Margot Kidder (1948-2018) – My Mental Wellness Hero

I have just learned of the passing of Margot Kidder, a well-known actress and an advocate of alternative approaches to mental health. In 2001, Margot had a profound affect on my life when I learned that she managed her bipolar disorder with supplements and vitamins. Although I did not take charge of my nutrition until 2009, I credit my change in part to Margot’s work.

My most fascinating connection to Margot came later. I learned that the farmhouse where I hold my annual Body Image Day workshop is the same location where, in 1968, Margot filmed her very first movie, “The Best Damn Fiddler from Calabogie to Kaladar.”

Thank you, Margot, for your bravery in sharing your alternative experiences with mental health at a time when it was not well received in the medical community.

~ Sara Hardy

Forward by Sara Hardy

THE ACTRESS MARGOT Kidder had a very public mental breakdown in 1996. I remember it well, because I was also living with a mental illness. My heart went out to her.

A few years later, Margot Kidder was again in the news, but this time, she announced to the world that she had cured her mental illness with nutritional supplements. I was excited to share this promising news with my psychiatrist, but his response to the article wasn’t what I expected. He said, “She’s doing the world a huge disservice if she thinks she can cure mental illness with vitamins.” I felt such a letdown, because it had sounded like she was on to something important. Trusting my doctor’s opinion and discounting my own, I continued on with my medications for another decade.

I have thought about Margot Kidder often since then, because finding my mental health started when I improved the nutrition in my diet. Encouraged by my original gut feeling that she had discovered an alternative approach to medication, I listened to my intuition and soon discovered other fascinating but unorthodox ways to recover my health.

My hope is that my story inspires you to follow your own curiosity. Don’t be blindly swayed by those in authoritative roles. They may have more education, but that doesn’t mean they always have the right answers for you. Use every resource available to find your own answers. The journey that you are on is yours alone, so take command of it. Remember the words of Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher from long ago, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”


~ Excerpt from the book “Bittersweet: Married to Mental Illness” by Adam Hardy


Celebrating Sara’s ten years of blogging

Ten years ago today, Sara joined an online weight loss program to lose weight. Little did we know that her personal blog on the forum would lead to our book Bittersweet: Married to Mental Illness. Here’s what she wrote today on her private blog:

Today is my 10-year Anniversary!

It’s hard to believe that it was 10 years ago today when I decided to sign up once again to this online weight loss program to give it another try. My first attempt a few months earlier went down in flames because I had no time on the computer. We only had one computer in the house and everyone wanted to play computer games. When I did get a few minutes alone on it, the family complained about all the food wrappers I left around the computer as I started to input the data of my favourite foods to help track my calories. I remember just wanting to scream because I was so desperate to lose weight and so frustrated that I had no time on the computer.

I guess my determination won out, because I signed up again and pushed my way into getting time on the computer. In the beginning, I had a lot of fun building my recipes and my grocery lists to help understand my food intake. When I discovered the forum, I was completely blown away. I was suffering from clinical depression and didn’t get much out. I had been isolated for 15 years. Being able to read what people had to say on food, diets, nutrition, spirituality and positive thinking was the beginning of the world opening up for me. I started to learn about Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Abraham-Hicks and Eckhart Tolle. I chatted online with people about nutrition, the mind-body connection, raw foods and chakras. I started feeling better physically, mentally and emotionally, and I couldn’t get enough. I was like a sponge. Every week I was ordering a new book, trying new recipes, and discovering more Youtubes on spirituality.

Starting my personal blog was terrifying. I felt scared and insecure about what other people were going to think of my thoughts and opinions. I would constantly edit my posts, wanting nothing but perfection. I would be so upset if I noticed a typo. I really was my own worst critic.  However, I kept blogging and sharing. It felt good to finally be a part of something, even if it was online. I felt like I belonged somewhere. I had people to laugh with everyday. I had a community. I had my own tribe.

Slowly but surely, my physical health improved as I taught myself about nutrition. My emotional health grew stronger, as I now had a place to express my feelings. I blogged about my Grandmother’s cancer and my unexpected rage; I blogged about my deepest fears when Adam got sick and ended up in emergency; I blogged about my frustrations with overeating and my overwhelment when my weight would creep back up again; I blogged about my fascination with intuitive eating and finally making peace with my food and my body. I typed my little heart out and unexpectedly found I had a following and new friendships. Thank you to everyone who cheered me on through those difficult years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you.

Ten years later and it’s like looking back at a completely different person. Today I’m much more content with my life and myself. My energy is no longer focused on dieting. After 10 years with this blog, I think the most fascinating observation that I can make is realizing that my weight today is probably close to the weight I was when I first joined up. The difference between then and now is how I think and feel about myself today. I love my body instead of hating it. Wanting the perfect body was a complete illusion, as there’s nothing wrong with me. Today I’m a 56-year-old mom and wife, and this is what a 56-year-old body is supposed to look like. Life is much better with this healthy perspective.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported me, especially through the painful years. Thank you for letting me be myself and for sticking around when I went exploring “outside of the box.” Thank you most of all for your support of our book Bittersweet.  It’s one thing to blog to your heart’s content in the safety of a private forum but it’s quite another thing to be completely vulnerable in the public eye. This blog has given me the confidence to go out there and share our story, in the hopes that it can inspire those who are also struggling with mental illness. Now, that’s something to celebrate.

Sara Hardy



In sickness and in health—those words are often spoken unthinkingly as part of the time-honoured vows of a wedding, but few who make that promise realize what could befall them in the marriage that follows. An occasional flu or a broken arm is what most newlyweds think about when living with sickness—I certainly did. They do not think about their spouse having a chronic, incurable and difficult-to-treat neurochemical disorder with a society-wide stigma attached to it—and that is what mental illness so often is.

Stories abound about a person living with a mental illness, but they are invariably told by the sufferer. This book is different. This battle with mental illness is told from the unique, and often overlooked, perspective of the confused and overworked spouse. Here is a person who knows the sufferer better than anyone else, and who watches helplessly as their partner fights against great odds in an unequal battle for their sanity—and all too often their very life. The husband or wife has to live with the fallout from that battle, but they can make a difference. They can help to reduce the odds that are stacked against their loved one.

Sara, my wife of twenty-five years, grew up in an emotionally abusive home. As a consequence of her troubled childhood, she became bulimic at age 12, an alcoholic at 17, suicidal at 24 and bankrupt at 25. Sara—alone, with only the ridicule of her family for company—did not give up, and through sheer determination, she found recovery from her eating disorder and her addiction to alcohol. Her reward, as she sees it, was me: the man of her dreams and her escape to a life of normalcy. Deeply in love, we courted, married, got good jobs, bought a nice house, and gave birth to a healthy son. Everything was wonderfully normal, and the darkness of Sara’s troubled past was relegated to the vague mists of history … or so we thought. Sara’s fight was far from over, and mine had just begun. I was not at all prepared for it.

Soon after Sara returned to work following her maternity leave, a melancholy fell over her. My wife was diagnosed with dysthymia, a chronic but mild depression. Over time, this diagnosis was followed by ever more serious ones, until finally she was given the psychiatric label of atypical, rapid-cycling, Type 1 bipolar disorder, or as it is more commonly known, severe manic depression. Once again, Sara had to find the determination and strength to climb out of a dark abyss. Unlike before, this time I was by her side, but I was completely ignorant of the bewildering torments of mental illness. To me at that time, mental illness was just something that affected a few strange people on the fringes of society. All-knowing doctors made them well, or if that wasn’t possible they looked after them in some nice places, and that was that. Little did I appreciate that mental illness, in one form or another, is pervasive in our society, and doctors are groping in the dark just as much as their patients. And those nice places? They aren’t very nice at all.

Without giving away too much of the story that follows, Sara twisted this way and that in the maze. Eventually, she worked her way out by taking responsibility for her own health and choosing to take a path less travelled: finding mental wellness without drugs. The first half of this book recounts Sara’s slow descent into mental illness, while the second half describes the unusual path that Sara chose to travel in order to recover her health. The true significance of my wife’s story can only be appreciated when it is understood to what depths she fell, and to what heights she has now risen.

Sara often tells her story to others struggling with their health, or their weight, and she has a growing reputation as being very inspirational. Her private blog is followed by people having trouble with depression or food issues or both, and her talks to one person or a dozen are full of emotion and hard-won advice. Whenever Sara shares her story, there are usually a lot of tears all round, because people can relate to her and her story.

Sara has often talked about writing a book about her story, but her talents do not lie in that direction. I, on the other hand, love to write. I have published several novels, some magazine articles, and many technical reports and scientific papers. To me, the blank page is not something to be feared, but rather it is something that is full of creative potential. It fell to me to write Sara’s inspirational story. However, at key moments in the book, I felt it important that Sara tells her story in her own words.

My wife was thrilled when I committed to write her story—or is it my story? No, it is our story. And our story began in the lobby of a movie theatre …

About the Hardys

Adam Hardy has been married to his wife, Sara, for over 25 eventful years. Their life with Sara’s severe bipolar disorder has taken them from the depths of suicide attempts to the heights of sharing their story of hope with others. After 14 years of failed pharmaceutical experimentation, Sara began a relentless drive to manage her life without drugs. This has resulted in profound, and sometimes quirky, changes to her diet, her lifestyle, and her ways of thinking about herself. Adam has been a witness to this strange journey, and he tells their story from the forgotten perspective of someone married to mental illness.