It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

— R.E.M.

Deaths are piling up exponentially throughout the globe. Most of the country is on lockdown. And many of us are experiencing extreme claustrophobia and high anxiety. But a cohort of mentally ill Americans are doin’ just fine.

“I find that many people with chronic anxiety or depression are faring pretty well during this pandemic,” says Dr. Eric Schieber, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist who sees patients in Chicago. “They have known mental suffering and have built a kind of resistance to it.”

My sentiments…


It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

— R.E.M.

Deaths are piling up exponentially throughout the globe. Most of the country is on lockdown. And many of us are experiencing extreme claustrophobia and high anxiety. But a cohort of mentally ill Americans are doin’ just fine.

“I find that many people with chronic anxiety or depression are faring pretty well during this pandemic,” says Dr. Eric Schieber, a psychiatrist and addiction specialist who treats patients in Chicago. “They have known mental suffering and have built a kind of resistance to it.”

My sentiments…


I see my doctor once a week and I’ll give you the advice he always gives me: “Don’t worry about things that are out of your control.” Worrying for the sake of worrying will get you nowhere. It will just make you feel worse.

Good advice. As we all know, across all 50 states, the coronavirus pandemic is growing. There are more than 6,420 confirmed cases of the disease at press time. There are more than 100 American fatalities. Times Square in New York — the crossroads of the world — is virtually vacant. The border between the US and…


“Where do you go now when you’re only 15?”

— Rancid, “Radio,” off the 1994 album Let’s Go

In the spring of 1995 — March 9 to be exact — I experienced my very first punk show. It was Rancid with the Lunachicks at the Metro in Chicago. I was 15. And in that crowd of about 1,000, I felt like I belonged. I had found my tribe. It was a moment that would transport me on a decades-long excursion, one that finds my punk rock heart still beating now and forever.

Show flyers from the Chicago punk scene in the late ’90s.

For me and many others with bipolar, music…


I’m Bipolar and Now I’m Having “PETE Traumatic Stress Disorder”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg and the author, September 2019

Pete Buttigieg’s Historic Bid for the White House

I never understood the absolute excitement and joy of politics until I became involved in Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign. I’ve been a disciple of Mayor Pete ever since he announced he was running for president last spring. Pete was the unity candidate this cycle and his campaign embodied optimism, it fostered idealism, and sparked imagination. It represented transformational generational change. Pete was the HOPE candidate for 2020. He challenged us to be FOR something, not just AGAINST. …


I have no thirst for alcohol. Today is my sober anniversary. Eight straight years of zero alcohol and zero drugs. I cannot fathom how I made it to this point. That’s two stints in college. My journey offers hope for anyone recently facing the challenge of staying sober.

I used to drink because I thought it felt good. But alcohol is actually a depressant and now I’ve realized I was depressed for the better part of my 20s. I was undiagnosed bipolar and self-medicating my ailment. I’m 40 now, single, and stable with my mood disorder and also my sobriety.


Matt and Kim perform at Riot Fest 2018 in Chicago. Photo by Conor Bezane

Music is an intensely powerful and hellaciously galvanizing force. It fuels our existence, feeds the mind, and scorches the soul.

Some of us get goosebumps when we hear a favorite chorus, a dynamic solo, or a particular lyric that resonates with us. And ultimately music links itself indelibly to our memories.

In my case, I heard some live music recently that brought back some intense memories of an old boyfriend, who is no longer with us.

Matt and Kim are a dance-rock duo from Brooklyn — Matt Johnson plays keyboards and sings, while Kim Schifino keeps the beat with her…


Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago last Wednesday. Photo by the author.

We are facing a massive mental health and addiction catastrophe in this country, and few 2020 candidates have built an action plan more robust than the treatment strategy proposed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg last week.

Mental health and addiction are often linked. This is a concept that is just coming into focus in non-scientific circles. It’s called “dual diagnosis” and few beyond the realm of inside psychology understand it. Pete Buttigieg does. It’s just one aspect of his mental health plan.

Buttigieg unveiled a highly ambitious, aspirational and achievable plan for mental health and addiction last Friday. …


Overcrowding at the Border Patrol Station in McAllen, TX in June 2019. Photo: Department of Homeland Security, Inspector General’s Office

A humanitarian crisis continues to burn at the U.S./Mexico border with no signs of relief, images of abuse, splashed across our screens for months now. And we’re not even seeing the worst of it. Our government is hiding it.

Thousands of people are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries in Central America. It is their right to apply for asylum in the United States, but the American justice system is failing them, showing them no mercy. …


I’m gay. I have bipolar disorder. And I’m a recovering alcoholic. To put it succinctly, I am other.

What is it like to be other? The answer highlights how far we’ve come as a society.

On this 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, I’d like to point out how rapidly gay acceptance has come in just a few years.

One of the most remarkable lessons of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s unforeseen marvel of a presidential campaign is the acceptance he has won as a gay man. Buttigieg is being embraced by Americans of almost all demographics. Mayor Pete has carved out…

Conor Bezane

Conor Bezane is a writer who covers mental health. He’s contributed to MTV News, AOL, and VICE. His first book The Bipolar Addict is available now on Amazon.

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