It’s hard to fill the shoes of Mrs. Micah. I don’t know her personally; I’ve never even had contact with her. But through reading her blog posts and the numerous comments she inspired while blogging about her life, it’s obvious she made many friends and helped many people and I’m sure you all miss her. Although incognito, she was true blue and never glossed over the hard parts of life or the slights she caused to others or herself.

There is something very raw and scary about bearing your soul for an audience of possibly millions and even more intimidating is the fact that after you share, your words hang around and are archived for posterity for years. It’s like someone broke in and stole your diary and now you have no idea who could be reading your deepest thoughts and dirtiest deeds.

I wrote about my divorce the first post here and that was pretty darn tough, and of course I held back and didn’t let loose completely. But I’ve made myself a promise and I’ll make it to you too. I am going to put it all out there from now on, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Every good deed and mean thought, I’ll own up to it. So from now on, my posts are going to show the very essence of what it means to be human and live in an unforgiving, yet beautiful world—with myself, a lot of kind-hearted people and even more tortured souls that’ll kick you when you’re down just to make themselves feel a bit “better.”

I was just reading Mrs. Micah’s post “Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Kill Myself” earlier and God did it hit home. The guts it took for her to go online and risk condemnation, loss of readership, or possible loss of income shows her true grit. I should know. I’m a rapid cycling bipolar. I know what it is like to be looked at and treated like you are crazy. Bipolar is part depression, part mania. It’s a disease of the brain, a chemical imbalance. Not insanity—just a mental illness that makes you act insane at times.

With bipolar disorder, when manic, sometimes sleep doesn’t come for days and you think you can do anything and most of the time you can. Then comes the downward spiral into guilt, self loathing, and utter despair—that’s the depression part of it. My own illness ruined relationships, jobs, and almost took my life.

I struggled with a constant rapid cycle of ups and downs the majority of my life without medication. Then, after several years of trying literally hundreds of combinations of drugs, the perfect combination was discovered. I am fortunate to say the bouts have stopped and I am leading a “normal” (what’s that?) life. With one exception, those that knew me before I was on medication still treat me as if I were contagious—some of them family members, some previous friends, and some acquaintances. When I run across one of these “before” people, I always remember…

Some of the greatest geniuses in history were thought to have been bipolar; some of the most well known and lauded authors and artists suffered from manic depression. From modern Nobel Prize winners to the greatest of the Renaissance men, they found having a mental illness actually enhanced their talent and genius. Your brain works in a way and your mind is open on certain levels that couldn’t be accessed by a “normal” brain. In no way am I saying I could ever compare to great thinkers and doers mentioned above, but I can see the bright side to my illness. So while, it can be an inconvenience of the biggest kind and do great damage to myself and those around me, the flip side is I have accomplished some incredible things in my personal life and especially in my career that I may not have been able to do had I been born with a normal brain. The doctors have told me that I should be thankful, as I am an equally right brain and left brain thinker. Does that mean I can think like a man and a woman at the same time? I’ve been told so, but who knows. I’m just very grateful for my mind just the way it is.

Ok, I told you I was going to lay it all out there and I lived up to it. Even though hesitant, I am going to trust my readers to go ahead and post this (after much hesitation).

Do you or someone you know struggle with depression or bipolar disorder? How do you find it has helped you and hindered you in your life? Have you lost jobs and overspent? Have you accomplished incredible feats as well? I would love to hear your experiences.


Abigail August 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm


I’ve written about my depression quite a bit on my blog — and how it affects finances and overall life. For years, I was just diagnosed as a severe depressive and have had suicidal thoughts a few times. (At one point, I had to promise my husband that, expenses be damned, any more thoughts and I would have myself committed. If that’s not a strange thing to contemplate in more emotionally level moments, I don’t know what is.)

But about a year and a half ago, I got a diagnosis of Bipolar II, which is, as far as I can tell, essentially rapid cycling and often doesn’t include the leaps of grandiosity that can occur in normal bipolar patients.

From what I can tell, there’s some debate in the psychology community about the diagnosis but it’s becoming a more accepted diagnosis. When I read the symptoms, I burst into tears. I sent a link to my mom, who agreed she could see most of those in me — and could now identify trends from my teen years that she at the time just wrote off to adolescent angst.

I think the hardest thing about depression is that no one talks about it, which is why I try to, no matter how unpleasant. And so I know how hard it is to be so brutally honest and appreciate just how much you and Mrs. Micah are doing when you put this stuff out there. Given that depressives are hardest on ourselves, it’s pretty damned awful to point out what we tend to think of as our “flaws” rather than our illness. But since most depressives let the shame eat them alive, someone has to start saying something. Someone has to start the discussion.

Incidentally, if you haven’t read it yet, find “Shoot the Damn Dog” — perhaps the best account of depression I’ve read. By a very successful woman who lost about five years to (medication-resistant) depression. It’s a great book for those of us who have been through it, and it’s got helpful insights for those who haven’t.

Incidentally, once the diagnosis had been made, I was put on Lamictil (mood stabilizer) and it’s done wonders for me. I feel less out of control. And it’s saved my husband’s sanity. That bewilderingly patient man somehow made it through three years with me as I would cycle up and down — non-functioning to overactive (and then wear myself out as I have severe fatigue) — or have random, overwhelming rages out of proportion to reality or when I could not let an argument go, even when I knew it was over and nothing more was to be done. I scared myself a lot of the time, so I’m not quite sure how I didn’t scare him off, but I’m beyond thankful that I didn’t.

Kim August 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm

It helps to read things like this. I’ve battled with depression all of my life, some highs and mostly lows. And it helps knowing that you’re not alone and that there are other people out there who understand what you experience. Your writing today came at a good time for me. I just had to put my elderly dog down yesterday and have been a complete wreck since. I miss her terribly and it hurts so bad, and through it all, my biggest fear is sinking back into a deep depression. Luckily I’m to the point in my life where I’ve actually told my family and my close friends about my dealings with depression instead of hiding it like I did for so many years. I have people now who can keep any eye out for the signs and help me to avoid it. It’s from people like you and Mrs. Micah who put your own experiences out there that help take the stigma away from mental illness and depression. So I thank you very much!

Vicki August 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Thank you for sharing about the bi-polar disorder. You are correct, many great people have the same genetic condition. They have a special neural structure. When it is worked with properly, wonderful things can be accomplished. Medication, therapy/coaching, and friends help. It sounds like you have found the right combination. Keep up the good work.

GBR Briana August 25, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I personally suffer from depression. I took an educational leave from school, lost some internships, and just had a stand still in life because of it. My brother suffers from bi-polar disorder, but he’s operating a lot better than he used to. These things used to be so taboo, and they do, in fact, interfere with your life, including your finances. But once you have a good support system and your good days, you can use them to get focused. You’re on the right path!

Daniel August 25, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Guess what? Nobody is perfect and remember, your not the only one dealing with this situation. I feel really sorry for you though, going through all this but stay strong..

Starlene February 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Emma, thank you for opening up and sharing your story. I suffered from depression for several years, but then I quite accidentally found the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet. I looked into the diet for my husband’s sake, but after reading through GAPS Guide I wondered if my own depression, anxiety and fatigue could be addressed. I decided to give it a try, and I’ve chronicled my journey at my blog for the last year. I feel like a different person. The anxiety attacks ceased, I don’t feel like I hate every minute of my life and I’m no longer exhausted. While I realize my symptoms had not escalated to the point of needing medication (anti-depressives were suggested to me by my primary care physician and I was self medicating with the herb Kava Kava), I have met several others doing GAPS who were on medication, and have experiencing healing and changes to the point where they found that their medication was making them feel worse and they had to slowly lower the dosage until they were able to get off their medication. If you look back on your own medical history, you will likely find that you have had digestive problems, elimination problems, more than likely you have been on antibiotics and/or the birth control pill. These all cause the gut to stop functioning properly causing toxins to release into the bloodstream which cause mental disease. I would urge you to look into the GAPS diet. I had sworn to never diet for the rest of my life and for fifteen years I didn’t. I am so glad I decided to give GAPS a chance because it has changed my life. It’s truly worth the effort to try changing the diet to heal the body.

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