“Sidney, you told me that you wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.”
He suddenly had my attention. “That was yesterday.”
“What about tomorrow?”
I looked at him puzzled. “What?”
“You don’t know what can happen tomorrow. Life is like a novel, isn’t it? It’s filled with suspense. You have no idea what’s going to happen until you turn the page.”
“I know what’s going to happen. Nothing.”
“You don’t really know that, do you?” Everyday is a different page, Sidney, and they can be full of surprises. You’ll never know what’s next until you turn the page.”
I thought about that. He did have a point. Every tomorrow was like the next page of a novel.
We turned the corner and walked down a deserted street. “If you really want to commit suicide, Sidney, I understand. But I’d hate to see you close the book too soon and miss all the excitement that could happen to you on the next page — the page you’re going to write.”
Don’t close the book too soon… Was I closing it too soon? Something wonderful could happen tomorrow.
Either my father was a superb salesman or I wasn’t fully committed to ending my life, because by the end of the next block, I had decided to postpone my plan.
Excerpt from “The Other Side of Me” by Sidney Sheldon
Sidney Sheldon was a very successful American writer and producer. He is consistently cited as one of the top ten best selling fiction writers of all time
NY Times reported, “Variety estimated Mr. Sheldon’s net worth, including his earnings from his film and television ventures, at $3 billion. Mr. Sheldon’s books have been published in 51 languages, making him, by many accounts, the most widely translated author in the world. “
What many don’t know is that Sidney Sheldon almost died of suicide at the age of 17, and was saved because his father (who was supposed to be away) forgot something and had to go back home.
Sidney has Bipolar.
THE OTHER SIDE OF ME
At age 31 Sidney won an Oscar for the best original screenplay ‘The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer’. Winning an Oscar is a big accomplishment, and normally it would make a person feel ecstatic, right?
That’s not the case when you have depression.
As Sidney wrote in his memoir,
“How did I feel?
I felt more depressed than I had ever felt in my life.
I felt as though I had stolen something from people who deserved it more than I did.
I felt like a phony”
“On what should have been the happiest night of my life, I was suicidal.
I have to see a psychiatrist, I thought.
Something is wrong with me.”
And he did. Sidney went and saw a psychiatrist and was then diagnosed with Bipolar, or as what they called at that time “manic-depression”.
Sidney was treated with Lithium, and he continued on writing and producing screenplays, television shows, films, and novels.
Sidney was the author of 18 novels which have sold over 300 million copies.
His novels often featured determined women who persevere in a tough world run by hostile men. The novels contained a lot of suspense and devices to keep the reader turning the page.
Most of his readers were women. Asked why this was the case he said: “I like to write about women who are talented and capable, but most important, retain their femininity. Women have tremendous power — their femininity, because men can’t do without it.”
Books were Sheldon’s favorite medium. “I love writing books,” he commented. “Movies are a collaborative medium, and everyone is second-guessing you. When you do a novel you’re on your own. It’s a freedom that doesn’t exist in any other medium.”Wikipedia
The reason I write this post is to show you that even if you are living with severe, lifelong mental illness, you can have a productive, happy life and a successful career
In fact, I think Sidney’s success was not happening despite his Bipolar brain, but in part, it was because of it.
Thanks for reading 🙂