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RESILIENCE by Jessie Close


Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness

by Jessie Close with Pete Earley

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 2015
ISBN: 9781455548828
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

An honest tale of living with bipolar disorder.

With the assistance of Earley (The Serial Killer Whisperer: How One Man's Tragedy Helped Unlock the Deadliest Secrets of the World's Most Terrifying Killers, 2012, etc.), Close, sister of actress Glenn Close, details the difficult journey of living the first 50 years of her life with an undiagnosed case of bipolar disorder. Though she holds nothing back, the author begins slowly as she outlines her maternal and paternal lineages, but her story quickly escalates into a harrowing ride for readers unaccustomed to the ups and downs of someone living with a mental disorder. When her parents joined the Moral Re-Armament in the 1950s, Close’s childhood became chaotic, with frequent moves, one of which led the family to Switzerland and another to the Belgian Congo, where her father was physician to President Mobutu. By 15, she’d moved back to America to live with her grandmother and instantly began experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol, three things Close would continue to abuse for the next three decades. The author candidly discusses her multiple marriages and her continued inability to understand her alternating manic and depressive states, which appear to have escalated in intensity with age. It was only when her son, Calen, was hospitalized and eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia that Close began to look more seriously at her own extreme mood cycles and seek permanent help to stop her abusive drinking and to silence the voice in her head that insisted she kill herself. With the help of her sister and family, Close was able to afford good treatment for herself and her son, and Close’s sister went on to establish the nonprofit organization Bring Change 2 Mind, which targets the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental disorders.

Despite the slow start, the book is packed with emotion and courageous personal reflections.