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Friends, countrymen…

May 11 2008 | Comments 33


I have to tell you this because I’m so excited, I can’t breathe. I’m in the New York Times. Please see the link, and then imagine my mom seeing the link on Mother’s Day, and keep in mind, we are a Jewish family. We were in Brigantine, New Jersey, without an Internet signal, and my mom got a voicemail message from her friend Marion who was kvelling about the piece online. And we ran to WaWa to get a copy of the paper because, for some reason, I wouldn’t believe it was “real” until I saw the print edition. (Once a print journalist, always a print journalist.) It’s a really great article by writer Gabrielle Glaser.

Shea Roggio is superb at taking amazingly flattering picitures of me, apparently, and is also an incredible photographer in general. See his work here. Pictured is an alternate shot Shea took that I really love. I would call it, “Me and My Mac.”

And Gabrielle did such an incredible job with a tough subject — that of “mad pride.” I won’t say too much because the piece is far more eloquent than I am, but please do read it.

Also, Jake Tapper gave me and my fellow classmates a sweet shout-out today on his blog, Political Punch. See it here.

And that’s the last self-promotional post I’ll do, I promise. It makes me uncomfortable, but how often am I going to hit the pages of the Times? Like, never. For today, though, we rejoice.

liz | 8:54 PM | Uncategorized

Vicki Spikol (The other Spikol) Says:

Hi Liz!
It’s your sister Vicki. How wonderful it is that you help so many people by courageously slogging through a life of madness, not taking yourself too seriously, then doing the research and putting it all together in a way that makes sense to others. That’s life of daily courage and sacrifice. The New York Times is a wonderful achievement, but it pales in comparison to all else you’ve done in this field. I’m a little afraid to post my own experiences and viewpoints, because they might conflict with popular worldview. I have friends who are diagnosed schizophrenic, and I myself suffer from occasional panic attacks and “strange thinkings”. Driving to work knowing that I am going to panic takes a great deal of courage, but I have overcome. I’ve learned to live with days when my sleeping dreams merge with what really happens. Alas though, the ultimate answer for me (and my aforementioned friends) calls us to look past the “causes” for madness in our own lives, and consider the fall of man. This is also a life of courage and sacrifice. I had to consider the biblical notion that man is NOT inherently good, but instead inherently evil. Then, I had to find out how to empty myself and fill up with the mind of God. The cure, for me, is a process of santification, which can only come from the One who is truly pure, the One who created me. Unfortunately, popular psychiatry doesn’t want to consider the Bible, or God, or sin. That’s for wackos only, right? Hey, if you really want to be considered mad, find out what God wants from you. Read the bible. You’ll lose all your “friends” and maybe even your family. But a peace that surpasses all understanding will take over, and a new wisdom will emerge. That’s the trouble with the other Spikol. And it’s trouble with a lower case T. I love you Liz!

May 11 10:02 PM

rgdaniel Says:

That’s very cool, congratulations!! Is there a logo for Mad Pride?

May 11 10:16 PM

scott Says:

Awesome article. Great coverage. Nice mothers day present for your mom. And good for you! You are doing great work and we all appreciate it.

May 11 10:19 PM

titania jones Says:

I am a political journalist, and I have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

It feels like a death sentence socially, but especially because I know people think I hear voices and that’s all they think about me.

I actually do sort of hallucinate a little sometimes, but I think it’s because of my medication! ha. ha.

Anyways, you were asking on your video about what it’s like having a mid life crisis.

I’m 45. I decided to go through mine early. I had a major career crisis. Who am I, what is going to make me feel fulfilled.

Ever since I found writing, I don’t ever worry about my career. I know I’m a Journalist, and that I’m successful, even if I don’t make money at it.

Then I had to deal with getting physically older. Well, I lost weight, because I feel like I sort of owe it to myself, to try to go into this thing at least trying.

Haven’t got too many greys yet, in fact less than five or six, and I pulled them out. So, I’m lucky there, and I’m handy with hair dye.
I’ve had worse dyed looking hair than you can imagine. My best advice is plan, on getting a good colorist, or learn how to be a good hair colorist.

My mom is, and I think she really enjoyed getting her hair done, and so that is a relief.

Then I have to worry about whether or not I will ever be physically feeling “sexy” in bed and all that. In fact, I went through eight or nine months wondering if I’d ever feel “excited” again.

Well, all I can say, is that if you are with the right person, then everything is even better than when I was in my twenties or thirties.

So, that isn’t a problem.

The thing that worries me the most is what my life will be like in 10 years, when I’m even older, like when I’m 55.

I am not very financially well off, and I wonder if I will feel embarrassed not having all the trappings of success, because my mental illness limits me in some ways.

The truth of the matter is, that I didn’t think I could write a few years ago. I think it would be better for me to focus on actually trying to sell my work, and keep a positive attitude that I can succeed, instead of worrying about being poor at 55, and not having any success within the next ten years.

I just had a look at one of Mick Jagger’s video’s, called “you’ll never make a saint of me”.

He looks very very sexy and lively and has aged extremely well. He hasn’t lost his funkiness, or ability to be the biggest badass in town.

So, he’s a great role model for ageing. My other favorite is Lauren Hutton. She rode motorcycles with all the boys, and had her own bike.
then she crashed it, and nearly died. Well, she recovered just fine, and I watched her trying to sell her makeup, and she is totally funky. I love her. She’s like totally funky, and she’s another great role model for me.

Sally Fields is pretty funky too in a nice sort of way.

I think of those types of people and I think that’s what is most important to me, is not to start “acting” old, like I’m supposed to suddenly be a stick in the mud.

And I’ve sort of accepted that being working class and schizophrenic is ok, I’m just going to have to keep finding ways to grow.

It’s true. Not many people are there for you when you hit a rough patch mentally.They don’t understand how fragile we are, and well, some people simply aren’t equipped to deal with that fragility.

I can’t handle heartache too well, or people who want me to be something other than just myself.

My writing is pretty far out. I don’t go out of my way, to impress people. I just write.

Alot of people hate things I write because it makes them feel too many emotions.

Well, for me it’s super easy to write. My inner world accepts complexity. That’s the gift of being crazy, is that we are introspective people. I noticed that about you.

Introspection doesn’t work well in reality. It isn’t reality, it’s thought. mental people don’t live in reality as much as they do in introspective type of states.

Anyways, so I’m good with introspection, but not with reality. I go nuts, I ended up in a mental hospital recently over it.

My biggest fear is being accepted by other people. Especially someone I like, who I think wants someone who doesn’t have mental illness, and has pots of money, and is younger.

Well, so, I just keep dieting, excercising and trying to get through it the best I can.

That’s been my experience of a mid life crisis.


May 11 10:39 PM

Heidi Says:

Congrats, Liz!!! and what beautiful pictures!

May 11 10:51 PM

Nathan Says:

Congratulations on being linked to in the Times! Incidentally, I discovered your blog by reading that article. I haven’t looked too deeply into your archives yet, but I already feel enormous relief in knowing that this blog is here. I am bipolar as well, and am currently in an intensive outpatient treatment program that’s helping manage it. I’ve only been in therapy for the past month and a half (although I was in therapy for severe depression about five years ago while in college), so I’m new to the “scene.” Thank you for making yourself available to the general public in this manner – it’s very generous and comforting.

May 11 10:53 PM

Nancy Says:

I saw and read the NYT print edition this morning—it was awesome and so are you, Liz. Kudos, congrat and thanks for being such an authentic, intelligent and compassionate writer/blogger in the field of mental health. Gosh, you’re gorgeous and funny, too! Hooray pour vous! ~~Nancy

May 11 11:07 PM

Sandy Naiman Says:

Congratulations Liz. Take a deep breath. You deserve the NYTimes’ attention. I love your candor and visceral honesty. You aren’t self-promotional, just perfectly charming and excited. And why not! I’ve been through the ECT, the restraints, and many of those humiliating neuroleptic reactions, too. I know how it feels. Be well and keep on writing and sharing. You’re an inspiration, touching people where it hurts. And you’re my muse.
Sandy Naiman, Toronto

May 12 5:38 AM

MItchell Gobrick Says:

Just What the doctor ordered…

Id thinks your career has gone further then even you had realized…

You had moved a long ways girl…

at least you have some cred in your mid-life which is alot more then I have.


May 12 8:31 AM

ttq Says:

inspirational! Bravo! How exciting!

May 12 10:39 AM

Sara Says:

Congratulations, Liz!

Hope you are feeling better.

Sara (long time fan :-)

May 12 10:45 AM

Iheartfashion Says:

Found you through the very interesting Times article. Congratulations on a very funny and informative blog!

May 12 11:19 AM

David Hanson Says:

It was a fine article showing to many what they mostly have kept to themselfs.Seeing that you have the courage hopefully one day the stigma will be diminished.
David Hanson

May 12 11:25 AM

Jill Says:

You come across as a wonderfully quirky brilliant woman worth getting to know. They say it about me, ,too, but of you, I believe it. Let your freak flag fly.

May 12 12:09 PM

Simon Says:

i just noticed your last youtube video – ‘i’m back’ – has doubled its amount of views in the last day alone! …(from roughly 800 to 1606 views at present). now THAT’S evidence what a great article in the new york times can do! well done liz! i think you should capitalize on your new-found audience and do some more videos (if you’re feeling up to it that is)… y’know, you can even buy a copy of the new york times here in melbourne, australia from certain places (although it’s a lil’ pricey for the privilege of overnight airfreight)… but as a spikol fan i think i might just have to pick up a copy.

May 12 2:01 PM

Sliderossian Says:

I come here by way of HuffPo. Congratulations! I am a musician, good husband and father and respected community member. This would not be possible, at least in a career-type way, if not for my meds, I am on Depakote for bipolar, probably for the rest of my life

Mental disorder is a lonely business until you hear the same sorts of experiences and feelings from others in the same leaky boat. And *bing* there pops up your wonderful site. Thanks.

May 12 3:14 PM

Kate Kilpatrick Says:

Gorgeous photo!

May 12 5:38 PM

Alison Hymes Says:

Great job Liz! So cool it was on Mother’s Day and in the Times, now you’ll never be able to live up to that on Mother’s Day again. .

May 12 7:19 PM

Dennis Says:

Dear Liz,

Why didn’t you mention to us that you were interviewed by the NYT :) ? I am so, so proud of you! What an accomplishment.

The article was nicely crafted, plus you look so healthy and gorgeous in the photos. I especially like this blog “outtake” — kind of like TTWS takes on the world!

Big hug: ((((LIZ)))


May 12 8:32 PM

Gulley Jimson Says:

Tragedy sucks but depression is forever. Burmese and Chinese shouldn’t have to die when so many of us are willing to. Religion and nationalism is crap.

May 12 8:33 PM

Gulley Jimson Says:

A mac?

I guess there’s a hill behind your brick house as the gutter flows to the front. Does a Mac mean you’re more creative than Pc people like me? I can’t afford a Mac and never could. I guess I’m not creative.

May 12 8:43 PM

Gulley Jimson Says:

We’re just the functionally fucked up that can post on the internet, some of us are quite grammatically correct but don’t put me in that cATEGORY.

May 12 9:41 PM

Kent Says:

Congratulations on having your story be told in the Times, Liz! You’ve worked hard for a long time, and I think the positive attention is well deserved. I also think that it helps many people who have been through some of the same types of things to have someone else with a psychiatric diagnosis be portrayed so favorably in the mainstream press. I believe that it helps dispel some of the negative stereotypes that are out there.

May 12 11:42 PM

Kent Says:

Forgot to mention that I like the pictures, too – and I like that the other story (the Huffington Post one) actually has two of your videos in it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I think it might also be true that a good video is worth a thousand pictures.

May 13 12:16 AM

Roger Says:

Yes, a Mac, is there any other decent Personal Computers out there?

Well Liz, Ive seen some of your Videos…
No, youre not Crazy, it just what it looks…
I suppose you healed yourself…
Thats the better treatment…
Love You…


May 13 6:11 AM

Stella Says:

I just found out about you and your blog, watched some of your video’s and want to say congratulations on your success! You touched my heart and your honesty is a wonderful thing, I believe it will help others and that will help you!!! You’re on your way so enjoy life!

May 13 8:29 AM

Michael Mack Says:

Hey Liz,

Kudos for the fabulous NYT article –- due recognition for your so long fighting the good fight!

A few years back you wrote a wonderful piece about “Hearing Voices (Speaking in Tongues)” –- my one-man play about my mother’s recovery from schizophrenia.

I’ve been touring with it since, but you and all the “mad pride” folks are really on the front lines of mental illness education — speaking so fearlessly about your own struggle.

Michael Mack

May 13 10:07 AM

Andrew B. Gianelli (Drew) Says:

You should be proud. How can I belong to your group? Just like death, depression cannot be fully understood until it is experienced. No matter how experienced or well trained MH professionals are, they cannot feel the awful pain of depression and work from text books and unproven theories. Keep up the good work, Liz.

May 14 1:38 PM

Heather Munro Prescott Says:

Great article — reminded me to get caught up on reading your blog!

May 14 4:31 PM

stan Says:

Dearest Liz:

Or should I now refer to you as the renowned and famous Ms. Liz Spikol bowing before your feet and diaper clad figure in humble servitude {laughing}? I’m so confused now ( I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy {smirk}). So when did you start heading MAD anywise Liz? ( I hate that reference to Mental Health Issues since it always reminds me of Alfred E. Newman of MAD Magazine{Snicker}). MAD is that “Mothers Against Disorders”? This is just plain insane trivial babble journalism. I’ve been reading and commenting here for a while now; and I have to say this article was amateurish, and thought it wasn’t a complete hammer job in scope; the subject matter was not very well researched and gave such a limited view of what is really happening in the blog world related to mental health Issues and how it can and will eventually effect the established model now set in abusive stone.

I did love those narrow minded quoted statements made by the Stanley Foundation Psychiatrist that made my skin crawl and the hair stand up on the back of my neck though. I honestly would be a little insulted they selected arbitrarily pieces from your fine work I would not consider to be the most flattering, or accurately portray the diligent and fine information you provide here on this blog. They focused on your mental disorder more than the powerful outcome of sharing such personal information in this treasured and informative format; and the positive effects it has on others dealing with mental health conditions. I guess these so called normal’s (whatever the heck normal actually is? I know it’s some statistical equivalent of plastic humantron socially obtrusive and acceptable behavior and thinking patterns {Smirk}) they just don’t get it, or will I go under any assumption that the so called normal’s will get the slightest clue in the near future! If this didn’t have such serious cogitations and consequences in again stigmatizing those with mental health Issues; I would have to say it was more of a puff piece, rather than hard factual investigative journalism. But of course that’s just my own personal opinion on the article. Your friend and old school chum over at ABC news was much more kind and thoughtful in his analysis of your triumphs and accomplishments. At least he didn’t stutter around on issues he knew nothing about.

Though in thinking deeper about this whole MAD movement thing; I must admit the concept of organized insanity does have its appeal on a purely whimsical imaginative hypo-manic level. I’m actually happy that you were featured in a national publication such as this, even if the NYT’s doesn’t have much of a respectable reputation as of late. I just hope it has the effect of opening up other avenues of interest where you can actually get the whole true accurate story out to the masses in a boarder, more intellectual and professional manner.

Yours Truly

May 15 11:27 AM

Susan Senowitz Says:


The phone lines were buzzing between NJ, Connecticut and Florida on Sunday morning as I called my mom and she called my brother and later on, your mom called my mom! I always read the Style section of the NYT first and I was so excited to see your picture and read the article! I even forgot to read the Modern Love section! I am certain that your humility and candor touched so many people through that article and hopefully will help them realize that they are not alone in their journey and that it does not have to define them as a person.

As a member of your extended Jewish family, I too was feeling that familial pride on Sunday and couldn’t wait to tell 10 of my closest friends (alright I only have 3), that my cousin was featured in the NYT.

Much love,

May 16 8:38 PM

harryet ehrlich Says:

Hi Liz,
I met your cousin Susan Senowitz last year and she told me about you. Ironically, I was just about ready to contact you when I got an e-mail from a friend with your article. Then I read in the Styles section.

I want your fellow bloggers to know that on Sunday morning, June 8, the 1st Annual Taking Strides Against Mental Illness Walk will take
place at the Wild Duck Pond Ridgewood Avenue in Ridegwood, NJ. NJ Senate President Richard and Mary JO Codey (she has spoke out publically about her own battle with post partum depression.)
My 35 year old daughter, Rebecca Ehrlich is the founder of The Taking Strides Against Mental Illness organization. Last year when she and I were completeing a walk for breast caner, she asked me why there wasn’t a walk for mental illness. My response was “Yeah, right.” That was the seed that provided the motivation to creat her organization and walk.
To learn more about the walk, check out

You can download an application. Registration is free, everyone will get a t-shirt, there will be DJ entertainment, refreshments and prizes.
I hope to come back to your blog from time to time in the next 3 weeks to remind people about the walk.
Harryet Ehrlich

May 17 2:34 PM

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