This series is a great example of how good storytelling can help us understand issues in new and illuminating ways. Godines describes her descent into mental illness with dramatic skill. She’s also clearly interested in being a good journalist, in shedding light on her disease. Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults; perhaps in part because of this, Godines got strong reaction to the piece. She e-mailed us:
"The response has been incredibly positive. I’ve received close to 300 e-mails, phone calls and letters. People have opened up and shared with me about all kinds of mental illness. I’ve heard from a vice president of a company who is regularly quoted in our paper. She suffers from bipolar disorder. I heard from a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, stay-at-home moms. I’ve heard from the homeless, the religious and psychologists. And I’ve heard from many people who have lost loved ones to the disease. These are the most heartbreaking calls. I believe we truly touched people."
Read the series, by Valeria Godines:
Part 1: On Dec. 5, 2004, I killed my Daughter
Part 2: Treatment briefly clears the storm clouds
Part 3: Will extreme measures work where normal ones haven’t?
Part 4: Therapy explores mind’s dark places
Part 5: A family finds new life after months of turmoil