After being in therapy for most of her life, and after one year of coming to CoveCare Center, Johanne no longer eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder from an early age, Johanne lived on both the west and east coasts, and had a thriving pottery business. When she was manic she was fueled with creativity, but her lows kept her from being productive. Eventually, she experienced more extreme mania, which led her to “doing stupid things.” An extended depressive state followed, which led to her losing interest in doing anything. Johanne avoided seeing people, didn’t go out, and spent much of her time lying on her sofa. She ate only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and gained a significant amount of weight. She mentioned, “I would see the light coming through the window and think, oh no, more hours of sunlight. When will the darkness come?” Her pottery business closed, which led to significant financial challenges. In fact, she was close to losing her home. Sober 30 years, Johanne automatically attended her AA meetings, but she didn’t share and was very closed off from the other attendees. She remembers thinking that she was “too much of a wuss to kill herself.”
Johanne reported that her prior therapist did not return her phone calls and didn’t seem to care about her. When the therapist decided to retire and told Johanne, Johanne knew a change was on the horizon. A friend who attended therapy at CoveCare Center recommended Johanne call and Johanne is so grateful to her friend for that suggestion. She started seeing a therapist at CoveCare Center as well as a doctor. The medication Johanne received helped with her symptoms and her CoveCare Center therapist helped Johanne make significant changes in her life.
Now, when Johanne attends her AA meetings, she shares information and is open with others. Not only has she restarted making pottery, Johanne has incorporated weaving into her existing art form. She is taking on the responsibility of getting a puppy and is planning to drive to the middle of the US to pick up her new pet and bring her home.
Johanne also deals with anxiety but has learned techniques and tools taught by her CoveCare therapist. These techniques help her see through challenges and tackle and overcome them. A significant challenge was to clean up her art studio. Located in a separate building at the rear of her home, the studio was full of dust, wild animals and their nests, and dirt. Johanne was totally overwhelmed with the thought of cleaning it out; however she used the techniques she learned and was able to clean and make the space a useful, working art studio. Johanne is very proud of this and “feels so much better” that it is clean.
Johanne said, “The Japanese feel cracks should be honored and filled with gold as it honors the history of the object.” With the help of her dedicated therapist and doctor at CoveCare Center, Johanne’s cracks have been filled. She is looking forward to her first art show in Fall 2018 at which she will display her pottery and weaving work. She wakes up every morning looking forward to what she can make next.
That does not include any peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.