Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness
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At a young age, Jessie Close struggled with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder in her early twenties, but she was not properly diagnosed until the age of fifty. Jessie and her three siblings, including actress Glenn Close, spent many years in the Moral Re-Armament cult. Jessie passed her childhood in New York, Switzerland, Connecticut, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and finally Los Angeles, where her life quickly became unmanageable. She was just fifteen years old.
Jessie's emerging mental illness led her into a life of addictions, five failed marriages, and to the brink of suicide. She fought to raise her children despite her ever worsening mental conditions and under the strain of damaged romantic relationships. Her sister Glenn and certain members of their family tried to be supportive throughout the ups and downs, and Glenn's vignettes in RESILIENCE provide an alternate perspective on Jessie's life as it began to spiral out of control. Jessie was devastated to discover that mental illness was passed on to her son Calen, but getting him help at long last helped Jessie to heal as well. Eleven years later, Jessie is a productive member of society and a supportive daughter, mother, sister, and grandmother.
In RESILIENCE, Jessie dives into the dark and dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror and turmoil. With New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Pete Earley, she tells of finally discovering the treatment she needs and, with the encouragement of her sister and others, the emotional fortitude to bring herself back from the edge.
thirteen books including four New York Times bestsellers. His book Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness was one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. After fourteen years as a journalist, including six years at the Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to exposing stories about social issues. Washingtonian magazine described him as one of a few authors with “the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency” after
nearly killed me, but the doctor was convincing and I decided this was different because he was a medical professional. I closed my eyes when the needle hit my skin, and within seconds I could feel the morphine racing through my blood, causing me to relax. Leslie was soon high, too, and we began to kiss. When the doctor tried to join us we told him no. We went into Leslie’s bedroom together, leaving him frustrated and alone. We thought his agony was funny. Leslie and I spoke every day after
answers by trying est, an acronym for Erhard Seminars Training that its founder claimed was also the Latin word for “it is.” It was the brainchild of Werner Hans Erhard, who’d held his first seminar five years earlier in San Francisco, and the program was sweeping across the nation. Scores of Hollywood celebrities, eager to learn the secret of a happy life, had signed up, including Cher, Cloris Leachman, Joe Namath, Yoko Ono, John Denver, Jeff Bridges, and Peter Gabriel. During Erhard’s standard
wood. Where else could she go? If she wasn’t burned, If you didn’t hold her, If the lid didn’t stay on the box, If you didn’t keep her burned body inside the box Where could she go? Would it be all right if I held her? Would the two of us have to remain alone Forever? What else, My husbands, My lovers, What else can I give you Besides custody of my burned self? —from my private journal CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Montana April came, erasing most of the dirty snowdrifts in the street and on
I imagined the worst. I couldn’t stop thinking about Calen roaming Boston alone, psychotic and frightened. I imagined him hurting himself or others hurting him. There are twenty-four hours in a day, and each hour is sixty minutes long, but when one of your children is missing and you know he is psychotic, those sixty minutes drag and the twenty-four hours seem longer. There is nowhere to rest, no calming of your mind. Knowing Calen was away from his evening medication added to my fear. He’d been