This is the second installment of a two-part story. Last week, singer-songwriter and mental health advocate Meg Hutchinson explored her experiences with bipolar 1 disorder; her symptoms, hospitalizations and her struggle. Follow this link to read part one. Read on for part two of Meg’s journey of recovery.
I was in and out of the hospital three times that summer. The first and third times I checked myself in and the middle time, following the pond episode, my sister Tess had me committed. I will always see that as the most loving thing she’s ever done for me. I quickly realized that I needed to be kept safe. My time in the hospital saved my life but it was not a comfortable experience. (more…)
Part One of A Two-Part Essay. Follow this link to read the second post.
My name is Meg Hutchinson. I’m thirty-eight years old. I’m a singer-songwriter, poet and recording artist on Red House Records. I’ve been living with bipolar disorder since I was nineteen years old, exactly half my life, but I didn’t realize it until I was twenty-eight. It took a complete breakdown for me to figure it out. (more…)
This is the story of Shireda Thorpe.
As a youth, Shireda Thorpe craved attention. One sure fire way to get attention, she realized, was to do things that got her into trouble. Her actions were a cry for help that went unrecognized. For years she acted out on this negative energy. It was all she knew, and it caused a great deal of pain and trouble in her life. She seemed to be running from something, but she didn’t know what that something was. (more…)
“How was the class trip to the aquarium?” asked my husband Steve at dinner that night. “The bus ride was crappy, with all the loudmouthed kids screaming their freaking heads off,” I replied, casually. “But when we got to Baltimore it was better. I was in a small group with one of the dads, and at least he kept his goddamned mouth shut.”
I still remember the variety of reactions around the table. Julie, my fifth grader, who had actually been there with me, looked scared. High schooler PJ barely glanced up from his plate. Our Swiss exchange student, Maurus, looked puzzled. (A lot of things about the US puzzled him. Maybe he thought all American moms swore like sailors.) Steve looked sad, and resigned. Throughout the rest of the meal, my frequent comments were shot through with profanity and negativity—in other words, the new normal for me. (more…)
“This is foolish,” my mother said. “There is no mental illness in our family.”
She turned to my wife. “Enough of this, let’s talk about the kids. How are they doing in school?”
I knew it. I just knew it. I felt her heartless tone in my bones. In 1973, my wife and I decided we must meet with my parents and explain why I was hospitalized. I wanted so badly to lie and say I had my appendix removed, and keep my mental illness to myself. But no, I had to seek my parents’ love and support for this scary illness. I didn’t even understand the doctor when he explained bipolar disorder.