Woman as Ghandi


On Nov. 15, 2013, a close friend died and my empathy circuits imploded. I was soon deposited in Lutheran Hospital’s behavioral services ward, where I spent nine days.

It turns out I have bipolar disorder. Even with drugs to move me away from the cliff’s edge, I went from euphoria to extreme anxiety, followed by weeks of depression. Although I’m sane now on medication, having once broken through the mania barrier, life is janglier than before. While recovering, I wrote. Somehow, writing – and making other kinds of art – heals me the way a steam valve keeps a pressure cooker from exploding.

I was the most gregarious but also the most harmless lunatic in the asylum. I dreamed I was Ghandi. I dreamed I was Christ and had a long, flowing beard and long flowing robes with a rope belt. I dreamed I was Joan of Arc. Water covered the floor and I walked on it.

I couldn’t bring myself to eat meat. This severely limited the palatable choices of hospital food. Vegetarian lasagna and grilled cheese sandwiches were the only yummy options. I don’t know what I would have done had I decided to go vegan. Starve? Woman cannot live on crappy salad and baked Lays potato chips alone!