Elizabeth Swados on bipolar and burning rubber

Elizabeth Swados

Tony-nominated playwright Elizabeth Swados revealed in an O Magazine article [“Bipolar Diaries,” October 2007] that in her work she functioned at a high level, but in private she was in the frantic throes of bipolar disorder.

“I was talking as fast as an auctioneer, dashing from one activity to another with such intensity that I practically burned rubber,” she said.

“Everything, and I mean everything, was vital, essential, and urgent. Weeks of frenetic activity, extreme intellectual and sexual passion.”

[After coming down:]

“I didn’t know why I had cared so much about what I’d been caring so much about. I felt stupid and clumsy, unworthy and doomed to a life of meaningless existence. There were too many voices screaming and singing, and whispering in my head.”

[Consulting a psychiatrist, and benefiting from psychotherapy and medication, her extremes become less extreme.]

“Slowly, I was able to teach myself to ignore the bad voices. I learned to watch myself going through an impulsive or manic action and stop myself. But nothing has been ‘fixed.’ I am not ‘cured.’ But I do have more good days than bad.”

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Elizabeth Swados has composed, written and directed over 30 theater pieces; written music for film and television, and has performed at Carnegie Hall. She has written three novels, three non-fiction books, and nine children’s books, plus multiple articles and film scripts. [Excerpt from her longer bio on lizswados.com]

Related book: My Depression: A Picture Book , by Elizabeth Swados.

Related pages: Bipolar , Hypomania