Bil Browning

On being bipolar at the DNCC

Filed By Bil Browning | August 28, 2008 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bipolar, bipolar triggers, Democratic National Convention, DNCC, hate mail, nasty-grams

I don't talk much about being bipolar. Bruce has talked about it a couple of times in his posts, but I try not to bring it up. It's just not something that I like to advertise because, like it or not, it makes people think less of me.

bipolar artwork_web.jpgBut this morning I woke up to several nasty-grams from people upset that we didn't have coverage of yesterday's LGBT caucus and direct reporting from the floor last night. One person wrote:

"We donated $3000 for sub-par reporting that's later than everyone else's. I want my money back."

I stayed at the hotel all day yesterday. It was a bad "bipolar day" for me. I tend towards the manic side of bipolar as versus the depression side. After not sleeping very much, being stressed and generally constantly excited, it caught up with me yesterday. I stayed home and took my emergency meds and tried to catch up with blog posts I still hadn't finished.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me; that's not the point at all. Instead, I want to ask for your understanding that sometimes, well, my mind gets the best of me. I can't concentrate, my mind whirls faster than I can and when it's really bad I hear voices. The Ed Team here know my issues and they cover for me on my bad days. (Especially Alex, who has already taken it on himself to let some of the other contributors know to bug him next week so I can spend a couple days decompressing.) Thankfully, it usually only lasts for a day or so. This morning, after resting all day yesterday, I feel 100% better and I can catch my own thoughts again.

So for those of you who are pissed at our "sub-par reporting," I can only say that I'm doing the best that I can. I chose to attend the convention even though I knew it would be rough for me. With less than five and a half hours of sleep each night (some nights a lot less), a constant go-go-go schedule, the excitement of hanging out with a few celebrities (c'mon, in Indiana there are about 2 celebrities in the whole state), the confusion of figuring out where to go and how to get there and the general atmosphere and attitude, sometimes it just gets to me.

Thankfully, Pam and Terrance have been helping with a lot of the political coverage since they have press credentials and readily available internet access. Since I was invited to most of the LGBT-specific events, I've tried to cover those since it would be duplicating their content. Jerame has been a godsend with his willingness to work with me and cover all of the Pepsi Colosseum insider stuff. Other friends, like Izzy Foreman from 360i/MSNBC was kind enough to share their video of the last night's speeches so Projectors would have it ASAP since I couldn't make it last night. Bruce has also been extremely helpful in talking to me and sharing his tips for calming myself down.

But in my own defense, I want to point out that while our coverage has usually come hours after other bloggers, since I'm not a credentialed member of the press I'm not allowed to take my laptop into a lot of the areas some of the others can. (And I'm not willing to just leave it outside!) Our coverage has to wait until I can take the train a half hour back to the hotel and get to the computer. The places I can take my laptop, I have. I've also tried to take as much video as possible on my camera, but that means I have to wait to get back to download it to the laptop and then upload it to YouTube.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that those e-mails this morning (11 of them in all) really upset me. I'm doing the best that I can. If that's not good enough, I'm sorry.

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Wilson46201 | August 28, 2008 1:35 PM

I had noticed on Facebook you'd installed that application on your iPhone. I was wondering how you'd managed to spend the time in Denver screwing around with your software. Good! You were being productive, in your own way...

Bil, I'm sorry you had a bad day of it yesterday. I take a bipolar med, though I have never had a manic episode, it does seem to help with the depression (of which I have rich helpings).

You guys are doing a stellar job there in Denver. The national convention hasn't been as friendly to bloggers as their advance claims suggested. And you've been laboring under the burden of being unofficial. I hope the next convention learns from the mistakes of this one, but for the time being I am very glad you guys took the time, expense and pain to be in Denver for us.

You know what?

If someone has a complaint about their donation being squandered I will happily replace their funds with some of my own.

I can't imagine what it is like to be caught up with thousands of people in substantial heat working 12 hour days with a constant drumbeat of frenetic energy, chaos, security issues, lines, and accepting the responsiblity to report back every moment in a timely manner - let alone deal with bipolar issues at the same time.

Take care of yourself. If some jackass wants their $20 back, I will replace it with the student loan money I will soon have to begin repaying.

Thank you for doing your best and being our eyes and ears in the vortex of power.

Not being "credentialed press" for most of these events must make it really difficult to cover. So, maybe the coverage during the convention is behind some of the credentialed bloggers...big deal.

I didn't donate money to you guys specifically hoping for any sort of coverage. I thought it was more important that all of you be in the mix here and I look forward to future content, contributors, and guest posts from contacts you've made at the convention. I hope that ends up being the long-term benefit of your trip.

Honestly, you guys provide so much great (and free) content that I would've donated money for you guys to take a vacation, if you'd asked. :)

I'm not upset with you, because financially, I'm strapped and I couldn't send you anything. I'm happy that we are informed at a much better level then in 2004. We have seen good stuff out of you and Jerame, but if I'm not mistaken, you asked for money for Marti as well and she's only posted one thing since she arrived. What gives?

I haven't seen anything mentioned about Rick Stafford being given the Jane Fee Award. Do you or Jerame catch that? Marti should have covered that.

I thought we were funding Marti's attendance as a delegate more than as "press"?

True, but as a person who has been there and done that, a delagate's only true job is to cast their vote for their candidate. The rest of the time, they attend the state's breakfast, go to caucus meetings, go to caucus lunches, hold signs in the audience, take pictures, talk with politicians, scream, hollar and go to parties. Nice gig, if you can afford it. Marti deserves to be there, but she does have a few moments to post things, as others have.


I attempted to donate money twice to no avail. I guess I'm technologically behind the times. I sure had no trouble at the Obama donation site. There's is perfected and that's a good omen. I don't know how anyone could construe some sort of entitlement for helping you guys out. I am pleased you are there and it lets some of us who can't be there live vicariously through you adventures and misadventures. Do not let the criticism, which is totally unwarrented, get you down. Have a good time and bring back incredible memories.

Yes, I know. It's their not there.

Wilson46201 | August 28, 2008 2:24 PM

Will any LCRs be reporting on all the exciting LGBT events at the GOP Convention in Minneapolis or will they be furtively sending Blackberry messages from stalls in the Twin Cities Airport?

I think that you all have been doing a fine job there in Denver. You're getting video and we're reading about what's going on back here. I don't really see the problem.

Especially compared to some newspapers that are spending (from what I've read) $10/K a day just for print journalists to be there (I'm assuming TV is paying more). You all are doing the work with fewer resources and we're getting your perspective all the same.

I suppose some people expected to read this coverage alone and know everything about what's going on there, which isn't realistic. They should be using an RSS reader to follow this site's coverage along with other news sources to get a variety of perspectives. Like normal human beings do.

Speaking of RSS readers, we're up 100 since Monday. Pageviews are also up. I received this yesterday:

Great job with the convention coverage. I’ve been enjoying it!

And this:

btw I've been following your convention coverage and it's been interesting. Thanks for keeping that up!

I just talked to someone else on the phone the other day who mentioned that they were enjoying the coverage as well.

Consider all these the positive emails that never got sent because people who like something don't complain.

That with the extra RSS readers... I mean, that's like a big deal. That's bigger than sending an email. Anyone can send an email, but to commit to at least scanning the site every day from now on? That's huge.

Oh good Lord.

Bil, don't let the snippy people get to you. Nowhere (that I can find) did anybody promise hourly updates or whatever. Honestly, what coverage were people expecting? Isn't it more important that the LGBT community is well represented at the convention? Wasn't that the point?

I suggest sending that guy's money back and putting his name up on the regular donor list, but cross it off. What a dick.

In closing, take care of yourself. That's your first responsibility. Don't run yourself to the point of using your emergency meds. We aren't worth that.

I've really appreciated your coverage of the DNC, and I appreciate your blogging the rest of the time. Both of those will be sacrificed if you don't prioritize your health and well-being, so for your own sake and the sake of us readers, please continue to take care of yourself, and I (at least) will keep reading and enjoying what you have to say.

Thanks for all you do!

For what its worth, I've been enjoying your coverage. Thank you.



Many thanks, you all are doing a great job! I'm personally enjoying TBP (and PHB) blogs coverage more than listening to the paid talking heads pontificating on NPR between speeches. Keep up the great work, and hope you can get enough sleep too :)

As someone with chronic health problems that I'm working to overcome, I can totally understand the setbacks that occur.

Bil, thanks to you and the team for the great coverage. And congrats on your achievements. Take the time you need to recover whenever you need it, and don't take crap from anyone for it.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 28, 2008 8:22 PM

Bil, I contributed to send projectors to the convention as witnesses and political participants, not necessarily expecting "coverage." Don't worry about it, just take care of yourself!

From what I have read being in Denver was stressful. It would have been for me anyway. Can't stand noisy crowds and waiting in line. You are doing a great job. My partner is bipolar and some nights he doesnt sleep at all. Lamictal works great for some people.

Hi Bil,

Just logged on and found your post. I'm so sorry you've had to endure that response. A) That's just downright rude, given the context of the community that you, Jerame, Alex, and others have consistently worked at maintaining. B) As an earlier poster said, you didn't promise us an hourly/minute-by-minute posting and bilerico, it strikes me, is less about instant response and more about consistent coverage. Which, as I can tell, you've been providing!

So get well, take as long as you like, carry on, and thanks for doing this!


Bil, a man can only do the best he can, and your best is a lot better than many other people's. Y'all did very well. My money was well invested.

"But in my own defense,... "

Bil, you don't *need* a defense. There was no promise of quantity of coverage. The idea was to have coverage from The Projector point of view. And for you all to represent *us* at the convention. By your mere presence, much less your active participation, you've done that.

Some people were giving Jerame a hard time for hanging out socially with the first couple of HRC. That *alone* was an invaluable experience. It's only thru access and relationships can you change anybody's mind. So for people to complain about that as well is to miss the big picture.

As for the moron with the bad manners, I'm pretty sure ***he*** didn't donate $3000. So for him to claim a donation of that size on behalf of all Projectors, and that "we" want "our" money back, was **way** out of line.

I think you should publish this guy's name and the amount he donated. (Yes, I've been presuming that it's a man) I want to see what princely sum he thinks that's entitled him to demand anything.

As for your health, please take care of yourself. I knew that you would get almost no sleep, be running around like rabbits, and just generally be in a constant state of frenzy. That would be incredibly stressful for anyone, much less someone with additional challenges.

I've been long amazed that you could cheerfully put up with the crap and negativity that goes along running a blog. I doubt that I could. So if this is the worst blip of trouble that's happened, more power to you, man.

Please feel better, and thanks for all you do.

Sarah Patterson | August 29, 2008 1:14 PM

Hey there, I only once in awhile remember to read your blog........but have checked in daily during the convention. I can get news as it happens from radio or tv, but from you I can get inside views and opinions. That's why I sent my little bit of cash.
Take care of yourself!

Thanks for the support everyone. I'm getting ready to check out of the hotel now, so I'll be offline the rest of the day, but I wanted to say how much better ya'll made me feel yesterday.

I love ya'll too. See you when I get home.