Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Christine Perrin


I am at college five hours from my family, even though my little sister has a cancer the doctors tell us that, barring a miracle, will kill her within two years. Classes started for both of us this week. My mom would have put on gloves this morning to give her chemo pills that are too dangerous for skin before she got on her yellow bus. I’m working on getting into a routine so I take my meds on time too, but it’s been a stressful few days. Today, the A/C started leaking all over my bed and bookshelf a half hour before class. Picture brown water staining my pictures on the corkboard, overflowing the non-stick pot balanced under the leak, dripping in torrents through my carefully, categorically arranged brown shelves and seeping into my poor, dog-eared orange copy of C.S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory, before finally dribbling all over the mess of pillows I breathe all night. All of this in the exact time frame when I take my morning dose: Lexapro for depression and anxiety and Abilify to stabilize my mood and my propensity for mania and mild psychosis. I was off my stabilizer for around six months, but my depression is cyclical, my sister has cancer, and I had a manic episode a month ago: several hours where my brain wouldn’t shut off, seeing nonsensical imagery branded with neon, chaotic emotions, hearing an endless, frenetic babble of reasoning and screaming. An episode is my brain overheating as I try to process an overload of distress. It’s my brain pummeling itself against God, future, and my paralyzing fear. The long and short is that this summer was a good time to go back on Abilify.