The Olympics and Teen Bipolar?

Every four years the Summer Olympics make the scene. This year it’s in London, though one story of note comes from Australia: a promising athlete won’t be making it to the city of Big Ben. Sculler Pippa Savage will not be on the team after she was dropped from the crew recently because of “incompatibility issues”, including heated conversations with teammates. And it wasn’t her first incident with extreme mood swings. She butted heads with a former double-sculls partner in 2007 and disappeared from training camp. Now it’s been revealed that Savage, with her jagged behaviors, is bipolar.

Obviously, at 31 she’s no longer a teen, but was she already dealing with the mental illness then? Possibly so, as Aurora, the protagonist in Light Fixtures, deals with the onset of manic depression (bipolar) during the summer of 1963 when she was 14. Of course, she had no idea at the time what was going on, as the mood disorder had her in ever-ballooning mania at the start of the teen novel. But as time went on, and with the help of her mystical friends (are they real or part of the mania?), Mr. Hematite and Mr. Dragonfly, she gains knowledge. By the time she dives into mania’s opposite — depression — she truly experiences the polarity of bipolar disorder.

But Aurora eventually manages to crawl out of the hole and move toward the Light. Hopefully, Pippa is moving forward as she deals with her diagnosis. At least she’s not completely off the team. She’s been placed on “non-travelling reserve.”

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