Ten pounds of weird in a five-pound bag.

My goofy-ass mug (photo credit: Matthew Maniaci)

Hi, my name is Matthew Maniaci, I’m 34, and I’m a huge nerd. I enjoy playing board games with friends, going to sci-fi conventions, and playing with my four cats. Also, apparently I can’t write a short article to save my life.

I was always an awkward kid in grade school. I would often spend my recesses walking around the blacktop and just…thinking. The teachers were a bit worried about me. In sixth grade, with all the changes and hormones, I started getting depressed. I got so depressed, in fact, that toward the end of the year, at age 12…


And why that’s okay.

Photo: Garrhet Sampson/Unsplash

American culture is a culture of hustlers. If you’re not working at least one or two side-hustles, they say, you’re missing out. I have (and to a certain extent still do) subscribed to that theory, working several small side-hustles in addition to my nine-to-five desk job.

Honestly, right now, none of them are terribly lucrative. My most recent Medium earnings were just over $5, mostly on the back of my existing content. My freelance writing hustle hasn’t had any hits for a while. I’m living primarily on my salary, with minimal other income streams.

And you know what? …


Tips for keeping up your mental health after a year of lockdown.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

I have been writing about mental health since 2019, when I opened up a Google Form with the open-ended question of “I have bipolar, ask me anything.” The questions and subsequent answers led me to start writing in a forum that would be visible to many more than just my limited friend group.

I’ve published a lot of articles about depression, suicide, anxiety, and self-care, among other things. Many people have been helped by those articles, based on the reactions I’ve received. …


No single person should be a judge, jury, and executioner

Photo by Tito Texidor III on Unsplash

It is well-established that police in the United States are a wholly racist institution. From their history as slave-catchers to their role in enforcing racist legal codes and helping reinforce the pipeline of minorities to prisons, American policing is problematic, to say the least.

The epidemic of police brutality that has come to light in recent years, starting with the Michael Brown shooting (but really extending much, much further back than that) has brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront of the nation’s attention. It has also brought out the Blue Lives Matter movement, a disingenuous attempt to…


Celebrating a major milestone over Zoom just doesn’t compare.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My birthday falls at the end of March, which means that this year, 2021, marks my second birthday in lockdown due to COVID-19. Yes, I was one of the lucky few who got to experience a lockdown birthday in the first few weeks of the initial lockdown, when we all thought it would only be a month or two. How wrong we were.

So, now I find myself celebrating another year on this planet in lockdown. This one is a bit different — instead of the hope for a quick end, I have the hope for a reopening in the…


Or: Why being a grumpy old fart about younger generations is dumb.

Photo by Giacomo Lucarini on Unsplash

We all know the grumpy old man joke. “When I was your age, I walked to school barefoot, in the snow, uphill, both ways!” We would chuckle at our grandfathers or fathers as they told that goofy joke, playing up their suffering for a laugh.

I’m kinda worried that mentality has ruined a lot of discourse in our country. People are griping about everything being too easy. The younger generations are wussies, the older generations say. They’re soft, they have it too easy. They don’t have the same struggles as we had growing up.

I mean, yeah, of course I…


I hate that consent was not taught to me growing up, and I hate that teaching consent is considered a sort-of taboo thing even today. I am glad that the younger generations are taking more proactive steps to learn about sex and consent, but media, especially social media and the prevalence of internet porn, has a lot of...interesting effects on young people.

I grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. I wasn't taught much about sex, never mind consent. My father had an awkward talk with me about sex when I was in middle school and I heard nothing…


Is this what a normal news cycle feels like?

Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash

A few days ago, Donald Trump released a statement on the COVID-19 vaccine. It read like someone took a tweet and put it on letterhead. Barely anyone noticed.

I went to Google it just now to see if I could find any coverage of it in the news, and I didn’t find much aside from an article about Stephen Colbert mocking it. That’s how little traction it got in the major online news outlets.

I’m not going to link any of that here because, as far as I’m concerned, the less attention we give to Trump news articles, the better…


Having a mental illness can be expensive. Here’s how to mitigate some of that.

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

I want to open this piece by clarifying that there is no literal government tax on mental illness. At least not that I’m aware of.

No, what we are talking about today is the hidden costs of having a mental illness that causes you to be distractible, run low on energy very quickly, or go through mood swings. It is commonly known as the ADHD tax among the mental illness community, but I’ve found that it applies to many people with other illnesses, so I’m just using the term “mental illness tax” to keep it broad.

The mental illness tax…


One year on, and being home all the time has been great for my relationship.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Since mid-March of 2020, I have been working almost exclusively from home. I have gone into the office so little, in fact, that they were able to remodel my entire office floor without me being displaced in any way.

The other day, I went to my office to take care of a few things. I hadn’t been in since December, so it was a bit of a trip. I spent some time catching up with one of my bosses, who has been a mentor of mine for about eight years now. …

Matthew Maniaci

Living with and talking about mental illness in an open, honest way to help break down stigma. I was one of those suicidal kids you read about. He/him/his.

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