Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Schroeder’


“A deeply personal account of the difficulties faced by people suffering from mental illness… Schroeder’s brutally honest memoir reveals the extraordinary effort required to take control of one’s mental and emotional health.” –Publishers Weekly

“A riveting and painfully honest account, Beautiful Wreck not only demonstrates the importance of humor and perseverance in the face of mental illness, but also affirms the power of self-reinvention.” -Kaitlin Bell Barnett, author of Dosed: The Medication Generation Grows Up

“I highly recommend this candid memoir, particularly for Schroeder’s strong voice that successfully balances life’s darkest moments with humor.” Persephone Magazine

“Brave and relentless, a courage to do it all that astounds one. To write it all down. But that is what I have come to expect from Stephanie Schroeder. I have known her some 25 years and watched what she has done with her life: journalism, law; wonderful what she has been through; to hell and back again. A survivor. Always with a sense of humor, a jauntiness that says to hell with ordinary opinion.”  -Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics

Written with humor, insight, perception, courage–a much needed work from a talented writer.” -Joan Nestle, activist, archivist & author of A Restricted Country and A Fragile Union

The memoir is now de rigeur, a rite of passage for middle-aged writers. To make one’s story stand out, it must stand up—to scrutiny, to deconstruction, to other people’s revisionism. Beautiful Wreck stands up—it’s the raw, honest, balls out (ovaries out?), in-your-face lesbian version of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces without the lying and posturing. Schroeder takes us, in real time and retrospectively, on the trip through “comfort suicide”—the belief that death can be an answer to depression. She explicates how normative emotional pain so severe it makes you want to die can become. Fortunately, three attempts with no success were the charm; that dark round-trip down the river Styx brings Schroeder back irrevocably to life at its deepest, fullest and most inspirational. This is what survival is, and Schroeder lays it bare. -Victoria A. Brownworth, award-winning author, Too Queer: Essays from a Radical Life and Coming Out of Cancer

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imageof-bottle-of-pillsI had a really bad week: stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and really thick brain fog. I thought maybe I was getting the flu, but my symptoms didn’t mature into flu and I couldn’t understand why brain fog would be a part the deal.

I was looking at my situation trying to figure it out, and thought to myself, “Wow, this really feels like transitioning onto a new medication.” And then it occurred to me: I had been taking a different generic Lamictal than my usual Teva. Yeah, I know some folks hate Teva with a passion, but it’s what I started with a decade ago and remains very good to me.

I also know many doctors and pharmacists tell us all the time that all generics are equal – they are not. This is, I believe, a major reason so many of us who want to try to maintain a steady medication regime have horrible side-effects, adverse reactions, and generally bad experiences with various medications: the crummy generics and constant switching of brands every time we refill a script.

Thankfully found in my cupboard a partial bottle of Teva brand Lamotrigine. But, I was so sick from the shitty “Lamictal” I wasted an entire day sleeping off the horrid effects of the other stuff.

Feeling much better now.

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Standing on the precipice of tipping over into a half-century of living, I joyfully look forward to my 51st birthday on September 10th, which also marks World Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s been nine solid years years since I stopped my repeated attempts to kill myself. I am happier now than ever. A young friend is here from Australia via Toronto to celebrate, and, with my girlfriend, prepare a birthday dinner for a fun, private evening.


anniversarybook11But, I still can remember when I was in the slough of despond for so many long years. I remember how it was to feel helpless and in dangerous despair. I never want to go there again. The good news is I no longer find myself in the very dark spaces I once occupied. In fact, I feel very distanced from that person who was not-me for 42 years.

More here: World Suicide Prevention Day and Me | Fifty is the New Fifty.

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Book cover


  1. Katy
  2. Lisa
  3. Iliana 
  4. Kitty
  5. Ann 
  6. Megan
  7. Jane 
  8. Doris
  9. DeAnna
  10. Sylwia

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Reader Responses
“If anybody is looking for Prozac Nation 15 years later, please, please check out Beautiful Wreck: Sex, Lies & Suicide by Stephanie Schroeder. I read it in one day and for anybody who…suffers from depression, anxiety problems, and/or bi-polar this book will reaffirm and comfort you.”

“…this is such an important message you have to share! By being brave enough to open your heart to speak about your experiences, many people can be helped and healed. A book like this, coming from a place of bravery and honesty can help people of all backgrounds.”

“Just got off the phone with a young gay patient to whom I recommended your book. He saw his own situation in your experience with that doc and it “hit me like a ton of bricks.” He said he realized it isn’t his condition keeping him from doing his own thing, it’s the negative caretaker in his life telling him he can’t. He’s finally agreed to therapy with medication, something his lover has discouraged. Just so you know. Mega thanks. This is huge.”

“Hi, I just had to write you..I spent the night reading your book from beginning to end and WOW, you are such a strong, beautiful woman with such a powerful story to tell. Thank you, Steph the story of you is so touching…so many of us can relate to what you’ve been through.. Congrats and…keep up the good work sista!!!!!”

“Illuminating book. Amazing. I saw far too much of myself in it and had to take a long walk this morning. I hope you continue to write about your life for those of us who can’t, whether we lack the talent, courage, or for other reasons. Hugs. Thanks again for the book.”

“This is an amazing book I’m reading for the second time. I have ADHD and a learning disorder so it’s hard for me to read front to cover but I am hooked. Hat’s and shirts off to you Ms. Stephanie Schroeder, your words, wisdom and honesty bring much inspiration and enlightenment.”

“Just finished your book. Amazing trip that I unfortunately RAN through – started last night and am now done… Hungry for more of your writing. Even though there were many passages that were terribly hard to read because they were just too vivid and I could breathe them myself. Brava!”

“I think that it is a very brave thing to do to write a memoir like that. To tell your story just the way it happened without editing any “ugly” parts (like suicide attempts) away. Because then it would not be YOUR story, it would have been an edited version!  It was so inspirational. I felt that the key message was that it is never too late to get help and find the happiness and love that you deserve!”

“Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your book! I’m glad you brought so many things to light… really gave me some insight into some of my own relationships! ”



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background_with_clocksI’m having a major resurgence of symptoms of Tourette Syndrome (TS) in a way I haven’t experienced since I was a teenager.

The Abilify and Klonopin I take pretty much mutes the Tourette as well as controls my Bipolar. But, with my recent change in health – and pharmacy – care, I got a batch of really crummy generic Clonazepam. I’ve always taken generic, never the holy grail of the poll with the actual “K”, but this stuff is shit. TEVA! Need I say more?

I don’t know if I’ver ever blogged about TS. I used to write and publish about my experiences with it and I thought it was the worst thing I could ever have when I was a teenager. Then I thought Bipolar was the worst thing to have. Now I don’t think of either as negative, but ticcing is physically painful and disruptive, and not a good disruptive, at least for me and at least not right now.

More on this later.

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50 bd candlesWriting my annual birthday/World Suicide message is getting “old.” I guess because I no longer find myself in the very dark spaces I once occupied. I feel so distanced from that person who was not-me for 42 years.

Now, at 50 years of age, and living happily, healthily, and according to my own needs and desires, I am no longer at the mercy of an unpredictable and invisible illness that torments and controls me. Rather, I control my illness.

It’s still very poignant to me, reflecting in my 50th year on World Suicide Prevention Day that I survived. And that my 37 year old, 39 year old, and 42 year old selves felt the need to kill the pain by killing the person. MY person. But that was the Stephanie who was not-me.

Folks ask me if I regret those 42 years. I don’t and won’t live in regret, or lament regularly what I did in the past. I will live for the moment and take everything day by day, eagerly approaching life — and myself — creatively and with great care.  Because I AM me.

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Here’s the image my tattoo artist simplified…

tree w hands











..to apply this tattoo to my forearm


Stephs Tattoo

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Stephanie Schroeder photo QMI’ve been trying to get in touch with my former therapist for several weeks. I’m feeling quite healthy and happy, more than ever, and I just want to thank her and let her know.

I’ve recovered from bipolar disorder. I’m not even going to deal with “remission” because I’m not feeling like I could even go to the darkest places I have already been ever again under any circumstances.

We’ve been exchanging texts and brief telephone messages, my former therapist and I, but I’m really feeling the need to speak to her directly. To tell her that eight years of CBT have really worked and  I’m really well and quite happy even though the day I came in to see her for the first time I never thought I could be even content.

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Mental-Health-PriorityI left my job yesterday for many reasons, but a big one is so I will soon have various healthcare options that I did not qualify for while employed fulltime and making “too much” money. This country and its healthcare system is FUCKED UP!

My job was making me “crazy” with the pressure and stress, but was also getting in the way of too many opportunities both literary and healthcare-related.

I’m sending in my documentation to Bristol-Myers Squibb today and I’ll keep ya posted on that front as well as my travels and travails with the mental healthcare system as a writer not making “too-much” money at all.

Thanks, everyone, for your support!

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