August 15, 2016
Full Circle: Betty Ruth Shear
Growing up, friends came easily. I was a lucky enough to me smart and popular, the future was wide open. My dream to become a doctor was getting closer to becoming my reality, until everything began to spiral out of control. Suddenly, periods of euphoria and unbridled creativity were interrupted by sinister obsessions, suffocating panic and repeated visits to the depths of despair—as well as to a laundry list of mental health institutions. I have been to the dark side, I feared I would lose everything that was the hell of my mind.
Forty years after my bipolar diagnosis I have found my way. I became a world traveler, Certified Public Accountant, and a beloved aunt. Happiness has not come without struggle. I have fought public delusions and a deliberate head-on car crash. My life had become a gonzo ride into madness. Metal illness warped my logic and the world around me. Honest reality came in short, almost poetic streams of consciousness.
I had family tell me they were afraid when I decided to pen the story of my life in my biography. Afraid that the past I fought so hard against would overcome me. But I knew that I had to take the chance, if even for one person it would be someone else hope. I know there are people out there looking for someone or something they can relate to, I had to try to reach them. Maybe if I had a book like mine it would have helped me on my journey. I couldn’t pass up on that chance to help someone else.
For a very long time, the stigma of mental illness stopped me for seeking the help I needed. If I was sick with strep throat I went to the doctor, took my medication and healed. For me, a diagnosis of bipolar was completely different. There was my emotional pain, but there was also fear. I didn’t want to be labeled and locked away.
I know now that this is not the case, that a mental illness is just an illness. Struggling with mental illness is no different than any other struggle in life. With the support of my family, close friends and a trusted psychiatrist I have brought my life full circle. If you know someone who is need of understanding and is fighting mental illness please consider picking up “Full Circle My Success Story Living with Bipolar Disease”
I had the opportunity to visit Hopewell and share part of my journey with the residents. The residents and staff at Hopewell were so kind and welcoming. Many came up to me after my talk, asked me questions and told me about themselves. Hopewell is a wonderful setting for a person with mental illness to reconnect with life. The Hopewell staff were so warm and genuinely willing to help those afflicted with mental illness.Back to Blog