Jessie Close, the author of Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness, will give a presentation at Northern Michigan University on Monday, March 21. Close struggled as a young adult with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder. Her book features a running commentary and epilogue written by her sister, actress Glenn Close.
The talk is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in 1100 Jamrich Hall. Admission is free for NMU students with ID and $2 for the general public.
When the Close sisters were very young, their parents joined a cult called the Moral Re-Armament. The family was suddenly uprooted to a cult school in Switzerland and, later, to the Belgian Congo. Their father became a surgeon in the war-ravaged republic and ultimately the personal physician to President Mobutu. Shortly after the girls returned to the United States for boarding school, Jessie first started to exhibit symptoms of severe bipolar disorder. She would later learn that it was hereditary. She embarked on a series of destructive marriages as the condition worsened.
Jessie's mental illness was passed on to her son, Calen. It wasn't until Calen entered a psychiatric hospital that Jessie herself was diagnosed. She is now a stable and productive member of society, living outside Bozeman, Mont. Jessie writes a regular blog for Bring Change 2 Mind and has received awards from mental health organizations. Glenn continues to be her major supporter.
Resilience is the featured selection for this year’s NMU Diversity Common Reader program, which includes book discussions, a related student art exhibit and other activities. NMU’s Platform Personalities is bringing Jessie Close to campus.