Kate Longley has battled bipolar disorder since she was a young adult. Once called manic-depressive illness, the disorder causes dramatic shifts in energy, mood, activity and concentration.
Like many of those who suffer from the disorder, Longley became overwhelmed at times by feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
“I think the world is ending. I think nothing positive is ever going to happen again in my life,” Longley explained. “And at times, I’ve lost the will to live.”
While in the manic phase, Longley experienced periods of extreme creativity and euphoria as well as sleeplessness.
“You’re just up all day and all night. There’s a reason that the military uses it as a torture tactic because eventually anyone can lose track of reality without sleep,” Longley said.
But with treatment and medication, Longley is able to lead a much healthier life, so much so that she now shares her experiences and gives hope to others who struggle with the disorder.
“Somebody said to me once, ‘Well, you don’t look like you have bipolar disorder.’ And I just kind of thought to myself, ‘Well, that’s kind of the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Longley said, “Because what does a person with bipolar disorder look like?’ And what I thought to myself is, I think there is a perception that, oh, if you have a mental illness, you’re crazy or you are homeless or, you know, you can’t live a normal life, you’re not able to take care of yourself. And so, I really want to show people, and part of why I do this, is that you can have a very successful life and live with a very debilitating illness.”