Im an artist and writer who has struggled with bipolar disorder since I was a teenager, but I wasnt diagnosed until I was in my forties. At that time I went through a severe depression and had to get a leave of absence from my teaching position at George Washington University. When I described my life to a psychiatrist, he said I was bipolar, and that explained a lot of the messes Id gotten into.
Im looking forward to the opportunity to share my bipolar perspective with you on a regular basis with this blog. I think reading about the experience of others helps us to feel connected, to know that were not the only ones going through difficult times. I hope youll feel free to comment and share your experience here as well.
Like many others who struggle with bipolar disorder, I moved around a lot in life, from place to place, school to school, and job to job. Ive worked as a secretary, a writer, an editor, a publisher, a junior-high English and Math teacher (six months), a business trainer and manager, a Kirby vacuum cleaner salesperson (one week), a leather crafter, and a college professor.
Art was my first love since I was a young child, and for the last six years Ive been fortunate to be able to work full-time in my home studio in Ithaca, New York. You can view my abstract paintings on my website and read my All About Art blog.
In a spurt of hypomanic energy in 2000, I moved my father and my ex-mother-in-law out of their homes in Florida and New Jersey to live near me in Ithaca, and became their primary caregiver. While living through this three-year adventure, I kept a journal to both record the events and vent my feelings. Later, I reshaped the material into a memoir, The Bipolar Dementia Art Chronicles: How a Manic-Depressive Artist Survives Being the Primary Caregiver for Her Father and Ex-Mother-in-Law.
One thing thats helped me survive is my local bipolar support group, which I help facilitate. Ive also been keeping a bipolar blog, which Ill be writing now for bipolar-connection.com. I have a married daughter who lives nearby, four stepsons with my husband, Adrian, and three grandchildren. When Im not painting or writing, I love to hike, read, cook, and learn the moves to Dance Dance Revolution Extreme II.