I was diagnosed with a severe mood disorder – manic depression, aka bipolar I – in May 2000. Over the years, I’ve made peace with the condition, at least so far (fingers crossed, prayers said). I take meds and daily practice methods of staying stable and well. At the same time, I look for ways of enacting healthy madness – taking advantage of the intensity and weirdness of this condition to be a more creative, responsible, connected, aware, empathetic, and decent human critter.
Writing Hear All The Bells was therapeutic for me, but I want to share it now because I know that it can help other people. It already has. My honest storytelling allows the reader to see through the eyes of a person with an extreme mental condition. The accessible narrative helps to explain the experiences behind the symptoms, including the seduction of mania, the destruction of depression, and the difficult rewards of recovery.
For families, friends, and medical personnel, these are extremely valuable insights. For people with mental conditions, my story is – so far – a very hopeful one (fingers crossed, prayers said). My condition is in remission, and I live a full, challenging, independent life. I have recovered via hard work and the support of numerous extraordinary people.
These days, my heart lies with issues of social and environmental justice, wilderness and wildlife protection, access and equity for people with disabilities, and the power of magic and myth. I write when I can. I play a bit of music. I garden. I have a job that tests me in good ways.
Both despite and because of my bipolar brain, I have a crazy good life. I am astonishingly fortunate in my privilege and my recovery. I hope to share my good fortune. There is so much suffering connected to mental illness, so much misunderstanding, so incredibly much injustice.
A society with the compassion to care for people with mental illnesses is a society that understands the need to protect the vulnerable, human and non-human alike. It is a society that cares about itself, its health, and the health of its future.
We are a long way from that here in the ol’USA. I hold out a slender line of hope that we can change…
“Hence the need, always the need, for resistance.”
– Christina Wulf April 2, 2016