Will Morro's past 13 years have been filled with more ups and downs than most people experience in a lifetime. Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I when he was in college, he courageously recounts his battle with this illness in his debut memoir, Nobody Believes Crazy. For people who have Bipolar Disorder or know someone with it, Morro's book provides an exhilarating and, at times, terrifying account of what it was like to reside inside his mind.

Stay Thirsty Magazine was pleased to visit with Will Morro at his home in Chicago for these Five Questions.

STAY THIRSTY: In your memoir, Nobody Believes Crazy, you recount your life over the past 13 years where you endured six hospitalizations in mental institutions and nine psychiatric evaluations in emergency rooms for your Bipolar Disorder. How have those experiences impacted your views on life?

WILL MORRO: I can simplify the answer in one word: awareness. Patients in mental institutions get put through some pretty extreme scenarios. Yes, they can break you down and cripple how you perceive yourself. However, I've learned that hospital visits make you reflect and focus on an overall objective. They make you prepare for life after the psych ward. You learn to have a reason for your actions.

Working through my own thought process has increased my awareness and taught me to stay focused on goals, big or small. My actions, as a result, are now well thought out.

STAY THIRSTY: What is the message you are sending to young people who have Bipolar Disorder and what advice do you have for those recently diagnosed?

WILL MORRO: Don't worry if people don't understand you. Don't worry if they can't explain what it is you are doing. Don't worry about having to understand yourself or to explain yourself. If, however, you're having trouble explaining yourself to yourself then, and only then, should you worry. Take your time figuring yourself out, and in many cases, getting yourself back. Take your medication and trust the process. Keep your mind open, but don't forget to get rest when needed.

STAY THIRSTY: What should family members of people with Bipolar Disorder know and do?

WILL MORRO: Create a safe space for your family member to talk about himself/herself completely, especially regarding their Bipolar Disorder. Always be supportive and try not to play doctor under any circumstances. We deal with enough doctors on a regular basis and we don't need another one. Support could be needed at any time; and sometimes at the darkest times. If there's a hand reaching for help, extend a hand back.

STAY THIRSTY: How important is regular sleep and exercise in managing your illness? What happens to you when you get off schedule?

WILL MORRO: I don't share the same views or sticker answers that most doctors would like to tell you on this subject. One day, I drove to my uncle's cabin in New Hampshire. I showed up to visit my cousins and extended family. I slept on the couch for two and a half days. When I got up to leave, I apologized to my uncle for sleeping on his couch the whole time I was visiting. He said, "Will, don't ever apologize for that. You're a man. If you need to sleep, you sleep. If you need to eat, you eat." That was some of the best advice I ever got when dealing with Bipolar Disorder. Get regular sleep and exercise, but make it work with your personal schedule. It should be regular for you. At the end of the day, eat and sleep when you need to (but try to have a routine that it all correlates around it might help!).

STAY THIRSTY: From a patient's perspective, how could mental hospitals do a better job?

WILL MORRO: Hospitals are a tough egg to crack. Living in hospitals are one ring of hell, but they are a necessary evil. Hospitals, doctors, nurses and social workers are doing the best they can; efforts that I commiserate with. I believe hospitals, however, should always ask the patient if there is someone in their life they trust. If a patient doesn't trust the people the doctors are reaching out to, it's easy to assume they don't have your best interests at heart. 


All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.