Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness

After I heard Jessie Close speak at a National Alliance on Mental Illness event, I felt hopeful.

My son was going through a tough time dealing with his mental illness and hearing how Jessie had overcome so much adversity in her life, gave me hope that he could do the same. I approached Jessie after her speech and suggested that she write a memoir. I felt strongly that her story would help put a human face on mental illness and inspire others. I suggested that we name her tell-all book RESILIENCE – that title actually was mentioned to me by my son, Kevin, who is a mental health peer-to-peer specialist – because that single word describes Jessie’s incredible, fighting spirit and journey.

And what a journey it has been.

When Jessie was still a toddler, her parents joined a religious cult that separated her from them and her siblings. She began acting out by rubbing the skin between her thumb and forefinger until it was so raw that it bled. Soon, she was rebelling, experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex without realizing that her behavior was being encouraged by her underlying and undiagnosed bipolar disorder. It wasn’t until her own adult son, Calen, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and voices inside Jessie’s head drove her to the brink of suicide, that she finally got the medical help that she needed to recover at age 51. It was her sister, Glenn, the famous Hollywood actress who drove her to the hospital.

I’m proud to have helped Jessie tell her inspiring story of hope and RESILIENCE. I hope it will uplift and inspire you.

Official Description:

At a young age, Jessie Close struggled with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder in her early twenties, but she was not properly diagnosed until the age of fifty. Jessie and her three siblings, including actress Glenn Close, spent many years in the Moral Re-Armament cult. Jessie passed her childhood in New York, Switzerland, Connecticut, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and finally Los Angeles, where her life quickly became unmanageable. She was just fifteen years old.

Jessie’s emerging mental illness led her into a life of addictions, five failed marriages, and to the brink of suicide. She fought to raise her children despite her ever worsening mental conditions and under the strain of damaged romantic relationships. Her sister Glenn and certain members of their family tried to be supportive throughout the ups and downs, and Glenn’s vignettes in RESILIENCE provide an alternate perspective on Jessie’s life as it began to spiral out of control. Jessie was devastated to discover that mental illness was passed on to her son Calen, but getting him help at long last helped Jessie to heal as well. Eleven years later, Jessie is a productive member of society and a supportive daughter, mother, sister, and grandmother.

In RESILIENCE, Jessie dives into the dark and dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror and turmoil. With New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist Pete Earley, she tells of finally discovering the treatment she needs and, with the encouragement of her sister and others, the emotional fortitude to bring herself back from the edge.

Circumstantial Evidence Cover


Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness

At a young age, Jessie Close struggled with emerging symptoms of severe bipolar disorder that lead her to the brink of suicide. In Resilience, she dives into the dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror while her sister (actress Glenn Close) shares alternate views on Jessie’s life. With Pete Earley, Jessie tells of finding the treatment she needs and the emotional strength to bring herself back from the edge.