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caption: Panel from Ellen Forney's award-winning graphic memoir "Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me"
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Panel from Ellen Forney's award-winning graphic memoir "Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me"
Credit: Ellen Forney

Ep. 8: Are We Going to Be OK? Cartoonist Ellen Forney says bipolar disorder prepared her for the Covid-19 pandemic

As many struggle with anxiety and depression during lockdown, some with a history of mental health challenges are putting to work tools they relied on well before coronavirus.

What is like to experience this pandemic while managing manic depression? Are people with mental health challenges actually more equipped to face a global crisis? Is eating cookies for dinner or smoking pot really the self-care we need right now??

In this hour, KUOW's Are We Going to Be OK? explores mental health, art, and coping strategies that anyone can implement during this unprecedented time of protest and pandemic with New York Times bestselling author, graphic artist, and bipolar wellness coach Ellen Forney.

Ellen Forney is a cartoonist, teacher, and mental health coach. Her work includes New York Times bestselling graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, and its companion book, Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life, a handbook for mental health. Marbles has been translated into six foreign languages, and in 2018 was selected as the Common Book for the University of Washington’s Health Sciences schools. Ellen received a Media Partner Award for both books from NAMI Washington. As a visual artist, she created two permanent large-scale murals for Seattle’s Capitol Hill light rail station. Ellen’s TED talk, “Finding balance in bipolar” has more than 9K views.

caption: Cartoonist Ellen Forney at work.
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Cartoonist Ellen Forney at work.
Credit: Ellen Forney

To check out all of our Are We Going to Be OK? episodes, visit our series page at

Our Are We Going to Be OK? hosts are Jeannie Yandel and Zaki Hamid. This show is produced by Kristin Leong. Our events team is Charlotte Duren and Bridget Anderson. The show's graphics designer and tech guru is Teo Popescu. Our marketing manager is Michaela Gionnatti and our social media strategist is Juan Pablo Chiqiza.

This episode of Are We Going to Be OK? originally aired live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday, May 28, 2020. This web story was originally published on June 23, 2020.