Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fearless: An Essay On Why I Am My Own Best Friend

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't — you're right.” 
― Henry Ford

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My name is Susan Marie Andersen. 

I am a white, 35-year-old female of Norwegian descent.

I was born on October 23, 1980. 

I have one brother and one mother. My Dad has passed on.

I am a writer. I am a musician. 

I have an overly active urge to help other Beings.

I have a puppy. She's a rescue German Shepherd mix. Her name is Sota.

I have Bipolar Type I Disorder.

I just spent five days locked in a psych ward.


I drove myself to Regions Hospital on Thursday, June 30, 2016. I did not want to go. I was doing it for my Mother. She was certain I was sick. With Bipolar, it can be hard to tell. Now it is Monday (early Tuesday, in fact), and I am once again "free" (back in the Real World).

But, I do not feel free. I feel...

I feel...

I do not know what I feel.

I am back on Lithium (I prefer Lamictal, but I will put my trust in my doctors). I do not like Lithium because it has odd side effects (acne / weight gain / can't poop) and it actually has an opposite effect for me. Lithium makes me feel "too creative" and I find myself up in the middle of the night writing, as I am right now.

On Thursday, I was driving in my car. I was driving in my VW Beetle Convertible. I was driving in my VW Beetle Convertible back to New York. I want to live in New York. In my mind, I already live there.

In my mind, I am already a New Yorker. 

I have a gym membership and I already paid rent on my place for July. I have my Chase bank in the Bronx and I am almost in grad school. I did an interview, figured out how to hopefully get into Fall Semester...

I want to get an MFA in Creative Writing at the City College of New York. 

On my way to New York, I stopped at a Flying J in Wisconsin. I spent time taking care of Sota. I took a shower (it was a "Travel Center" where truckers go). I spent several hours there, thinking. Earlier that day I had hastily packed up my car with the bare necessities (guitar / puppy) and I was on my way. Since I am technically broke, I brought my ceramic piggy bank to break along the way. When I broke it at the Flying J, I had $14 and some change.

I am really good at living off of change.

As I exited the gas station to get back on the highway, I realized I had gone the wrong way. I was driving 94 West instead of 94 East. But instead of fixing it. I just kept driving.

I keep driving back toward "home" even though "home" feels like the other way.

As I drove, I thought about the concept of Integrity, and how I always do what I say I am going to do. And that day, on Thursday, June 30th, 2016, I had set up an appointment for me and my mom to talk to my therapist. Her name is Mary. So I drove back toward my "home" and toward my 5PM therapy appointment.

But I am late.

I hate being late. Because if you have Integrity, and you do what you say you are going to do, you show up to appointments on time.

Mary tells my mom and then tells me over the phone that we cannot do this. We cannot do an appointment over the phone. And then Mary tells my mom and then tells me that I need to drive myself to Regions Hospital.

Shit, I say to myself (and to Sota). Looks like we should've taken 94 East instead. 

And, in my mind, we should have. We should have stayed on the Highway toward New York. Because then, right now, instead of writing this to You, I'd probably be reading a book for a Literature class. A class that I was going to try to get into for July.

But instead, I went to the Psych Ward.

Regions Hospital is at the Tippy Top of excellence for Mental Health, so there's that. But, being locked inside cement and glass is still being locked inside cement and glass. Humans need fresh air. And sunshine. And some of us "need" cigarettes.

While I was in the hospital. I wore a patch / took pills / paced the floor / slept on a rubber mattress and wore hospital socks and scrubs. My cold sore got worse. I've been pretty stressed out lately. My stress got worse. I did some nice coloring. Coloring helps combat stress.

Stress kills. 

Art heals. 

Corporate America made my blood pressure spike.

I need to take a different path. I need to take the 94 East path.

I need to be Creative and Make Art in order to stay Sane.

I think I can therefore I know I can.

Just like Henry Ford said.


Now, I am home, away from the hospital. 

I am free, but I am not free. 

I am not free because I am here and not there.

Not the psych ward, but New York.

I should be there.

I am a New Yorker.

I am a writer, and a musician.

I have Bipolar Type I Disorder [and I see that as a gift, not a burden].

My name is Susan Marie Andersen.

This is my Graduate School Personal Statement.

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Susan Marie Andersen
aka Susan B. Agony
July 5, 2016


  1. Hi Susan! I just read this and you truly are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing this--I am not sure if I told you this but my mother has had to deal with mental health issues for 15 years. I really appreciate your voice on this matter. Speaking out on this topic is so important. I love the part about it being a gift and not a burden.:) Take Care of You! XO. Carisa P.

  2. Thank you, Carisa ❤️💚💙👸🏼