The name of the Communication Studies course I took in my first Fall semester at CSU Sacramento. On the first class meeting our professor made it clear that the bulk of our work would consist of reasearch for six class presentations and provide data to support the carefully mapped out subject of our papers. Little did I know what my topic would engender.

My speech attempted to address and identify the many faces of mental illness citing people such as Abraham Lincoln and a host of famous artists, authors, and actors. I don’t think any of the personalities I named really came as any surprise to the class as we have heard stories over the years and perhaps we have become immune to any potential surprises. However, a moment of unanticipated disclosure came to me by virtue of a young male student who had just listened to my presentation.

As we all filed out into the hallway, this young man approached me and said, “I’m bipolar.”

It was so matter-of-fact that I offered, “How are you doing?”

He responded, “I am doing pretty well.”

I thanked him for sharing such a personal, private matter.

I received a B+ on the presentation. I received a student’s trust.

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