Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness
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At a young age, Jessie Close struggled with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder in her early twenties, but she was not properly diagnosed until the age of fifty. Jessie and her three siblings, including actress Glenn Close, spent many years in the Moral Re-Armament cult. Jessie passed her childhood in New York, Switzerland, Connecticut, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and finally Los Angeles, where her life quickly became unmanageable. She was just fifteen years old.
Jessie's emerging mental illness led her into a life of addictions, five failed marriages, and to the brink of suicide. She fought to raise her children despite her ever worsening mental conditions and under the strain of damaged romantic relationships. Her sister Glenn and certain members of their family tried to be supportive throughout the ups and downs, and Glenn's vignettes in RESILIENCE provide an alternate perspective on Jessie's life as it began to spiral out of control. Jessie was devastated to discover that mental illness was passed on to her son Calen, but getting him help at long last helped Jessie to heal as well. Eleven years later, Jessie is a productive member of society and a supportive daughter, mother, sister, and grandmother.
In RESILIENCE, Jessie dives into the dark and dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror and turmoil. With New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Pete Earley, she tells of finally discovering the treatment she needs and, with the encouragement of her sister and others, the emotional fortitude to bring herself back from the edge.
caused by similar self-inflicted wounds as well as by sores from a near-death reaction to a medication. Whenever I look at those scars, I am taken back to the little girl who stood in the hallway, hurting herself so many years ago. In 2010, I cofounded Bring Change 2 Mind—the culmination of a journey I began when Jessie and Calen asked me to help do something to fight the stigma and misunderstanding surrounding mental illness. Before doing anything, I asked them if they would be willing to talk
Grandmother Moore, my grandmother, was the eldest daughter of Seymour J. Hyde and Elizabeth Worrall Hyde, members of another prominent Greenwich family. The Hydes had been farmers in New Hampshire and eventually established a highly successful dry goods manufacturing business, A. G. Hyde and Sons, famous for Heatherbloom Petticoats. In February of 1915, Seymour J. Hyde fell from his horse and cracked his skull while riding in Greenwich. He died a few hours later, leaving behind an estate worth
told me, when I asked her about this, that years later Suza told Grandmother Moore what the chef had said and Grandmother was horrified. She found out where he lived and apologized to him in a letter. But rather than instilling feelings of superiority in them, that disparity caused my mother and, I believe, my father to feel a special obligation to help others less fortunate than they, true altruists. That said, none of us can escape our childhoods. And my father, in particular, would pass a
leaving New York for France, where he immediately began flying over the front lines. Dad was smack-dab in the middle of combat, ferrying troops and supplies to the western front. One of his early missions was to supply General George S. Patton Jr. and his troops during the Battle of the Bulge, when the führer made his last-ditch effort to split the Allies’ ranks. After that decisive battle, Dad became one of the first Allied pilots (he was a copilot) to fly paratroopers and supplies into Warsaw,
starred in Fatal Attraction, our family would have had a serious discussion about mental illness. Everyone knew I had been taking antidepressants and was subject to wild mood swings and strange thoughts. My father had admitted to me that he had depression, but none of us brought it up. Ever. Even Glenn didn’t see any connection between the crazed Alex Forrest character she’d portrayed and me. She thought I was irresponsible and impulsive. Mental illness just didn’t happen to us. It was