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Memoir Dismantles Stigma of Mental Illness

July 3, 2021 Lifestyle News No Comments

Long Island native Ruth Poniarski’s first book, Journey of the Self: Memoir of an Artist, published by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Warren Publishing, is a stunning and unflinchingly honest memoir that challenges the stigma placed on mental illness. The book has received glowing reviews, including a Kirkus Star review.

It started as a college prank; a friend offered Ruth Poniarski a brownie that, unbeknownst to her, was laced with angel dust. What resulted was a debilitating accident, and the first of many mental breakdowns that spiraled into diagnoses of psychosis, schizophrenia, severe anxiety and bipolar disorder.

For years, Poniarski struggled to cope with her new reality as she undertook a rigorous architectural program, sought out new friends (and the perfect mate) and battled through the depths of mental illness. Her journey led her in all directions as she sought comfort, solace, stability and love.

Now an accomplished artist, Poniarski considers her memoir to be a portrait of sorts.

“This book, like many of my paintings, is about introspection,” she says. “So many of us, particularly when we’re young, seek definition through labels or through what others think of us. It’s so easy to say, ‘I have bipolar disorder, therefore, X,’ or, ‘So and so doesn’t love me the way I love him, therefore, Y.’ But none of that is who we truly are.”

The release of Poniarski’s memoir is particularly timely in light of the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing orders.

“People were stuck at home for months or a year––or more. This kind of isolation forces a person to examine themselves; what makes them unique beyond who they are to society,” says Poniarski. “That kind of self-reflection allows us to become more available to others. You have to know yourself first.

“So, who am I?” Poniarski laughs. “Well … you’ll just have to read the book!”

For more information about Ruth Poniarski or her book, please visit: ruthponiarski.com.

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