Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Everyone has a story……this is mine

I have a long history of emotional trauma starting with my non-traditional childhood, moving into strained and failed relationships, a complete hysterectomy at 33, a two year custody battle, a troubled runaway teenage son, and abandonment from all family. As you can imagine this has caused me a great deal of heartache and depression for some time now but over the last two years my emotional state has plummeted and my sadness has become unbearable

Two weeks ago last Friday I wanted to die. The feeling was strong enough that I knew if I didn’t do something I would most likely do it. I gathered every ounce of strength I had left, called my therapist and asked for help. She spoke with my husband who promptly drove me to the local mental health facility. After being evaluated it was determined that an outpatient program would be a good course of action for me. The following Monday I began a two week partial hospital day program that set me on a course I never imagined I would travel.

I met amazing people with equally heart wrenching stories. Men and women, who like me, could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. We learned interesting and insightful information about how the brain works and the ways we cope with emotions. And of course, we talked and processed and cried and laughed. I took a 567 question psychological profile test (I will never forget that number!), answered oral questions, looked at grim photos and even did the cliché ink blot test (which the artist in me enjoyed very much). They also did a full blood test work-up and urinalysis.

The end result…… I have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar II, mixed. Like many people I had some idea of the condition but really no true understanding of the disorder. So before I go any further I hope to educate you and bring understanding and awareness to this disease that affects over 2 million American adults.

Bi-Polar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. It is an illness that is biological in its origins, yet one that feels psychological in the experience of it. Like diabetes or heart disease, bipolar disorder is a long term illness and not something you can will away or “get over”. The disease can be genetic and in my case most definitely is as it runs on both sides of my family. This is something I was born with and there is nothing I could have done to stop it. If you would like to learn more about the disorder please visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356 .

Along with the amazing coping skills I learned while in the program, I now take medications everyday to stabilize my mood and control the depression. It is likely I will have to take medicine the rest of my life but it is better then the alternative!

You may be asking yourself why I am sharing this information with some of you who are virtually strangers…….well, the answer is two-fold. First, it is important for me as a person dealing with the disease to be understood and supported. Hopefully, those of you who have taken the time to read this will still be there for me in some capacity whether it be art critiques, friendship, positive comments or support. Second, I hope that in my sharing this personal information that you will gain some understanding, compassion, and knowledge about a disease that affects so many people. Maybe someone you know is suffering and by hearing my story you have gained awareness and can help. The more education, knowledge, and awareness we have the better we become.

Thank you for taking the time to read about me. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. I will gladly accept any and all supportive and positive comments, anything else please keep it to yourself.



  1. Wow! It took a lot of strength and courage for you to post this! I'm glad that you did. Hopefully your story will encourage others to seek the help that they need! I'm glad that you have found some answers...it sounds as if you are now on the road to recovery! Keep up the great work!

  2. Good for you for having the courage to ask for help when you needed it. It sounds as though you are on track now to make your life better.

  3. You are an inspiration. Well done Marnie for asking for help and for sharing the results with us here. There can be such a stigma surrounding mental health and part of dispelling that is to talk about things. I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing some new artwork in the future :)

  4. You know of our struggles with our son and bipolar disorder. I am so proud of you for seeking help. You have my love!

  5. My heart goes out to you, especially for your emotional journeys that you have gone through, it seems, most of your life. I'm glad that you have a hold on things now, and that you know what you are dealing with. I'm sure that makes a big difference, to know the name of your nemesis so that you can fight it. Thinking about you :-)

  6. Love and light as you journey through your life more aware and accepting yourself!! You are one of the lucky ones!!!!



  7. As I am well known to having depressions I must say that it took a lot of courage to recognize that you need help and now to be so open about it! Thank you sooo much for writing this post! I hope to see a lot more of your gourgeous art works soon!
    You are not alone! - Irma

  8. Marnie-I'm so glad you have found help and it took a lot of courage to share your story. If it helps even one person who reads it, you have made a major contribution!

  9. Marnie, I'm so happy for you finding the help you seeked. I'm a chronic depression sufferer/coper as well, and completely understand how hard you must have been fighting. Much love and prayers for you.

  10. Dear Marnie,
    First, I think you are very brave (this is a good thing). I admire you telling your story. I must say I can relate and understand a bit of what you just went through . . . in 1988, I was diagnosed with bi-polar II after my 3rd hospitalization for major depression (it took the Drs a while to figure it out). But the very good news is that since I started taking lithium in 1988 (I never miss taking it -it is a lifetime thing for me) I have never had the kind of experience that you just went through, ever again. That is 22 years of freedom from that black hole, if you know what I mean. Sure, it is not just the medication -I have a very good handle on my personality now and how to manage myself. That coupled with lihium keeps me on the track.
    Anyway, you have just given me the opportunity to support you (you sound awesome today for what you have been through recently) and to come clean, so to speak, publicly on a subject I don't usually talk about . . . many people don't understand. But I do! You GO, Marnie, so good you took care of yourself. You were brave and now you have a handle on it. We need you healthly! with love and thanks, lenna

  11. ((((Hugs))))
    I've been there Marnie. You are not alone. With meds and therapy things will get brighter. You'll still have down days but nothing like you've been having.
    I suffer from chronic depression and have been hospitalized a few times for suicide attempts. Thankfully it's been many years since I've done that but that doesn't stop me from contemplating the idea once in awhile.
    My mother and sister are both bi-polar.
    Be strong honey....

  12. You have my full support Marnie. I have seen lots of depression in my family and know how hard it is to talk about it. Recognizing the problem is the first step and you are now well on your way to changing your life. I admire you for your strength!

    Ruth W.

  13. I still love you my dear! Melissa

  14. I can understand everything that you are going through and everything you say and why you are taking things step by step. I too have chronic depression, panic & anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia and a host of other things that are associated with these situations. I have accepted the fact that I have an illness, a mental illness. I never know from day to day what will act up and I live with that now and don't get upset anymore. The medication helps and my daily coping skills have also helped. The period when the cloud hits I know just not to plan for very much. It takes a lot of 'guts' to do what you have done by writing about your situation and I admire you for this. Keep strong. Like you I have found that being creative is an outlet that takes me away from 'things'. I hope to see some more of your work on 121. You know what I have found out? If you just smile once a day - you will start smiling more and more as each day passes.

  15. Brave, brave, brave! I am so glad that you took wanting to die as a signal, not a course of action. And I am very glad your program was so effective, another sign that YOU want to direct your life.

    You are the embodiment of creation, and therefore have a huge store of energy and possibility. When it gets tough, tap into that.

    When you are blinded by darkness, listen for the song of life. There is always more than one modality to finding your right path. Brightest blessings to you and your family!

    Love and hugs,

  16. Marnie, I will e-mail you privately on this. I commend you for your decision to get help. Know I have kept you in my thoughts and prayers all this summer.

    Mary Wilkins