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Partial Disclosure

Morgan Molthrop
Photo credit: Brandon Willis

Morgan Molthrop, a former Wall Street executive, had the words "HIV Positive / Bipolar / Recovering Addict" tattooed on chest to disclose his bipolar disorder, addiction and HIV.

He had a portrait made of his tattoos, which he shared with POZ. He then asked us to help him spread the word about his disclosure -- and we agreed.

In his own words:

"As a former Wall Street executive with a law degree who taught Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure at New York University, I know something about disclosing bad news. I was one of the first openly gay people on Wall Street, back in the 1980s, when gay was equated with HIV.

"I didn't acquire HIV until later, during a period of bad judgement caused by drug addiction. It was the addiction that ultimately made it increasingly difficult for me to hide. Disclosing all of this to colleagues, family and friends over the years has been no picnic. I had to find a way to deal with treating the addiction at the same time I was disclosing it, which only compounded the complexity.

"When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it was the toughest fact to disclose and not made much easier even when I understood my addiction was in part a self-medicating effort to 'get ahead of my manic swings.' Mental illness is as, if not more, stigmatizing than many other stigmas. But my doctor said by stopping the drugs and alcohol, we could work on my brain, which he called "Touched With Fire," the title of a book by Kay Jamison about bipolarity and creativity that has had a big influence on me.

"Eventually we stabilized my mood swings with medication and therapy. The fear -- that I would lose my drive and creativity -- was counterbalanced by the fact that my life had fallen apart to such a degree, it was at a point where things could only get better. And it has. This year, I have two books coming out: Artist Spaces (UL Press 2014) and Jackson's Playbook, which will be serialized on Facebook.

"Today, I am honest with all brokers, as they say. I'm a proponent of full disclosure, but in a safe and supervised environment. I hope my story can help others understand that ignorant stigmatization should not derail you from your aspirations."


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Comments on The POZ Staff's blog entry "Partial Disclosure"

Disclosure is always a difficult thing to tackle!

I admire the fact you stated disclose should be done a safe ans supervised environment. Disclose is personal and one must be ready for the good, bad, that will be in the wake of their disclosure.

I am truly inspired by your story. Although I am negative I have a long list of other health problems, including, amputation, a mechanical heart valve , no spleen and the list goes on and on. I was diagnosed with depression. I think most creative people suffer from addictions, unsafe lifysteles, and a myriad of other social disfunctions. My best friend is also creative, had drug addiction,is bi-polar and also positive, so I educated myself quickly so that I could better understand what goes on in his head and be a good friend. Awareness is only the first step, education and understanding has to go along with it. After all, we all got something.

Thank you, Morgan. It helps reading that there is a light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel. It helps knowing that we are not alone. Again, thank you for your bravery and vulnerability.

Dear William, Teresa, David and Jamie - Thanks for your nice comments. I thought long and hard about how to "move forward." I surely don't recommend my rather "bold" approach to everyone. For me, I'd rather have a frank conversation with people than hide. And when some people know and others don't, things get tricky. I, for one, don't want to have to explain myself to anyone. If someone has a problem, let them say it to my face. Your comments are well appreciated and I thank you for them. I am smiling. MMM

That's powerful and moving. Thank you.

Thank you for your amazing bravery and disclosure! I've spent twenty years as a mental health professional working to help those struggling with co-occurring disorders. Disclosure is like bringing light into the darkness and with a good healthy support system in place can be like giving wings to a bird allowing it to soar to heights it could never go before. I personally have been in your shoes regarding addiction. I'm out in my industry and work closely with others to dispell the stigma of those coping and living daily with these issues. Peace to you sir!!!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. published on July 9, 2014 4:54 PM.

Homophobic Vine Video Goes Viral was the previous entry in this blog.

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