My mother was not diagnosed as bipolar (then called manic-depressive) until she was over 50. Ironically, one reason I was not diagnosed until almost fifty was my that my mother had been diagnosed -- and my condition was different than my mother's.

My mother was what is now called Bipolar I, which was the only type of bipolar recognized for many years. It is dramatic. BP Ones in mania have hallucinations, believe they are God, fly into terrifying rages at little provocation. BP Ones in depression rage in grief, cut themselves, commit suicide. My mother was "unipolar" for many years, experiencing only manias. She began having depressive episodes only late in life. They included suicidal ideation and at least one suicide attempt.

What is now termed "Bipolar Two" is not that dramatic. I don't rage or hallucinate when I'm manic; I don't weep or get suicidal when I'm depressed. But it is just as disruptive to life, work and relationships.

The Map Is Not the Territory

The Quantum States of Thunderheart

Bipolar Does Not Mean I Attract Metal Filings

More about Mom: Mother of Dragons

A friend like Mom: for Marion

There are many kinds of mood disorder. Even "depression" comes in more than one color. Don't let a stereotype keep you from getting help, as it did me.

Victory, with Feathers

Fourteen years ago my mother was locked up in a little room
at St. Francis Cabrini Hospital,
because we didn't know what else to do
back then.

But Mother knew.

Mother knew LOTS better things to do
than to be locked up in a little room
in Spring.

She ripped her down pillow open
with her teeth.
Blew clouds of soft white feathers
under the door
and yelled "Fire! Fire!"

An orderly actually came
and threw the door open.

Faster than a naked toddler
Mother skinned under his arm
zipped down the hall
slammed through the main doors
and raced down the sidewalk

three-o-clock in the afternoon broad daylight
92 pounds in a flapping hospital gown
long wiry black hair
and feathers.
Yelling "Fire!"

Mother told me the story herself.
I was never so proud of her.
To this day

I stand a little taller
when I have feathers in my hair.


Family History

Bipolar Child


Happy Hypomania

Emotional Olympics

Geographical Cures





Who the Hell Am I?

It Does Get Better

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© Anitra L. Freeman 15 December 1999