Publications

I spend the majority of my writing time revising my debut memoir entitled Everything You Can't Control. The story chronicles how a mixed manic/depressive episode derailed my life and relationships and how—by reevaluating my beliefs and examining choices I’d made—I fought my way back to reality and self-acceptance. The book tackles mental health, recovery, discrimination, and the way we see others as well as the empathy and kindness we show them. Read an excerpt.

Woman shouting into a megaphone with a wry look on her face.

How to Talk Like a Normie: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Autistic

The answer to “How are you?” should never be the truth. When a person greets you, they’re not actually listening. Respond “Fine” or “Good” and reciprocate the question, ignoring their response.On Mondays, the follow up to your greeting should be, “How was your weekend?” When someone asks this, always say, “It was great!” and mention…

Photo from above of several couches and sofa chairs in a circle.

Talking About Suicide Helps Us Stay Alive

One winter evening in early 2019, I relaxed on a blue sofa as about six people trickled into a dimly lit room for that night’s peer support meeting, which I was leading. After greeting each other and grabbing coffee or flavored seltzer, everyone joined the circle of comfy couches and chairs. I began the session…

Text reads "The Stability Network."

Stability Network Profile

Marisa had quite a start to her first job out of college. After teaching middle school for a week, she began having delusions and paranoia, not recognizing and becoming suspicious of those around her. She later found out she was experiencing an episode of manic psychosis and received a diagnosis of bipolar I with psychotic…

The Former Teachers’ Club Podcast: Episode 22 Teachers Should Take Their Personal Days (from a mental health advocate)

During this episode Leah and Robin chat with Marisa Russello! Marisa is a former teacher who now works as a peer recovery specialist at a local not-for-profit where she supports individuals improving their mental health and wellness. Marisa is a writer and is working on finishing her first book! Her book, which is a memoir,…

This Is What a Manic Episode Feels Like

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes unusual mood swings, ranging from extreme highs (known as manic episodes) to extreme lows (called depressive episodes). There are three types of bipolar disorder, bipolar I is marked by full manic episodes while bipolar II is defined by a pattern of depressive and hypomanic—revved up energy,…

9-Things-I-Learned...Megan-Stielstra

9 Things I Learned in Megan Stielstra’s Memoir Course

When I read The Wrong Way to Save Your Life by Megan Stielstra, I knew I had to apply for her intensive year-long memoir course, the first of its kind offered through Catapult. These intensive “generator” courses are offered every so often for writing memoirs, essay collections, novels, and poetry. There are even generator classes aimed at specific…

Black headphones hanging on a microphone

Audio Showcase

Our competitive 12-month memoir generator course is designed to help students create and refine a submission-ready draft. Alongside a group of talented peers and under the guidance of an accomplished mentor, writers spend a year together building their books from the ground up. As part of their graduation showcase, our 2021 generator students have been…

What’s it Like to be Diagnosed With Autism as an Adult? New Research Takes a Closer Look

While autism research continues to evolve, access to assessments may pose a barrier to diagnosis, and cause many autistic individuals to be overlooked in childhood. A study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders found that the age of diagnosis was related to decreased quality of life and increased levels of autistic traits in adults. Continue reading…

Panic in the Freezer Aisle

I can’t go to the grocery store anymore. I’m hiding in the car, crying without a tissue to wipe my snot and swiping away my feelings on my phone because I couldn’t survive shopping in a damn supermarket. My whole life I’ve lived with OCD and anxiety, but THIS, this was new. Continue Reading on…

13 Ridiculous Questions...Bipolar

13 Ridiculous Questions People Ask About My Bipolar

And how I’d like to respond. Are you sure you’re bipolar? You seem so nice… Continue reading on Buzzfeed

Caution! Hypersensitive Bipolar Lady Wearing Earplugs

Marisa and her husband were trapped on a flight at 36,000 feet when she had a mental breakdown. They’d hoped for an escape from her depression and anxiety; instead, stress and lack of sleep triggered her descent into a mixed state with psychosis. A mixed state, considered the most dangerous type of bipolar episode, is…

How LGBTQ+ Disabled People Are Celebrating Virtual Pride

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many in-person Pride events have been postponed or turned virtual. And while I do miss the experience of dressing in an all-rainbow outfit and celebrating in person with my friends—especially because a few of my close friends have come out since in the last year—the move to virtual events offers an opportunity…