Margaret Trudeau — Making Sense of a Bipolar Life
A self-proclaimed "firecracker" still has plenty of POP following a lifetime of coming to terms with mental illness. Margaret Trudeau is the former youngest first lady of Canada and the mother of current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As the featured speaker at the annual YWCA Leadership Luncheon, Ms, Trudeau shared stories with a packed house of her life and the role bipolar mental illness played in her decisions, transitions and family.
She described periods of depression so deep that it caused her physical pain as well as periods of hyper-energized mania in which she was overwhelmed with shopping, social activity ideas so great and fast coming that none of them were ever fully developed or completed and all at a time when not much was known about nor help available for a manic-depressive personality.
Her story was a roller coaster ride through '70s and '80s that include five children, motherhood, an attempt at being the perfect politician's wife to running away from home and responsibility to a stint as an all-night party-girl at New York's infamous Studio 54. Whew!
It was exhausting trying to keep up and process just some of the details of her full and chaotic life. But the ultimate message was that mental illness must be dealt with like all other illnesses -- as something with a cause, a diagnosis, treatment and a cure and that society has got to remove the stigma that comes with a determination of mental illness.
It was a stream of consciousness presentation filled with hectic history, politics, pop culture and humor and one that the hundreds of attendees won't soon forget.
Margaret Trudeau, at 69, is indeed still a firecracker.