I rediscovered writing after believing for nearly twenty years the teacher who said my prose lacked passion and emotion. Now, I can’t seem to stop. I maintain a creative blog at amylevy.com, journal my personal life at several sites, and even allow my work to be published. I share my Northern Virginia home with my husband and our two dogs.
I have been a student, a teacher, a programmer, a manager, and a member of an invisible minority.
In January of 2003 I fell into what was to become the worst depression of my entire life. It led me to attempt suicide, it put me in the hospital twice, and it made me rethink how I had lived my life. When the near-terminal sadness broke in August of the same year, I had been let go from my executive position at a dot.com marketing firm. I was unable to do basic math, let alone complex software development.
If I’d any doubts about the bipolar diagnosis before this time in my life, they’d evaporated. The depression had lifted almost as easily as it came over me. It’s not quite as though I woke up and said one day “Oh, I am not depressed any more”, any more than I realized I was feeling that way in the first place, but almost.
In the years since, I have been on and off my medications. I’ve discovered some serious memory gaps, developed a permanent tremor (originally a side effect of the drugs), and fought to regain the logic skills I had lost. I returned to school and earned a degree in Paralegal Studies with a 4.0GPA.
Of course, there is more to me than my diagnosis. I would like to think I am an interesting woman. With my sanity intact as it is now, I am leery of pigeonholing myself with a few simple descriptive terms. I used to say, with apologies to Meridith Brooks, “I’m a Bitch, I’m a Mother, I’m a Bride, I’m a Lover.” I have been known to have a temper, but that has mellowed with age. My interests are eclectic, and can change with the wind and seasons.
For a while, I allowed myself the luxury of time. I ran a small sewing shop from my home in Northern Virginia. Then I had the chance to get what has turned into a dream job, and I am not looking back. It’s meant less time for some of the other things that I’ve loved to do, but I am putting my years of education, my professional experience, and most importantly, my talent for thinking slightly outside the box to good use.
I still write, not only for my job, but also for myself.
Some days I may only eek out a few cryptic phrases on Twitter or Facebook. Other days I may manage a long essay, short story, or poem. I have had a few essays and poems included in Idol Musings available through Fey Publishing. I am proud to say I have a couple of book cover credits too. My first book, Welcome to River Street was released in July, 2010; I have several more at various stages of completion, including a memoir co-written with my husband.
Mostly, though, I have been taking care of myself. I don’t take my emotions or my sanity for granted. Stress is my enemy; freedom is my savior. Even at the office.