Ten pounds of weird in a five-pound bag.

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My goofy-ass mug (photo credit: Matthew Maniaci)

Hi, my name is Matthew Maniaci, I’m 34, and I’m a huge nerd. I enjoy playing board games with friends, going to sci-fi conventions, and playing with my four cats. Also, apparently I can’t write a short article to save my life.

I was always an awkward kid in grade school. I would often spend my recesses walking around the blacktop and just…thinking. The teachers were a bit worried about me. In sixth grade, with all the changes and hormones, I started getting depressed. I got so depressed, in fact, that toward the end of the year, at age 12, I began feeling suicidal. This culminated in an incident during a school rally where I snuck away from my class and began beating my head against a brick wall. …

We have developed into a nation where emergency expenses are paid by the kindness of strangers, and that is awful.

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Photo by Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash

I opened my email this afternoon and saw that an acquaintance of mine had started a new project on DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose is a fundraising platform for teachers to pay for supplies and technology for their classrooms. My acquaintance works in a school that is 98% black in a lower-income neighborhood. For this project, she’s fundraising for an iPad for her third graders.

I’ve given to this person’s fundraisers before when I had some money to spare. I believe in giving back, both to nonprofits (especially since I work in the fundraising industry) and to individuals in my circles (I have a friend that connects me to individuals in need of a small amount of money to pay a bill or emergency expense). …

Why Senator Hawley is an embarrassment to my state and the nation.

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Photo by Jose M. on Unsplash

First off, I want to say that the title of this piece doesn’t do it justice. I’m fucking pissed off at my senator.

Josh Hawley was the first senator to come out publicly as an objector to the electoral college results. He was immediately followed by Ted “I’m an opportunistic piece of shit” Cruz and 11 other senators.

Josh and Ted both have presidential ambitions, and having the Trump Train on their side is politically advantageous to those ambitions, so there is an element of logic here. Harnessing the MAGA magic that Trump did in 2016 could propel them to the presidency in 2024 or beyond. …

And how it took a global pandemic to drive this change forward.

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Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

COVID-19 changed everything for everyone. Gone are the days where we can go out to eat at restaurants or see our friends and family without worrying about whether we will become deathly ill or inflict that illness on our loved ones. Shopping for groceries has become even more stressful with the specter of illness hovering over everything.

One major thing that has changed with the pandemic is the doctor’s office. Routine things, like getting a checkup or going to the dentist, are now nerve-wracking affairs where everyone in the waiting room is suspect. …

How a metaphor and an inside joke turned into a mindfulness exercise.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

I live with bipolar disorder and have since I was in middle school. My life with mental illness has been difficult at times, but I have spent a significant amount of energy getting to a point where I am more or less healthy. I take my meds, I try to eat well and take care of my physical body, and I engage in self-care.

As someone who lives with mental illness and has done a decent amount of reading on the subject, I am very familiar with the concept of spoon theory. …

Why being proud of yourself should take a backseat to being nice to yourself.

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Photo by Christiana Rivers on Unsplash

All my life, I have dealt with low self-esteem. I have never been particularly proud of myself or my achievements, despite having many interesting or difficult things that I’ve accomplished in my life. I’ve been like this since middle school, which is when I first encountered bullying and my mental illness began to manifest.

So, throughout middle school, high school, and college, I did my best to work on my self-esteem. It was really hard, and I got nowhere the whole time. …

How several of my holiday traditions have been upended by the pandemic.

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I have written extensively about how important self-care is to mental health. And, with the onset of winter and the holiday season in full swing, there is a lot of depression and anxiety this time of year. The COVID-19 pandemic and the political situation are only exacerbating everything.

So, with everything going on, self-care is incredibly important right now. We are all doing our best to take care of ourselves and keep up our mental health as best as we can during these crazy times. …

Or: the many challenges in trying to be well.

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Photo by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash

I am in the process of starting a new medication for my bipolar disorder. It’s been a hell of a ride so far. While I’m not a medical professional, I wanted to share my experiences thus far in the process.

Anyone who takes medications for a mental illness can testify that those medications tend to do funny things to your body. Because they typically work to alter your brain chemicals so you can feel less depressed, anxious, manic, etc., they often have interesting side effects on your mood and other mental and emotional patterns, in addition to physical side effects.

The most famous issue is the fact that some drugs cause suicidal thoughts in teens and young adults, running counter to their intended effects. The medication I used to take has a range of interesting potential side effects, including everything from feeling dizzy or drowsy to weight gain to high cholesterol to low white blood cell counts. …

When men with big hands need big gloves.

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Photo by Anton on Unsplash

So, I’m a man, and all men come in different shapes and sizes. Some men are tall, some are short. Some are chubby, and some are jacked. I’m fairly average in most ways except one: I have big hands.

As the owner of big hands, I require extra-large gloves. Generally speaking, standard gloves don’t fit me, and can actually constrict my fingers and get all pinchy and uncomfortable. So, extra-large gloves it is.

I tend to go through a lot of gloves in my typical year. Not as many as some, but enough that it’s more economical for me to buy gloves in packs of 36 to save money. …

Nothing says “greatest healthcare in the world” like $75 for four pills

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Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

America’s healthcare system is broken. It’s fairly evident to most people that we pay more for healthcare than pretty much every other developed nation but get less for it and have worse outcomes. I’m a fan of tearing the whole thing down and implementing single-payer so I can feel safe if I lose my job, but that’s not necessarily what I’m here to debate right now.

No, today I just want to highlight an example of how broken our healthcare system really is, using my own experience over the past few days.

I’m bipolar. It’s just a fact of life, and I’m not embarrassed by it. I take my meds every day as part of my self-care routine. That is also a fact of life for me. …


Matthew Maniaci

Living with and talking about mental illness in an open, honest way to help break down stigma. I was one of those suicidal kids you read about. He/him/his.

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