New memoir opens up about mental health

While mental health is often kept under wraps, artists and writers have been finding new ways to open up the conversation.

First-time author and Vermont native Carol Noyes was able to add to the discourse with her new book, “Coming Full Circle: One Woman’s Journey Through Spiritual Crisis.”

“The book is mostly memoirs about my life leading up to the crisis that I had,” Noyes said. “I also write about the insights that I gained from going through this experience.”  

Vermont native and author Carol Noyes signing books March 9. Noyes debuted the second printing of her book "Coming Full Circle:One Woman's Journey Through Spiritual Crisis."
Vermont native and author Carol Noyes signing books March 9. Noyes debuted the second printing of her book “Coming Full Circle:One Woman’s Journey Through Spiritual Crisis.”

The book focuses on her experience of being diagnosed as bipolar in October 2006 and her subsequent hospitalizations and various treatments over the course of four years, she said.

However, “I don’t consider myself mentally ill now,” Noyes said. “You’re given a label and you believe what you’re told.  The paradigm is to diagnose you and then figure out what drugs to give you.”

Noyes said she now considers her true diagnosis to be that of “spiritual emergency,” a diagnosis that cannot be found in current medical manuals.

Noyes said she went through several different prescriptions, including one for lithium, before she rejected more traditional medicines.

“A big part of what I had to do [to recover] was become assertive enough to say no,” she said.

Noyes said psychotherapy is a major benefit to her recovery, including programs like the Soteria Project, a residential support system for individuals experiencing psychosis, according to their website.

Along with this, writing provided an essential non-drug support for Noyes.

“The writing process was kind of a catharsis,” she said.

Noyes said she hopes the book will provide an educational experience for readers, particularly adolescents and young adults who are experiencing important transitional periods.

“I think it will be valuable for young people especially,” she said. “Instead of having to make all these mistakes, they can just learn younger.”

UVM Counseling and Psychiatric Services are the main resource for mental health on campus, but junior MJ Gallas said health and happiness also require individual strength.

“I love that [Noyes] has opened up about her personal struggle,” Gallas said. “Someone who has had success is not simply inspiring, but motivating.”

Noyes presented her work to the Burlington community March 9 at Phoenix Books.

The local book chain hosted Noyes through their Local Authors Program, in which Vermont authors can sell and publicize their work at the store, according to their website.