Margaret Trudeau: Changing My Mind

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Reading Margaret Trudeau's new book, Changing My Mind, has helped me to better understand a friend who has just been diagnozed with severe Depression and quite possibly BiPolar Disorder; her mind and emotions are distracted, tormented and confused by other forces and past wrongs that she suppressed or repressed. She tried for nearly 30 years to run away from her reality by getting married, having kids, getting immersed in a busy work life, mingling with the rich, acting different roles, avoiding getting too close and personal with anyone, being cold and distant, all bringing chaos to her life and the lives of those around her. It is one day at a time for all of us – the sick and the healthy -- the more we talk about mental illness, write about it and read about it, the more hope there will be that the afflicted and their loved ones will rise again to see brighter days. Thank you, Margaret, for sharing. 

 

Passages I tagged

 

Page 46: I took perverse pleasure in leading a double life, tricking my friends to think I was doing one thing, while I was actually doing another.

Page 97: I reflected on the hopelessness and bleakness of my prospects. … no possibility of joy in sight

Page 110: Depression is suppressed anger; I was chewed and then spat out

Page 118:  The problem is this: I am an actress and when I have to, I perform

Page 127: A need to escape the unhappiness of my life

Page 161: With mania comes poor judgment and a drive to live out fantasies

Page 168: I learned how to put on a mask

Page 188: I made fewer and fewer efforts to contact anyone who cared

Page 224: I began to look for people to blame for my unhappiness

Page 225: In your darkest hour, she once told someone suffering from bipolar disorder, you will find a tiny shaft of light, in the form of love and compassion; I urged her to reach out for that light; I know that now but did not know it then.

Page 242:  My mask was holding fine but I was not alright

Page 262: I got good at pretending all was well .. I was always able to put on a convincing act

Page 276: Stuck in a meaningless life; pretending to be someone you are not

Page 278: Hard to feel despair or elation

Page 290: A person with a mental illness does not have the ability to understand what’s going on or to explain oneself

Page 290: I realized I had to learn to live with sadness; sadness and disappointment are facts of life

Page 301: I realized how important this moment of recognition was

Page 302: In depression, it is hard to think beyond the step you are at.

Page 306: I was learning not to dramatically exit a room and slam the door when angry or frustrated, or when someone wanted to discuss something sensitive, but to stop, consider, actually listen and deal with it maturely and honestly. Air emotions without fear.  

Page 348: The love of others is no match for the illness

Page 350: Avoidance becomes a deeply engrained habit