Monday, January 02, 2006

Man for all seasons conquers mental illness

One bright sunny day, Barry Shainbaum, 18, stood at a bus stop in his hometown of Hamilton with a guitar in his hand. As he got on the bus, he had a premonition that he was somehow leaving.

Shortly after, standing in his girlfriend’s living room, he experienced a mental breakdown.
Two days later, he awoke from a long sleep to see his mother sitting beside his bed in the psychiatric ward of a local hospital. “You’re sick, and you will be for the rest of your life,”
she said, repeating the doctor’s comment. “We’ll take care of you.”

This was where he spent the rest of that summer before returning to school. Then at age 21, Shainbaum experienced another episode while on his way to see his psychiatrist, who then diagnosed him as manic depressive. Now known as bipolar disorder, the condition is characterized by a series of moods that fluctuate between mania (feeling indestructible and hyperactive) and depression. He was then put on Lithium to level his moods and was told he’d be on the medication permanently.

Today, youthful looking, with a zest for life, Shainbaum, 53, is completely cured of a mental illness rarely defeated. He continuously sprinkles inspiration working as a successful commercial photographer, author, professional speaker, musician, and most recently, host of his new Jewish talk show Sundays at 11 a.m. on Kitchener’s Christian radio station, CJTW 94.3 Faith FM.

“I once read that God doesn’t give someone any more challenges than he or she can handle,” he said, his eyes sparkling as he smiled from his seat on the black leather couch of his downtown Toronto photography studio. “I think there’s a lot of truth in that. And we strengthen ourselves through life’s challenges.”

Shlomit KrigerTribune Correspondent

To read complete article follow link below.

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