean it triggers it or that it causes it, but that there is this link between the two things. It’s really—I just—I feel lucky that I am here. I mean, since you were working with a doctor, you knew you were tapering down. She points to statistics published by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, that show the use of prescription medication for antidepressants among all ages increased nearly 400 percent over the last two decades. Fine Artist of NYC battled Ewing Sarcoma But I was molested when I was 13. I had been experiencing just so much tumult in my life that to have something that kind of evened everything out was good. 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