It started as a college prank; a friend offered Ruth Poniarski a brownie that, unbeknownst to her, was laced with angel dust. What resulted was a debilitating accident, and the first of many mental breakdowns that spiraled into diagnoses of psychosis, schizophrenia, severe anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Long Island native Ruth Poniarski has released her first book, “Journey of the Self: Memoir of an Artist,” published by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Warren Publishing. Poniarski’s unflinchingly honest memoir shares her coming-of-age story through the lenses of mental illness, disability, and steadfast determination.
For years, Poniarski struggled to cope with her new reality as she undertook a rigorous architectural program, sought out new friends (and the perfect mate), and battled through the depths of mental illness. Her journey led her in all directions as she sought comfort, solace, stability, and love.
Now an accomplished artist, Poniarski considers her memoir to be a portrait of sorts. “This book, like many of my paintings, is about introspection,” she says. “So many of us, particularly when we’re young, seek definition through labels or through what others think of us. It’s so easy to say, ‘I have bipolar disorder, therefore, X’ or ‘So and so doesn’t love me the way I love him, therefore, Y.’ But none of that is who we truly are.”
The release of Poniarski’s memoir is particularly timely in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and social distancing orders. “A lot of people are stuck at home right now. This kind of isolation forces a person to examine themselves; what makes them unique beyond who they are to society,” says Poniarski. “That kind of self-reflection allows us to become more available to others. You have to know yourself first.”
“So, who am I?” Poniarski laughs. “Well … you’ll just have to read the book!”
For more information about Ruth Poniarski or her book, please visit here.