Active Minds Speaker
Boston-based singer-songwriter Meg Hutchinson discusses her journey with Bipolar I Disorder from the age of nineteen to the present.
Her story traces the illness’ onset in college, its effects on her life and creativity while untreated, her hospitalization, and the experience of receiving diagnosis and treatment during acute and recovery phases. She places strong emphasis on suicide prevention through her lived experience, as well as through her friendship with Golden Gate Bridge patrolman Sgt. Kevin Briggs.
Meg discusses the challenges and importance of family and social support, the lifestyle changes that have been vital to her recovery, and how illness has inspired deep transformation and greater wellness.
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Meg Hutchinson is a Boston-based singer-songwriter, poet, and recording artist on Red House Records. At 19, she began struggling with the deep depressions that accompanied the onset of Bipolar I Disorder, but waited nearly a decade to seek treatment. After becoming suicidal and being hospitalized several times in summer 2006, Meg took control of her treatment and now tells her story of recovery through art, spiritual practice, and mental health advocacy.
A graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock with a degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in creative writing, Meg is currently completing a Master of Divinity degree at Boston University’s School of Theology— focusing on interfaith hospital chaplaincy, psychology, and conflict transformation. Meg has released nine albums of original music and has won numerous songwriting awards in the US, Ireland and the UK. In 2015, Meg collaborated with Ezzie Films/Bluestar Media to film Pack up Your Sorrows, a feature length documentary on mental wellness told through the lens of her story. Meg has studied meditation at the Sakya Institute in Cambridge, MA since 2009 with Harvard Buddhist Chaplain Lama Migmar, and is a certified Pranavayu yoga instructor. She is the proud mom of a rescued pit bull, Austin.
Visit Meg’s website here.
- Bipolar Disorder
- Recovery Through Creativity
- Stigma Reduction
- Suicide Prevention
- Yoga and Meditation
In her presentation, Meg discusses her journey with Bipolar I Disorder from the age of nineteen to the present. Her story traces the illness’ onset in college, its effects on her life and creativity while untreated, her hospitalization, and the experience of receiving diagnosis and treatment during acute and recovery phases.
This presentation combines Meg Hutchinson’s personal story with a musical performance of her original songs. She began writing songs as a teenager, during the same time that she began to struggle with early symptoms of Bipolar I. In the years since, Meg has released nine albums and become a nationally touring artist. Meg discusses how poetry and music were her primary coping mechanism for years and how creativity remains central to her healing process to this day. The format is 70 minutes direct delivery with additional time for Q&A. (This program requires a professional sound system. Tech rider available upon request.)
Meg discusses her journey with Bipolar I Disorder over the past 17 years, from fear and shame to acceptance and health. Strong emphasis is placed on recovery as a daily practice and the challenges and rewards this approach inspires. This presentation narrates Meg’s acceptance of the need to take medication, the profound effects that meditation and yoga have had on her life, the value of lifestyle changes, the risks of undiagnosed alcohol abuse, building a positive support network, and the value of honoring our inner lives. (This program may include an interfaith discussion of spirituality where applicable.)
This documentary, Pack Up Your Sorrows, is a story of illness, hope, and transformation told through the lens of singer/songwriter Meg Hutchinson. In this film, she interviews leading minds on issues of mental wellness such as Kay Redfield Jamison and Scott Stossel, and explores alternative therapies with such luminaries as Lama Migmar Tseten, Harvard Buddhist Chaplain & Director of The Sakya Institute for Buddhist Studies. Singer/songwriter Meg Hutchinson weaves together a story of Bipolar Disorder, hope and transformation, illuminated by her music and stunning images of the natural world, to guide us through this unique and moving meditation on achieving wellness.
In 2003, songwriter Meg Hutchinson read an article in The New Yorker featuring an interview with Kevin Briggs, a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol. Briggs had saved hundreds of people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge by asking them a few simple questions. Hutchinson wrote a song called “Gatekeeper” based on those questions and dedicated it to Briggs. Ten years later, Briggs heard the song and wrote to Hutchinson. They formed a friendship based on their dedication to mental health literacy and their shared struggles. With a deep commitment to suicide prevention, they offer two powerful perspectives on the issues that matter most in saving lives.
Meg travels from Massachusetts
“Meg’s presentation was even more inspiring and educational than we had hoped. Her warm demeanor and her deep insights into living with mental illness based on her own experience had a real impact on our students. I heard from numerous students afterward that they went back to their residence halls and had in-depth discussions about how to be present to peers living with mental illness. In terms of equipping students with both awareness of how to support others and the ability to seek help when they experience mental health issues themselves, I think the impact will be long-lasting.”
Director, Ina E. Gordy Honors College; coordinator of Forum Series
Mississippi University for Women
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