Thursday, June 9, 2011

Live at the Bipolar Conference

Pittsburgh, Wed, 6:40 AM. In another hour, I’ll be registering for the 9th International Conference on Bipolar Disorder. The conference is hosted by UPitt and the Western Psychiatric Institute and is held every two years. I’ve been attending since 2001. I arrived in town yesterday afternoon, following a brief family visit back east. I’m looking forward to hearing conversation on the DSM-5, which I have reviewed in a good many of my blog posts here, under such headings as “Light a Match and Start Over.”

A good many of the experts who had a hand in the DSM-5 will be at the conference, including David Kupfer, who heads up the DSM-5 Task Force and who has been one of the Conference organizers since its inception.

I arrived here yesterday afternoon. I checked into my hotel, and in the elevator bumped into Michael Berk of the University of Melbourne. I pointed to a strange looking cylindrical bag slung over my shoulder. “You won’t believe this,” I said. “I’ve got a didgeridoo in here.”

In my room, I settled down by honking into my didge for a half an hour. I play it into a pillow to ensure no one calls 911. The room has been comped by the Conference organizers by virtue of the Mogens Schou Award for Public Service I received four years earlier. Real towels in my room. This is the life.

In my real life on the road, every room is always right across from the elevator and the ice machine.

Later, as I’m strolling through the lobby, I happen to bump into Muffy Walker, also from San Diego, this year’s Mogens Schou Public Service honoree. Muffy is the founder and prime mover of the International Bipolar Foundation, established a few years ago and already making an impact. “We don’t have nearly enough San Diego representatives in the Public Service category,” I joke to Muffy. “I’m going to file a complaint.”

This is John McManamy, live from Pittsburgh ....

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