Tuesday, March 06, 2007


This article was written by a Writers in the Sky Newsletter subscriber announcing her upcoming book.

A Reflection By Ruth Cohen

I vowed to tell my story to the world because I want to help people. This may sound very ambitious and maybe extravagant; after all I did not know I could write. English is my third language, and I don’t consider myself a writer. However, without the help of a psychologist, and during an active period of hypomania moods that lasted five years I wrote a book titled “Remains of a Cloud” (To be published summer 2007).

My soul was persecuted by a horrible sickness –bipolar disorder. The illness destroyed and corrupted my soul slowly, without making any noise. I was not aware of it until I reached a point where I no longer recognized myself. Mine is a long, painful and real story. Only after a long nightmare, did I see the true colors of my life.

I was born in Tunisia in 1944 with strong coping genes from my dad. When I was six or seven years old I started became disturbed by my mother’s strange behavior and depressive episodes. Later, I became clinically depressed and constantly grinded a black cloud. I did not connect my symptoms with any sickness and certainly not with that of my mother.

A few years later I married a French man who suffered from anxiety. We had no emotional communication. He had two direct cousins suffering from epilepsy and his mom suffered from major anxiety. Anxiety and bipolar illness are not a good fit.

After the birth of my first son, I fell into a major depression, and with it the skies fell on me. I lost much of my intellect and could not read or write. I ignored my fears and brutal suffering. I received many therapies and took medicine but nothing helped. I went from bad to worse until I was finally diagnosed as a bipolar more than twenty-five years after the start of my sickness. Then, I ran after the best doctors in the U.S.A and spent countless hours in psychotherapy trying to clean my soul and restore my intellect.

Bipolar disorder is a recurrent sickness where the universe becomes a hopeless maze. It took me thirty years of suffering before I found the help I needed. Some people never get out of their bipolar maze and some commit suicide. After all that has happened to me, I can say with all confidence that bipolar people should not be neglected. Bipolar biology does everything to confuse the patient. They need sound-minded people around them. To all those with bipolar disorder, I encourage you to be strong and of good courage.

I divorced three years ago and moved to Israel. My life has changed drastically and I am amazed how my soul once so polluted by the impact of the sickness, became my shiny inner world.

Bipolar disorder is ugly but it has enriched my life. My suffering has not been in vain. My sickness with its intense suffering brought me a clearer mind than I had before.


I hope you will read Ruth Cohen's book when it becomes available.

In the meanwhile, there is another book, I'd like to recommend. Angela Grett and I wrote "My Mother's Bipolar, So What am I?" which is not only her story about growing up with a mom who has bipolar disorder and didn't know it. Angela's mom tried desperately to get the help she needed but in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, there was little understanding about the illness or how to treat it. Today the illness is manageable. Angela's book contains factual information about the symptoms and treatment of bipolar disorder.

If you know someone who has bipolar disorder you know the stigma associated with it. They, or you, may feel embarrassed by the label of having a mental illness. You probably also know that the person was either severely abused as a child, has a parent who is bipolar or perhaps both. Did you know that many people with bipolar disorder are also very creative types? They may be artists, writers, entertainers, techies, designers, etc.

Doctors still do not know what causes the illness, but it can be treated with medication like most other illnesses. However, studies show a difference in the brain chemical balance of a bipolar patient. These chemicals can be regulated and brought into balance. A person with bipolar disorder who is consistently adhering to a treatment plan (such as medication, counseling, healthy eating and plenty of rest) is just as productive and stable as any other human on the planet. However, the stigma keeps many people from getting the help they need to live an enjoyable life.

If you know someone who shows symptoms of mania or depression, encourage them to see a doctor or stick with their treatment plan.

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