Sabadosa: Oak Lawn woman’s book on bipolar disorder inspires
By Reggie Sabadosa Citizen Journalistfirstname.lastname@example.org March 7, 2013 1:24PM
Updated: April 11, 2013 6:11AM
How do you define bravery? How difficult can it be for someone to face their fears? As the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Oak Lawn’s Beata Gaudry recently took a giant step out of her comfort zone. Not only had she been journaling about some really dark moments in her life, but she chose to self-publish her writings, sharing her most intimate struggles with the rest of us.
Gaudry’s book, “Living with Bipolar, Drive and Soul” and is on sale in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.com.
In her words, “This book is about my journey living with bipolar (disorder) and the struggles and triumphs it has brought to my life. I am hopeful it will inspire others to get help.”
Prior to authoring her book, Gaudry was a published poet and a professional photographer with an online greeting card and calendar business. She did all this while being a broadcast engineer with a major Chicago television station spanning more than three decades. Her book also features much of her original poetry.
Most people, including her co-workers, never knew that she was battling bouts of depression and alcohol abuse as she tried to overcome her “secret” illness.
It wasn’t until 2001 that a name was given to her condition — bipolar disorder. Gaudry explains that it’s a “brain chemistry imbalance — with drugs and ‘talk therapy’ one can live a fairly normal life.”
In her book, Gaudry writes, “When you are in the manic stage, you feel as if you can do anything and your personality goes through the roof, you feel so high.” Some of the abnormal behaviors she experienced are “increased energy with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep, inflated self-image, excessive spending, racing thoughts and substance abuse — followed by extreme depression and sometimes suicidal thoughts.”
Being an only child, Gaudry was used to getting a lot of attention from her parents, Barbro and Harris Metzdorff. By her teenage years, her parents were drinking heavily. Both parents had major medical issues, and this weighed heavily on her during her formative years.
Gaudry met Bill, her husband of 36 years, while both were students at DePaul University in Chicago. They married in 1976 when she was 18. When her dad died suddenly a few months later, it crushed her mother and her.
“My mom turned to alcohol, and I followed right behind her. She became my enabler, and my life was out of control,” she said.
Eventually, Gaudry realized that she needed help and started receiving counseling. She also discovered the “New Age” music of Yanni and becoming a serious fan — finding comfort in the people she met as she followed him on many tours.
Unfortunately, before she knew it she had “charged over $100,000 on my Yanni adventures along with other luxuries that we could not afford.”
Gaudry believes the unconditional love and support of Bill was the only thing that saved her during these times. She eventually lost her job in television because of her mental disorder. Together, the couple have managed to stay afloat and are working their way out of bankruptcy.
After reading one of my recent columns showcasing four newly published authors from the Oak Lawn Writers Group, Gaudry began to attend their meetings at the Oak Lawn Library. She started by sharing her poetry, and later, with the encouragement of the group members, started writing her book. Within two months, she was ready to publish.
She was fortunate to receive unsolicited help from an Internet acquaintance who transcribed her book, removing any grammatical errors. Since publication, she has received several encouraging reviews. One reader said, “This book is filled with hope, encouragement, is truthful and her poetry is wonderful to read. I highly recommend this book as it will uplift each reader.”
Gaudry is pleased with her accomplishment and gives a lot of credit to her therapist who “helped me sort out my life” and gave her a better outlook on life.
“I don’t know what I would have done without her,” she said.
Gaudry’s message is clear. Sometimes we can’t handle things on our own. We shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit we need help. In this spirit, Gaudry hopes to help others with bipolar disorder through her honest and inspirational book.