Judy's Story

When I got seriously ill with Bipolar, I'd spend a lot of time on the beaches of Nantucket. My family was very loving.
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Judy's Story

Dual Diagnosis Bipolar Disorder Recovery Story
When I got seriously ill with Bipolar, I'd spend a lot of time on the beaches of Nantucket. My family was very loving.
Related Diagnoses:
Bipolar Disorder

Judy’s Story:

I spent most of my childhood summers and then later when I got very ill on Nantucket, this isolated little island off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States.

I was surrounded by horses and cats and bunnies and birds, and I had my first painting lesson from my parent's best friend Al Hartig, and he helped me have abilities to use my small hands to paint and make wooden miniature aeroplanes...

I remember the peace I felt listening to the winds of Nantucket and how we'd ride our bicycles in the sandy dirt to town and have a fish dinner in the early morning to have breakfast.

When my father took me to an open lot of two and a half acres and told me he bought the lot and was prepared to eventually move to Nantucket, I was elated.

A house was built there, which my mother lived in full time, and my father worked in Boston Ma in the United States and commuted to Nantucket weekly.

When I got seriously ill with Bipolar, I'd spend a lot of time on the beaches of Nantucket. My family was very loving. My sister married in Tennessee and stayed and worked as a child psychologist there.

Before I got ill, I was almost married and lived with a man. After about a year and a half, I got my own apartment and drank until I couldn't respond or communicate night after night...it wasn't till much later that I understood myself as an alcoholic.

I kind of saw myself as a budding Jazz Musician and studied music both at Queens College in Queens, New York..and my composition teacher didn't want me to leave, but I did.

From the advice of a Social worker in New York, I decided to go for an SSDI check which is a check that comes to you every month, and although it isn't a lot with a struggle, you can live. I went to the courtroom trial to be evaluated by a judge and had an experience which led me to be hospitalized at St. Vincents Hospital in New York City.

Then I couldn't live alone or study Jazz anymore. My mother came to pick me up and went into the apartment I had lived in and first noticed how I didn't clean the apartment. Then she noticed that I had half a bar of ivory soap, and I explained I used that bar to clean both my body and my home...

She checked out my clothes and decided they were too dirty and worn to be used and threw them out. She started to cry, talking to me and trying to understand why I had no friends.

Then she moved my piano into the attic of the home on Nantucket and began talking to me every day on Nantucket to get me to talk. She got me into a course on Nantucket for etching and had me swim every day at the high school pool.

One day I woke up and decided to leave my loving mother to live on 42nd street in the women's hotel...

As I was there, I saw a lot of drug pushers and pimps and prostitutes and was almost taken under the wing of a pimp. I thought I'd never make it home. I lived with a violinist who was studying to be a first violinist in an orchestra...and he would watch me paint. He told me to go back to Nantucket and try to get funding for school so that I could become a professional artist.

He put me on a bus headed for Boston, and from there, I took a bus to a boat. When I got to the house on Nantucket, my mother was very happy, but I was hallucinating and kicked her, and she got some help and put me in the hospital...

I never forgot that I did that to my mother.

After some time, my father and mother arranged for me to see a psychologist in Boston, and I would go every week from Nantucket. Little by little, I began to talk to my father about art school and managed through scholarships and grants and loans to go to Ma, College of Art in Boston, Massachusetts.

I graduated and now have a BFA which is a degree where you get professionalized. And I tried to work and sell my art but wasn't able to in Boston till I went back to my roots which is Nantucket. There I had an apartment and painted and sold my artwork.

I got involved in AA, but they couldn't help me because my Father and Mother then moved down south to be with my sister, who has MS...my father died, and I couldn't handle my life anymore.

I started to paint murals all over the apartment, and I was pulled out of the apartment and put in a shelter in Plymouth, Ma. There, my sister's MS got worse, and she tried to phone me and get through to me...

Ms is a debilitating disease that destroys the brain stem, and people who have MS usually wind up in wheelchairs doing nothing at all. She had been getting around with a cane for a very long time.

Finally, she got through to me and told me that my mother had died.

After I got off the phone, I decided to leave the shelter and took a small jacket and walked and walked. It was raining out, and I hardly felt the cold rain on my head as I walked and walked...I saw my mother's face, and she was crying so I went back and they were very angry that I was out of the shelter...the head of the shelter spoke to me and told me never to do that again.

I never got out of bed for days, so the Nurse put me in a Nursing Home in Brockton, Ma, United States.

There I made a friend out of a social worker who decided to move me to a rest home, and there I met a helper who submitted a request for a certain housing situation where I would have my own apartment.

There I learned about this program called Pathways in Taunton, Ma. in the United States. I learned different skills to live as a mentally ill patient client and to mobilize myself.

One time there I heard the phrase making lemonade out of lemons and I began to volunteer my services to teach Art at the assisted living situation I was living in. I also taught Art at a center for recovery in Massachusetts.

I volunteered my services where ever I could and used what I learned from my BFA. Then I got a new living situation where I had my own apartment.

I went back to AA and learned the AA steps, then started to go to DRA and now am in a DRA Workshop to teach us how to be sponsors.

From AA, I learned to use my skills as an artist in another way. I began to hand paint watercolour cards to hospitals and doctors and nurses and different halfway houses and rest homes and nursing homes to let everyone know that people cared about them during Covid.

About eight years ago, I got Ovarian Cancer and began to fight to go into remission, which I did. I also got a melanoma the size of a dime, and I am in remission.

Three years ago, I had a bowel obstruction and went into the hospital and almost died. Now I am ok and painting cards.

I turned 67 years old, and my friends took me out, and I blew out the candle on the cake and asked for world peace. I am happy to say I can take care of myself and have friends who care about me. I have clean clothes on my back, and my house is clean. I am still painting cards and sending them out... I am at peace.

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Judy’s Story

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