feeling unhappy for a long period of time; not able to have fun; not interested in life

a person who has a lot of “energy” moves around quickly and does a lot of things

sickness (and the adjective form, “ill” has the same meaning as “sick”

someone who behaves in a “manic” way is full of energy, but the things they do are strange or crazy

a mental illness in which a person is sometimes "depressed,: sometimes ”manic“

connected with the mind

connected with the body

Susan Dime-Meenan (easy version)

Susan Dime-Meenan was born in Chicago, in the central United States, in 1955. Her family life was happy. Her parents loved her and she spent a lot of time with her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. But by the time she started going to school, Susan knew that something was wrong with her. Sometimes she was happy and friendly. But at other times she was sad and had an “empty ” feeling; when she felt that way, she was shy and quiet. Susan didn’t find out exactly what was wrong with her until she was twenty-seven years old.

Susan had a mental illness called “manic depression”. Sometimes people who have this illness are excited and full of energy. Lots of thoughts run quickly through their heads. They make plans to do important and difficult things. They spend lots of money on things they don’t need. They do dangerous things without feeling afraid. Often, however, “manic depressives” are depressed. They feel bad. They can’t enjoy life.They don’t want to work or to be with other people. They think about killing themselves—and sometimes they do kill themselves.

Often manic depressives feel pains in many parts of their bodies even thought there is nothing really wrong with them. Often they think they have a serious disease even though they don’t. Susan was like this. While she was a teenager, she seemed to have a lot of health problems. She had nosebleeds that she couldn’t stop. She threw up for no reason. She had bad headaches. She went to see doctors about these problems. However, because her problems were mental, not physical, they didn’t find anything wrong with her.

Susan got married when she was nineteen. She hoped that after she got married, she would be all right. But her problems didn’t go away. A year and a half later, she left her husband.

Although she was feeling sick, Susan finished her education. She even started her own business and made a lot of money. Then she became seriously “manic.” She started going to a lot of parties, but at the same time, she was working harder and harder. She often got up in the middle of the night and worked for two or three hours and she always got to her office by eight-thirty. Then she started to spend her money carelessly. When she had taken all her money out of the bank, she started to steal money from her own company.

Around that time, Susan got married again. A week after getting married, she went to a doctor about her headaches. The doctor gave her the wrong medicine and she started seeing things that weren’t really there. Once, she phoned one of her friends and said: “I'm in the shower and there are bugs everywhere. They’re crawling on the ceiling.” The friend called Susan’s parents and they came to help her.

Susan decided that she wouldn’t go to any more doctors, but she became more and more manic. She spent thousands and thousands of dollars on clothes. Twice in one week, she flew to Los Angeles to visit friends. And she behaved strangely in other ways: She went to work without makeup and wearing old clothes; she was afraid her office was going to be bombed; she stopped eating properly; she started to talk so fast that people couldn’t understand her.

Susan’s new husband felt his wife was going crazy. He took her to a hospital and had her locked up. She stayed in hospital for twenty-eight days, and the treatment she got there made her feel better. After she got out, she finally understood what her problem was, and her life was better, but she still had to take sixteen pills a day.

-information from Susan Dime-Meenan and Dianne Hales (McCall's, 94 .01);