AUTHOR OF DEFYING THE VERDICT: MY BIPOLAR LIFE
COVER STORY FEATURE
Published by: RallyUp Magazine
Against doctors’ predictions, Charita Cole Brown has been living in bipolar recovery for more than twenty-five years.
Charita Cole Brown was diagnosed with a severe form of bipolar disorder while finishing her final semester as an English major at Wesleyan University. Doctors predicted she would never lead a “normal” life. Despite that pessimistic prognosis, and because she sought treatment, Charita went on to marry, raise a family, earn a master's degree in teaching and enjoy a fulfilling career in education. Her powerful story is chronicled in her award-winning debut book, Defying the Verdict: My Bipolar Life (Curbside Splendor Publishing 2018).
Bipolar disorder –formerly known as manic depression— is highly treatable. However, of the estimated 5.7 million Americans living with the disorder, over 50% won’t seek treatment. The fact that the US suicide rate for people who have bipolar disorder is 12 times higher than that of the general population is even more sobering.
Charita Cole Brown earned a BA in English from Wesleyan University and an MAT in Early Childhood Education from Towson University in Maryland. A retired educator, she is now a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maryland Board of Directors and is also active in the local affiliate, NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore.
Brown strives to cure mental healthcare stigma by sharing her story. She has given keynote presentations for the Morgan State University Psychology Department and the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society. Besides her active involvement in mental health education, she currently manages assisted living style care for her elderly mother and served on the Baltimore City Commission for Women.
RUM: Describe my work as it relates to mental health and wellness.
CHARITA: I am the author of the memoir, Defying the Verdict: My Bipolar Life (Curbside
Splendor Publishing.) I have been an active member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness(NAMI) since 2015. NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization. Our mission is to "improve the lives of people living with mental health conditions, their families, and communities through education, support, and advocacy." I have served on the NAMI Maryland Board of Directors since 2018 and actively volunteer with my local affiliate, NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore. I was featured at NAMI's National Convention, NAMICON 2021, in the short documentary, Shattering Racial Stereotypes to Defy the Verdict: https://youtu.be/LyarbNfJ72s. I was also awarded NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore's 2021 Marcia
G. Pines Lifetime Advocacy and Service Award for furthering NAMI's mission. I strive to cure
mental healthcare stigma by sharing my story and have given keynote presentations for The
Morgan State University Psychology Department, The Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, and other organizations.
RUM: What was it like to get a bipolar diagnosis in college?
Specifically, how did you come to the decision that you needed help?
When I received my accurate Bipolar I disorder diagnosis in 1980, I was committed to a state psychiatric facility by two doctors in Connecticut who diagnosed my manic state as ...