Surviving Bipolar Disorder
Kathy and Max discuss bipolar disorder and their memoir on Rocky Mountain PBS interview
Kathy and her son and coauthor, Max Maddox, are not just surviving bipolar disorder, they are healing after years of struggle and trauma. Max was diagnosed with Bipolar I when he was twenty and a junior in college, and Kathy found herself fighting to help him survive and keep her family functioning. Max and Kathy were, and still are, partners in illness; they have suffered, survived, and found ways to recover together. Sometimes their roads diverged, as Max took the path that lead to mania and psychosis, and Kathy sought the one that might lead him back to health.
Unable to find help in a mental health care system that is often dysfunctional, Kathy discovered the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) and eventually became president. She is active in advocacy for those with mental illness, and blogs. writes, and speaks about mental health.
As a writer, her advocacy inevitably involved writing about the issues. And she wanted to tell Max’s story so that people would understand the difficulties of having this illness, made worse by stigma, and that one can not only survive but flourish. Though reliving the years of illness would be painful, Max agreed to write it with her. The result is a memoir about their joint and separate struggles entitled, Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness. Since publication, Max has also become a vocal advocate and speaker.
Together and separately, Kathy and Max have been interviewed on TV and radio stations around the country. They have spoken at NAMI conferences and events, in psychiatric hospitals, at book events, and mental health forums.