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June 13, 2005

Curing Onself through Writing

The Times newspaper in London recently wrote a story of a man named Jason Pegler who discovered that he was bipolar at age 17 and who is now 30. Pegler has had several manic episodes during this period and has spent more than a year in hospitals during this time.

Pegler wishes to break down the stigma associated with having a mental illness and found that the best thing for him was chronicling his experiences with bipolar disorder. As Pegler states in the article, "When someone comes out of the illness, their first thought should be 'Someone's going to help me', not 'Oh my God, I feel humiliated, my life is ruined, everyone's going to think I'm a loony.' Society makes people feel guilty for having a mental illness. I want to change that." Pegler is off to a good start. Having obtained a grant from the mental health charity Mind to publish his autobiography, A Can of Madness, he co-founded the first publishing company devoted to the work of people with mental health problems., set up in 2002, already has a list of 31 e-books and 11 paperbacks. Earlier this year Pegler won a New Statesman Upstart Award for Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year, pipping [sic] Jamie Oliver to the post" (The Times, June 4, 2005).

Pegler says that writing his autobiography kept him from committing suicide. He believes that having a creative outlet helps in the recovery process. Pegler wants to encourage those recovering from bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses to chronicle their struggle through their illness, as well as the recovery process. Having any kind of creative outlet or hobby can help one maintain their health. Making sure to stick with it can be difficult at times, but the end result will make it all worthwhile. I would like to note that having a hobby may or may not "cure" your mental disorder, but it can at least assist in the recovery process.

Pegler's recovery story is remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that he wants to put all his energy into helping others with bipolar disorder. As noted in this news article, Pegler "hasn't had a manic episode since then, although he stopped taking medication a year ago. He says he has taken control of his mental health and learnt how to cope with the early signs of a manic episode. He's given up alcohol, has become a vegan and keeps fit by playing football. He runs a youth soccer team in Vauxhall, South London, where he lives in a council flat, to help stop local children getting into drugs. 'It's a good job I've got all this 'manic' energy,' he smiles. 'I'm not going to say I wish I didn't have manic depression because that's who I am. I love life, I believe in myself and I know what I want to do. One million people commit suicide every year worldwide. I want to make it none.'" (The Times, June 4, 2005).

For more information on complimentary treatments for bipolar disorder please go to:

To look at other personal stories of people who have bipolar disorder go to:


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