Melody Moezzi is an writer, activist, attorney and award-winning author. She is a United Nations Global Expert with the UN Alliance of Civilizations; a member of the British Council’s Our Shared Future Opinion Leaders Network, and a member of the U.S. State Department’s Generation Change initiative. Her first book, War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, earned her a Georgia Author of the Year Award and a Gustavus Myers Center for Bigotry and Human Rights Honorable Mention. Her next book, a memoir entitled Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life, is scheduled for publication on August 1, 2013 by by Penguin/Avery.
Moezzi is a blogger for The Huffington Post, Ms. and Bipolar Magazine. She is also a featured columnist for Bipolar Magazine’s print edition. Her writings have appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, NPR, Al Arabiya, Parabola, and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, among other outlets.
Moezzi has provided on-air commentaries for NPR’s All Things Considered, Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Georgia Gazette, BBC, CNN, HLN’s Dr. Drew, the Ricki Lake Show, PRI’s To the Point with Warren Olney, Air America’s Montel Across America, the Laura Ingraham Show, and other radio and television programs.
Moezzi has worked as a corporate and non-profit consultant and attorney. She has worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reporting to the U.S. Congressional Commission on International Religious Freedom. She has also served as a federal congressional intern for former Representative Tony P. Hall and an intern covering health and human rights for The Carter Center.
Moezzi regularly gives lectures and seminars on issues related to Islam, Iran, human rights and/or mental health. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Emory University School of Law, as well as the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
In her last year of law school, Melody Moezzi tried to commit suicide. A brilliant and accomplished young woman from a close-knit Iranian-American family, she had long been been struggling with depression and mood swings. But it wasn’t until she was hospitalized in the wake of her suicide attempt that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In retrospect, it was clear: there had been those glorious days and weeks of boundless energy and self-confidence; and there had been weeks where she was unable to get out of bed. But in many ways she had always ‘felt’ bipolar, not just because of her emotional ups and downs but because of her bi-cultural heritage, never quite belonging anywhere, feeling like a stranger in both places. In the psychiatric hospital she was made to feel less than human and it made her angry. She resented the culture of silence surrounding mental illness, particularly in her own community. Long used to speaking out about Islam in America, Moezzi now became an activist on behalf of the mentally ill. She wrote an article for CNN about her suicide attempt which garnered more than half a million hits in days; the overwhelming response made her even more determined to speak out. The result is this compelling memoir, HALDOL AND HYACINTHS: A Bipolar Life. She describes in funny, moving, poignant detail her experiences with the medical establishment; the misdiagnoses; the hours of solitary confinement she was subjected to; the unfeeling treatment she experienced at the hands of the hospital workers; the generally archaic and ineffectual way in which the mentally ill are treated in this country. But ultimately this is not a polemic about the failings of the medical system; it’s the story of a bipolar life.