Saturday, February 12, 2011
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness involving episodes of severe mania and depression. Those who suffer experience excessive mood swings. According to Mental Health America, over two million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder. Not only is this disorder extremely distressing and disruptive for those diagnosed, but it is very difficult for their loved ones to deal with as well. Although there is not a cure for bipolar disorder, it is treatable; it’s been proven that recovery is indeed possible. New York Time‘s art journalist, Lizzie Simon, proves this notion.
According to an article in the Daily Pennsylvania, Simon was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 17. She recalls suffering episodes of depression, dread, anxiety and even attempted suicide. However, joining Active Minds, a group that promotes positive conversation about mental health, was a turning point in Simon’s life that empowered her to view her mental illness as a challenge, not a setback. Active Minds gave her the resilience and compassion she needed to overcome this disorder.
Simon strongly believes that medications can’t cure shame, loneliness, anger or fear of a limited future. Instead, she is adamant about mental illness patients being treated with dignity, empathy and respect. Once imagining the CIA was after her, Simon now uses art as a way to combat her disorder. Contextualizing and coping with a mental illness is the most powerful way to seek recovery. Simon is a living inspiration to all those who suffer.