A House of Stone and Glass

Living with Bipolar Disorder

Suffering Out Loud

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, manic depressive disorder or bipolar affective disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood clinically referred to as mania or, if milder, hypomania. Individuals who experience manic episodes also commonly experience depressive episodes or symptoms, or mixed episodes in which features of both mania and depression are present at the same time. These episodes are usually separated by periods of “normal” mood, but in some individuals, depression and mania may rapidly alternate, known as rapid cycling. Extreme manic episodes can sometimes lead to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. The disorder has been subdivided into bipolar I, bipolar II, cyclothymia, and other types, based on the nature and severity of mood episodes experienced; the range is often described as the bipolar spectrum.


In July 2008, after being found in my room after several days 28 to be exact constantly at my computer, not eating, not leaving my room and after hearing several conversations with myself, my roommates were driven to have me admitted to the local sleep disorder clinic at the Fletcher Allen Health Center in Burlington, Vermont.

     My only friend at the time was a woman from the Congo who appeared real only in my thoughts.

     After my 21 days in rehab, I emerged with a new love for color and a large bottle of pills.  I kept the color palette and summarily threw away the pills.  Eight months later, I nearly gave my sons duplicate heart attacks by suffering a seizure on an afternoon when I should have been getting ready for work.

     I do not remember my mother who visited twice, the doctors or my children who visited daily.  My only recollection through shadows and fog were the constant faces of the ever diligent nursing staff of the Danville Regional Hospital in Danville, Virginia.  I thank God and them for their mercy.

   My recovery included a stay in Psychiatric and Behavioral Health where I once again painted and cried over the death of my boyfriend Charles and my Aunt Catherine.

    Questions answered left so many unanswered.   I was left weak with a new disorder, my life.  I now had to relearn things.  Especially the habit of living …middle ground.  A place I had never resided in in my life.  This sojourn would   be newer and more awe filled than when I first viewed 8 or 9 feet of snow in wondrous Vermont. 

    How would this condition affect the rest of my life?  Would I be relegated to forever walk around in my dead friend’s bathrobe and slippers as I had done in the days closest to his sudden death?  Would my hair grow long and scraggly like “boo radley”?  Would this sickness force my children and grandchildren away in horror and would I end up in a mental institution at the end of my days?  or live padlocked inside my own?  Grateful in all things, I was glad that I did not live in the Middle Ages and like The Madness of King Georgewould not be subjected to “blistering” to clear the mind.  Instead, I now take a “mixture” of Rispiridone and Depakote.  Unlike King George or Boo, I count myself “lucky”

Don’t Look Back in Anger

It is not in good times that is a measure of a man, but how he is affected in adversity-MLK.

I have been told that if you want to make God laugh, Tell Him Your Plans.

After all, I have kept my passion for 6 inch heels, traveling and writing.  I sometimes feel I have been nailed into a coffin and my only way out is through the written word.

Still, I make a mean Salmon cake.  With medication, I sleep all night and have not noticed any side effects like hair growing from my ears, hallucinations (except for the Congo lady) and have since dedicated my life to finding out about my disorder and educating others about the illness.

I would like to thank everyone who sent flowers, cards or letters or visited during my stayon the  “The Lido Deck”, and expecially to omigodimagoinnuts! for her wonderful comment.


-once again, -poppishirley(c)


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