She was going to stab her doctor, but she wrote Prozac Monologues instead. Years later, Willa Goodfellow revisits this account of an antidepressant-induced hypomania that hijacked a Costa Rican vacation and tells the rest of the story, the wrong medication, an overlooked diagnosis of Bipolar 2, and finally a path to recovery. Prozac Monologues: A Voice From the Edge is a comedic memoir of misdiagnosis and self-help book about the bipolar spectrum. It offers information about a mood disorder frequently mistaken for Major Depression with resources for recovery and further study. Plus, Costa Rica. • • If your depression keeps coming back, • If your antidepressant side effects are dreadful, • If you are curious about the bipolar spectrum, • If you want ideas for recovery from mental illness, • If you care for somebody who might have more than depression, She wrote this for you. Drop In with us to meet Willa.
Willa Goodfellow’s early work with troubled teens as an Episcopal priest shaped an edgy perspective and preaching style. A bachelor’s degree from Reed College and a master’s from Yale gave her the intellectual chops to read and comprehend scientific research about mental illness—and her life mileage taught her to recognize and call out the bull. So she set out to turn her own misbegotten sojourn in the land of antidepressants into a writing career. Her journalism has attracted the attention of leading psychiatrists who worked on the DSM-5. She is certified in Mental Health First Aid, graduated from NAMI’s Peer to Peer, and has presented on mental health recovery at NAMI events and Carver Medical College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. Today she hikes, travels, plans seven course dinner menus, works on the next writing project, Bar Tales of Costa Rica, and stirs up trouble. She lives with her wife Helen in Central Oregon and still misses her dog Mazie.Leave a comment for radio show guests
What’s the story behind the story? We’ll find out on Dropping In. Our guests are today’s original thinkers, conversations that spark new ways of seeing what’s going on. We bring it all to the table, diverse perspectives, controversy, loving and singular voices. Magically, stories reveal the common threads that link us, experience the joys, the fist pumps, the detours, and the hard one truth of those who blazed the trail so that we might do the same. And now, here’s your host, Diane Dewey.
Diane: Welcome to Dropping In, everyone. It’s coming up on Mother’s Day. So, happy Mother’s Day to all mothers around the world, but especially new mothers. Today’s guest, Willa Goodfellow, mother made Meatloaf Mondays at the family’s boutique resort in Costa Rica so that the US tourists had their comfort food. Willa’s memoir is not titled Meatloaf Mondays.
It’s called Prozac Monologues, A Voice from the Edge from She Writes Press, a firsthand account of flying, a metaphor if ever there was 1, 7, and a half hour while returning from said Costa Rica resort with her yellow pad in her lap, pen in hand, writing furiously while her wife, Helen, sat beside her. It seemed industrious at the time. As it turns out, Prozacmonologues.com is Willa’s website, blog, Resort Center, and Help Sanctuary. Welcome, Willa. Great to have you with us.
Willa: Thank you, Diane. I’ve been looking forward to this.
Diane: Where are you calling in from? We are going from our home to home and I always like to know, where are you phoning in from?
Willa: Well, from my office in Sisters, Oregon. Edge of the Circle of Fire, the dry side of Oregon.
Diane: Another edge then. If we’re looking at Oregon, are you in the upper left, lower? Where is this Circle of Fire? Where is the edge? Where are you?
Willa: The Circle of Fire is a line that runs just really down the globe, Alaska to Patagonia. It’s a line of volcanoes. So, on the East side of the Cascade Mountains, the account was named after the three mountains that we can see from our back deck, the Three Sisters.
Diane: Beautiful. So, hopefully, it erupts on the Western side. Or do they erupt? It’s dormant at this point.
Willa: Well, they’re dormant but we’re getting ready for what they call the big one. It’s one of those things that happens when it happens. And for that matter, the way these things work something could come up in our backyard. We would have to worry about where our grab-and-go bag is.
Diane: It would be good if we had a visual. We should be evacuating you but we leave behind the camera so that we could see it. I think it’s really interesting you mentioned this because there is no control over something like a volcano. I think that control is something we prize, right? When something starts to happen to you that’s out of control like that’s bad like the pandemic. We don’t feel helpless. In 2005, when you started feeling a little accelerated, maybe exhilarated but a little too much exhilarated and your wife, Helen, said maybe not so normal, how was that to try to start to admit that maybe something was going on?
Willa: I didn’t admit that for a long time. When I was writing the original monologues, it was simply exhilarating. It was like, “Oh my gosh, I have a book inside of me and it has to get out.” I was coming off of Prozac at the time. I had the sense that when the Prozac was gone, maybe this energy was going to be gone. I thought the book is about a character that had a short life span. I had to get it out on paper before it was gone. That was incredible to me. It was the first time I had written a book.
Diane: How long did it take you? It is quick, right?
Willa: Well, yeah. Within a couple of weeks, I was back into plain old depression and that began a series of trying different antidepressants, getting worse with each one until I refused to take anymore. It took me about 5 years to get to a bipolar diagnosis and to understand what was going on.
Diane: I found this to be hugely frustrating. I don’t know how you stayed calm to even be talking and writing and blogging today because to be misdiagnosed for 5 years is just so frustrating. There are lots of reasons for it. Can you let us back a little bit? You were coming off of Prozac because you had suffered depression. When do you think the whole cycle of it began?
Willa: Well, I was depressed off and on since I was about 4. That would have been a clue if doctors recognize that early-onset depression is a heads up to possibly being bipolar. It takes people an average of 7 and a half years to get a correct diagnosis. I’ve had episodes of recognizable depression throughout my life. I had maybe not diagnosable but hypomanic periods also throughout my life. From the time I was on Prozac which kicked off, first, a mixed episode and then was followed by this hypomanic episode. It took about 5 years.
Diane: I find that 7 and a half years is also mind-boggling as an average, 7 and a half years. So, think of what happens in a lifespan of 7 and a half years. I mentioned control because I think that we do go into denial when we think something’s happening that’s beyond our control. Control, to me, it’s also so we tried to pinpoint. When did it start? Why did it start? Why did it occur? What happened to me that precipitated this? In Prozac Monologues, I found you to be refreshingly blame-free or refreshingly attribution-free. Let’s put it that way.
Willa: I tried.
Diane: Is that your course?
Willa: That’s intentional.
Diane: Is that how you frame it for yourself? Or do you still go back and look for causes?
Willa: Well, the causes for my bipolar are the mental illnesses that are the one that’s most genetically related. I think about of 75% people who have bipolar have some kind of genetic link to some family link. And so, there isn’t any blame to be given there. Certainly, there was trauma in my life. Trauma is a trigger for a genetic predisposition.
At some point, you just have to say, “Well, my mother was doing the best that she could.” That been a lifelong struggle to get to that point but that’s the point that one has to get to. I have a friend, Judith Ruskay Rabinor. I must apologize. I’ve messed up her name. She just released a book, The Girl in the Red Boot. She lately has been calling it the perfect book for the person who has an imperfect mother or who is one.
Diane: Very appropriate.
Willa: Right. Reading that book now, I’m referring to it as the book that you won’t be the same after you’ve read it.
Diane: I wasn’t the same after I read Prozac Monologues. I thought it was very hands-on and very helpful. I also like the fact that you didn’t pretend. You took the lid off and looked inside of a dark place and shed some light on it. When you mention genetic encoding, my understanding is that you could be genetically encoded. But then, as you say, they are triggers.
I’m going to twist the tongue here, this stress diathesis model where if there’s something that precipitates what’s dormant in your genetic coding, it can come out at that time. Also, this book is brilliant because it’s chocked a block with great information. I will let readers know that it does also include some of what I would call the institute writing. You write in a mania so that we understand the rhythm of mania which is just amazing balance.
To address the confusion, then I’m going to shut up. To address the confusion, you note in Prozac Monologues that 20% of the population will have major depression. So, that’s a big number. Half of a whole lot of episodes, half of 20% will be way up but more often way down. No wonder then, Willa, that it is diagnosed as depression most of the time.
Willa: Correct. You don’t go to the doctor to say, “Oh, my gosh. I just wrote a book in two weeks. What’s wrong with me?” That’s one of the dilemmas. Part of my frustration, as you said, I try to remain blame-free. Still, I don’t think doctors have in mind, “This person who’s slouching in the chair, and can’t see my eyes, and hasn’t bathed, and has been depressed for three months, there’s a 50-50 chance that this person has bipolar.”
They’re not thinking that. They’re just looking at what they see and what the patient tells them. When you feel good, you don’t remember feeling bad. When you feel bad, you don’t remember feeling good. The patient is not able to guide the doctor into the correct diagnosis. Doctors like to say, “Well, bipolar is hard to diagnose.” And I have to come back with, “Yes, it is. That’s your job.” I didn’t get my diagnosis until I figured it out.
Diane: That’s good.
Willa: There was a doctor who sat next to me on an airplane. Based on my behavior on the airplane, he said, “Why don’t you go home and google MBQ.” It is a plain-language screening device, one that the person and their family members can use to determine. “Well, maybe this is bipolar. Maybe this is something that needs to be checked out.”
Diane: But I love that it’s an airplane. It’s like an angel embodied next to you that is saying, “Well, maybe you should try the bipolar questionnaire.” Holy smokes, when you’ve been in therapy all this time and taking all of these prescriptions that are aggravating your situation. But as you say, nobody’s going to go flying into the therapist when they’re high, when they’re on their up mania. I hear it in your voice, too. I’m still back on.
They’re not suggesting, the doctor is not saying 50% of the time, it could be bipolar. I’m sort of like, “Well, why not?” Because look at how you’ve held yourself up as an example. I’m going to give our listeners a short bio of you because it’s also a fascinating segue from the plane angel, which I do believe there are those. Willa Goodfellow’s early work with troubled teens as an Episcopal priest shaped an edgy perspective and preaching style.
A bachelor’s degree from Reed College and a master’s from Yale University gave you the intellectual chops to read and comprehend scientific research about mental illness and your life and your mileage taught you to recognize and call out the Bull. You have set out to turn your misbegotten surgeon in the land of antidepressants into a writing career. Your journalism has attracted the attention of leading psychiatrists who work on the DSM-5.
You are certified in Mental Health First Aid, graduated from NAMI’s Peer to Peer, and have presented on mental health recovery at NAMI events and Carver Medical College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. Today, you hike, travel, plan seven-course dinner menus, works on the next writing project, Bar Tales of Costa Rica, and stirs up trouble. I’m so glad about that. You live with your wife, Helen, in Central Oregon and you still miss your dog, Mazie. I’m sort of wondering why you don’t have another dog but maybe that’s in the work, too. Is it?
Willa: I tried. We adopted a rescue that we named Grace after a pirate Queen and an Irish pirate Queen. When we adopted her, she was too afraid to leave the driveway. She had been raised in Idaho, basically in a pack. Once we spent a couple of months bringing her out of her shell, when she was fully out of her shell, what we had was a feral dog. That was not a good fit for a couple of old ladies living in town. She needed to live where she could run free. And so, that’s what we did. We took her back to find someplace where she could run free.
Diane: Well, that’s a beautiful thing in itself. I think, also respecting instinct in your limitations. You talk in the book about people who go from A to B in a linear way versus people who are downsers. I think this is an interesting question. We have just a minute before we take a commercial break. We are going to come back with Willa Goodfellow and discuss who you are.
I have a feeling we’ve got an idea here brewing and to identify whether we’re going from point A to point B or whether we’re downsers. And then, what’s the role of perfectionism in all of this? And do we drive ourselves crazy on top of it all? Don’t go away. We’re going to take a break now and come back with Willa Goodfellow on Dropping In, author of Prozac Monologues. We’re going to hear more monologues that will be so enlightening.
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You are listening to Dropping In with Diane Dewey. We’d love to hear from you. If you have a question or comment about the show, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com. Now, back to Dropping In.
Diane: Welcome back, everyone. We’re here with Willa Goodfellow. In her career, an Episcopalian priest, and now, I would say ministering to people but from a wonderful website, Prozacmonologues.com, which is the site of her blog and through a book, Prozac Monologue, A Voice from the Edge. So, Willa Goodfellow, we talked a little bit about going from point A to point B in a linear way, A to B versus downsers. So, where do you fall in this spectrum if you will? How do you describe yourself in this?
Willa: I guess I’m a downser. When I was talking about point A to point B versus downsing, you need both kinds in a group that’s trying to get something done. The work that I truly loved and from which I became disabled and had to quit involves bringing groups together, a group of individuals within a congregation who had a variety of skills and intentionally including both kinds to be creative and get something accomplished. So, if I’m in a group of downsers and we’re trying to get something done, I might fall into my A to B side. But if it’s all A to B people, I get frustrated and I try to mix things up.
Diane: There’s special alchemy when that happens, right? You experience something more than the sum of its parts. You talk in the book about finding a support group, realizing that maybe you knew a lot more or maybe they were just unwilling to speak that day but the feeling of not being that one who is different. Talk to us about what it’s like to feel so much otherness and versus when you are in a group.
Willa: I am one of those people that’s called high functioning mentally ill. That means you wouldn’t think most of the time that I am spending a whole lot of energy managing my self-monitoring. Is my voice too loud? Or am I going off on the deep end? Or are my words in an order that makes sense to people because I can start dancing in my sentences like I’m doing right now? Paying attention to those things just gets tiring. It takes a lot of energy. When I’m with a group of norms, I can go home from that and just be exhausted even if I don’t know exactly what was exhausting about it.
When I am with others of my kind, they’re just delighted to have my sentences go off into the ozone and they follow along just fine and are entertained. I find that in my reviews. I get a combination of, “Boy, this sounds like she wrote it when she was manic. I’m so glad her editor didn’t fix it five stars” or, “Boy, she sounds like she wrote this when she was manic. I wish her editor had fixed it one star.”
Diane: There’s perfectionism coming in. It’s all in the point of view and you balanced the book. There is a tipping point. There is a point in the beginning. You’re downsing. There’s circularity. There’s real interest, I would say, in understanding the cadence. We go along with you for the ride, which there is no substitute for, right?
It’s kind of like onomatopoeia. You say, woosh, and you understand what a woosh is. If you don’t say it, you can experience it. You can’t know it. It’s like describing music or something. That’s not possible. So, I thank you for having done that. Don’t forget that on Bewitched, Samantha always called the mortals. She had to be with mortals. She knew she had these extra powers with the twitching, those and everything.
I think that what you’re describing is about having to seriously circumscribe yourself. It must be very exhausting. The thing I’m extremely thankful for in the book is your pragmatic approach to how to guide how-to live-in recovery which, as you say, trauma can both be the cause and the consequence of being bipolar. Tell us about the 4 things that you need to work into your life to stay well-balanced.
Willa: There are lifestyle measures like a sleep schedule. The Schedule is the most important in sleep, in particular, nutrition, exercise, those kinds of things. There’s education and self-awareness so that the more you learn about your condition, the easier it is to manage it with their support which comes from peers, family, therapists, whoever the team. And then, there’s medication. When things have become manageable, then medication can become less important.
There are lots of people who can never stop taking their meds. I don’t imagine that I will ever be medication-free. I don’t consider that a goal. Medication is one of the tools in the recovery toolbox. I think the reason that a lot of people with bipolar continuously struggle is that they expect the medication to do all the work and it can’t overcome bad habits. It is just like a diabetic is not going to achieve stability in their blood sugar if they don’t make diet adjustments.
Diane: Right. Let’s break this down because I think you’ve hit on several critical issues and questions. First of all, the idea that medication is going to do everything, isn’t that sort of an offshoot of, “Well, bipolar is a chemical imbalance in the brain.” So, if we just put some drugs in, then that’s going to be solved.
Willa: Right. That’s the perspective and it’s wrong.
Diane: You took responsibility.
Willa: This chemical imbalance line was designed to sell antidepressants. It was designed by a drug company. Some doctors hate it. Others find it an easy shortcut to convince people to take their medication. There’s nothing wrong with taking medication. It’s just like fixing a chemical imbalance. The problem with that is that it neglects all the other things that have to happen.
Depression as well. Bipolar is a complex condition with a lot of different aspects to it. It’s a matter of balance. You’ve got too much dopamine. Let’s take down your dopamine. You do some of the time but other times your dopamine is just fine. And so, you have to learn how to balance, not just add more salt to the soup because the saltiness of the soup keeps changing if you’re bipolar.
Diane: It’s a cycle.
Willa: Yes. That’s the word.
Diane: That’s the word. So, you’re cycling constantly. We are all cycling. I think we are all on a certain part of the spectrum cycling through our energies. I think the education part and the self-awareness part, which your book, I think goes leaps and bounds toward really enriching, the part I loved was at one point you told Helen, “Look. I feel like I’ve got holes in my brain.” And then it turns out that your brain is evolving with bipolar but education can multiply cells in your brain to replenish them. This is huge, Willa.
Willa: One of our latest research areas is what’s called a neurotrophic factor. The brain regenerates itself as a way of treating bipolar. That was huge. When I went from having holes in my head to realizing, “But I’m repairing the holes in my head.”
Diane: It’s very exciting. It gives you agency as part of the balance. There’s no downside to becoming more educated, even though education is changing all the time and keeping up with the theories. You also indicated that there are more empirical tests, that even though a blood test may be able to detect the inflammation that occurs. How much hope do you put into those kinds of things? Do you think it will help the DSM writers get to a better stage of defining these situations?
Willa: I think the DSM, frankly, has to be scrapped. It went to press when it was just an untested rough draft of a handful of scientists sitting down and coming up with a symptoms list and the subsequent additions have tried to refine those symptoms list but they haven’t attempted to include all of the things that are going on inside of the brain. So, they just need to develop a new approach.
Diane: And not to be giving jark in DSM the guide book, the dictionary to mental health illnesses and it is I referred to. I would say, it’s a big contributor to why you spent those years in the wilderness. I’m sorry. As you say, if you keep trying to address what was thought of as depression and then the pharmaceutical itself that you’re taking is giving you mixed episodes, you’re never really getting closer to identifying and it just feels so frustrating.
Again, I respect you so much that you’ve come to this point of acceptance and have adopted this recovery lifestyle. One of my favorites is sleep. I love sleeping, the regenerative qualities of sleep, and how things look different the next day. When you talk about the sleep schedule is important, do you describe that to circadian rhythms? Why is it important to have a sleep schedule?
Willa: Yes, exactly. It’s circadian rhythms. All of us have an internal clock that regulates all kinds of systems in our bodies. The mood is only one of them to call bipolar or depression, or mood disorder does this service because it ignores temperature, fluctuation, appetite, cortisol levels, stress levels, energy levels, the release of all kinds of hormones. If you become obsessive about this and take your blood pressure at different times of the day consistently over time, you would notice a pattern that your blood pressure isn’t the same at 8 A.M.
[Inaudible][35:46] For people with bipolar, our circadian rhythms or inner clocks are wonky. They don’t keep time very well. One of the most effective treatments for bipolar is to find a way to keep resetting the clock throughout the date. Sleep is a big piece of that. I didn’t sleep very well last night but I woke up on time. So, get that early morning sunlight and that helps reset the circadian clock.
Diane: Before you have to see someone, there’s a certain amount of time, does that depend on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert? I thought that was interesting.
Willa: It doesn’t. You set your system and then you keep to your system. You find a system that works for you and that might be I want to have a conversation 15 minutes after I get up. If you do that every day, that will start your day off. For me, I need to be up for about an hour and a half before I talk to anybody. That doesn’t matter as long as I keep doing the same thing at the same time. Now, the beginning of the day and the end of the day are the most important times in the middle. There’s lots of variation. It’s not a strait jacket but the timekeepers that have the most effects are the morning ones.
Diane: Which I think is a perfect excuse to not have to speak to my husband over a cup of tea too early. I’m telling you, there is a lot of practical advice in this book, Prozac Monologues. We’ve come to the point where we have to take a commercial break. I’m fascinated by the practicality of it all. When we come back, we’ll continue talking with Willa Goodfellow. We’re going to find out more about everything, Pura Vida, bar mitzvah, and all of it. Don’t go away. We’ll be right back on Dropping In.
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Diane: Welcome back, everyone. We’re here with Willa Goodfellow. You have pointed out some steps that people can take to balance out the pharmacological effects that might be helping. Sometimes, it seems that the pharmacological, which you’ve already stated, cannot be a substitute for cognitive learning but it’s also something that is going to be limiting in the sense that if you are bipolar, you never know when you’re going to have a manic episode. So, to put too much faith in it is just going to be wrongheaded. You’ve got to be taking these steps.
Willa: Right. The medication for bipolar never does advertise that it will get rid of your manic episodes. They can’t advertise that because they don’t. They reduce the frequency and that is a relief. They also reduce the intensity and that is also a relief. You still need to be paying attention. Most of us, when we start paying attention to what’s happening right before we have an episode, can see telltale signs and we can make early interventions, either to shut it off at the pass or to reduce the intensity.
For example, if I have an occasional sleepless night, I don’t worry about it. But if I have three in a row, then I say, “No, that’s it.” And I take medication for sleep. I don’t do that. Usually, I don’t need that because I maintain my sleep schedule pretty religiously. Occasionally, I do have that difficulty and I can cut that off early by intervening before I get sick.
Diane: Which is a blessing. There’s a vulnerability when we don’t sleep. You can also quite easily sleep into a kind of depressive state or even just a negative state. I’m so glad that you embraced it and talked about it to the extent that you did. I also want to talk about another thing that was quite prevalent in your book, and that’s humor. What about being funny? And what’s the role of being funny? How does it help? How does it hinder? What does it do?
Willa: I used humor in three different ways in the book. Originally, the first monologue was a coping mechanism. I had a traumatic experience, a disturbing experience. Trying to understand it, I turned it into a comedy routine that let me suppress all the scary parts which I did for years, and give me a way of understanding just coping with it. Later, it became a therapeutic device. If you can change the frame of thought, you can change its meaning.
That’s hard to do when you’re in the middle of something terrible but with a little time and distance, you can come to recognize the absurdity of some situations, the absurdity of leaning a rail in a hotel, 13 floors up and think, “If I fall, I might not kill myself. I might be paralyzed.” Besides, “Ouch.” When I laugh at what is tragic, it loses its power to hurt me.
And then finally, humor is a communication strategy. Comedians get to talk about stuff that we don’t normally talk about in public. When I make a joke about disturbing things, then the normies don’t get scared and call 9-1-1. People who have been there recognized that I have experienced what they have. It’s like a signal between spaces. They are not alone.
Diane: Robin Williams. I can just hear him when you bring that up. What is humor about? It’s always about sex or death. What else is funny? What else do we take so seriously that it needs that puncture to come? That is something that you truly demonstrate and are authentic throughout the book. You got invited to Costa Rica to the boutique resort to bless the bar. That was part of your job there, which you turned into a bar mitzvah, although you specified that mitzvah is slightly different. You did it. You blessed the bar. That’s correct, right?
Willa: Yes, we did. We did.
Diane: You talk about how there’s a lot of stories about creativity and justifying because this energy also makes you very creative. That doesn’t make it all positive. You’ve got this ball of creativity. How do you go about writing now? What’s your writing practice?
Willa: This last month, it’s just been disrupted because I was preparing to give a talk on the trauma of suicidal ideation. It was an hour-long and it just took over my life for a month. I was creative. Now, I work on bar tales. There’s so much going on in my life. I just need a chunk of my time. And so, I will write in the morning. I always write in the morning. Nine o’clock to 11 is my best writing time. And then, I work on the blog, or promotion, or whatever in the afternoon.
Diane: Can I ask? A lot of people say that sleep is when we’re tapped into our unconscious. Is that what you think about morning? Like it’s rawer what you’re experiencing then.
Willa: I think just my concentration is better. My anxiety is lower. I just need to be free. When I wrote the Monologues, there was no discipline to that, whatsoever. They just happened continuously, early in the morning, late at night. It didn’t matter. When I was writing a book that could be read. I had to pull it together and people think of mania as creative. It is, in a sense. There’s a discipline to creativity that a lot of people don’t recognize. Coming up with ideas and accomplishing things are two different things, take two different energies. So, I had to get healthy before I could publish a book.
Diane: How is it now that you have published a book? How’s the communication? How does it feel to be out there?
Willa: Sometimes, I feel exposed because people look at you funny when they find out you have bipolar.
Diane: Is there any embrace from others, too? An embrace saying, “Well, thank you. I’m glad you saw us.”
Willa: Somebody who was a tourist came through town, went to our local bookstore, Paulina Springs Bookstore. Let me put in a plug. He saw my book on the shelf, picked it up, and said, “This is what my brother is going through. He read the book. He found out that I lived here. He was so excited by that coincidence that he went to my website.
He sent me a note and we went back and forth a little bit. He talked with his brother and got him to a new psychiatrist and started exploring his diagnosis. Undiagnosed bipolar can kill you. When you’re being treated for depression instead, it nearly killed me. Yes, that’s huge. I will take funny looks. I will sort out my friends. People who don’t feel uncomfortable are not people I want to spend time with. It’s so worth it.
Diane: It’s so worth it, Willa, please. To admit and to embrace this is to be able to bring it out into the world in a place where it’s all too seldom seen. We have just a couple of minutes left. I wonder what the word forgiveness means to you in terms of self-forgiveness and also, as a former Episcopalian priest.
Willa: I guess maybe forgiveness is just rooted deep in the love of God that God has for each of us. Whatever that word means to you, God’s words, I believe that love is the energy of the universe. If the universe ultimately loves me, then I have to love myself. I have to forgive myself for the things that I’ve done, make amends as I can and love others in return. Give back. As I recognize my own imperfections, I have to make space for the imperfections of others.
Willa: That’s not a one-time deal, sometimes. The thing about trauma is the gift that keeps giving. There are some people I have forgiven over and over and over again because every once in a while, my brain serves up a very painful memory and I get to re-experience something that needs forgiving. So, I do and move on.
Diane: I think that’s exquisite. The definition of a friend is someone that you forgive a thousand times over and don’t keep count. That friend also has to be you. To talk with Willa Goodfellow, you’re on Twitter, Willa Goodfellow, and Instagram and Facebook, Willa Goodfellow, author of the book Prozac Monologues, A Voice from the Edge. We can’t thank you enough for being with us today.
The dedication of the book says it all. I wrote this for you, that means all of us. So, thank you, Willa Goodfellow. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for choosing a life that became a mantra in your book. And as you say, you’ve been through some scary times, looked over the edge, and come back. We’re very grateful for that. We’re going to look forward to Bar Tales. I can tell you that. Good luck writing that book.
We’re so happy that you’re still at work. I hope you get another dog. Let me thank you once again to our engineers, Matt Weidner and Aaron Keller, to our executive producer, Robert Chellino, and most of all, to you, our listeners. Remember to stay safe and fly the kite that goes up and down, right, Willa? Until next week. Thanks so much for dropping in.
Thank you so much for dropping in. Please join Diane Dewey again next Friday at 8 A.M. Pacific Time and 11 A.M. Eastern Time on the Voice America Variety Channel. We’ll see you then.