Shifting Ground

Shifting Ground
Ruth (Major) Jones McVeigh
Xlibris Corporation (July 2006)

This autobiography traces the author’s tempestuous 22-year marriage to an undiagnosed manic-depressive (bipolar disorder) with whom she raised two children. Throughout the years, the emotional and geographical ground under the author’s feet kept shifting. There were travels, adventures, job changes and financial disasters, love and fun, but also violence and pain. Throughout this story, the benchmarks of manic-depression can be clearly identified as can the repercussions on relationships and family life.

Two years in Guyana, South America, provided memories no one else could share and kept the couple close when circumstances tended to separate them. They camped and canoed in isolated regions of Algonquin Park, Ontario, explored the streets of London, England, and beach-combed on Vancouver Island’s west coast. In addition to the unhappy and perplexing aspects of marriage to a manic-depressive, this book illustrates the positive side of life with a partner who does not fear consequences, who is adventurous and willing to risk.

The author Ruth (Major) Jones McVeigh, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been a writer most of her life. She worked at the Halifax Herald and Mail as a cub reporter, wrote entertainment reviews for the Toronto Star, feature articles for Halifax and Toronto newspapers and Western Living Magazine as well as book review and opinion columns for B.C. weeklies. She was editor of Family Pages and Entertainment Guide for the Campbell River Courier and Upper Islander and in addition to being a general reporter for the North Island Gazette, wrote the Tourist Guide for the North Island.

In addition to Shifting Ground, she is the author of two non-fiction books – Fogswamp (with Trudy Turner, published in 1976 by Hancock House) and Close Harmony (published 1984 by Theytus Books) – and the founder of the Mariposa Folk Festival, 1961, Canada’s oldest annual music festival.

Shifting Ground is on one level the story of the ups, downs, highs, lows, and turmoil of a woman’s marriage to a man with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, providing stark glimpses into what it’s like to live with manic depression that will strike a chord with anyone who has ever been there. But the book is much more than that — ultimately this is the story of a remarkably creative and resourceful woman and her journey through life, love, parenting, tragedy, and triumph toward self-discovery and survival.

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