I’m thrilled to be sharing this interview with you! Wendy K. Williamson, author of I’m Not Crazy Just Bipolar is simply fabulous and has been a joy to work with. Check it out.
1. Tell me, in your experience, what is the hardest part of a bipolar diagnosis?
The hardest part is managing, day by day, to stay in the middle. To make each choice, often against what I really want to do, to avoid mania and fight depression. It could mean taking a shower or leaving the apartment when I’m seriously depressed. It could be avoiding caffeine or getting to bed if I’m manic. In general, if I’m too up or down, it usually means doing the opposite of what I want to do.
2. What piece of advice would you offer a person struggling with bipolar disorder?
I would say educate yourselves and get involved in your treatment. Read the information that is out there, go online, buy a few good books; There are a lot of great resources these days that were not there twenty years ago. Get the best team of a doctor and psychologist that you can afford. Also, I would also suggest you join a local DBSA or NAMI group. I really found a compassionate group of people when I was severely depressed and suicidal at our local DBSA. They cared about me when they barely knew me. And it was probably the only place I felt I fit in socially. There is one book where they really bashed the people they met, but they were an integral part of my support system when I was at my lowest. I would also suggest once you do feel better, you find a way to volunteer and give back. Even if you are listening to someone else who is going through a crisis, or driving a friend to the hospital or taking care of a pet of someone who needs your help, bringing them a meal when they are barely eating, we get through this together.
There, how is that for not sticking to the question? You wanted one piece and you got a handful!
3. Share about a time when you’ve been targeted and hurt by the stigma of mental illness.
Honestly, I find it hurts most when it’s someone I love. Case in point: my family. My parents and rest of my family are amazing with one exception: my sister. She has given up on me with each passing episode and we no longer have the relationship we did before I was diagnosed. The way I deal with it is I minimize time spent with her and realize she has no idea what it’s like to walk in my shoes and vice-versa.
4. I love the title of your book I’m not Crazy Just Bipolar. Tell me a little about how you came to chose that title?
Honestly, it came to me one day at the beach. I was thinking I wanted something funny, something de-stigmatizing and there it was one day. Poof: it came into my head. I don’t even know if I could have come up with that on my own! I can’t take full credit for it. Sometimes I think we get divine inspiration so not to sound trite, but I have to thank the big man for his help.
5. Who inspires you, and why?
My Mom for being strong throughout my illness and life. I have learned everything I know from her. And also my partner Nora for her grace, humor and intelligence. She has bipolar too, but she does what she needs to do and is an example to me of wellness. I look up to them both.
BIG thanks to this amazing author!