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Never Regret the Pain
by Sel Erder YACKLEY

Sel Yackley combines the observational skills of a journalist, the love of a mother, and the grief of a wife in this gripping tale of what happens to a family when one member suffers from bipolar disorder," says Donna Gill, retired managing editor of Chicago Lawyer Magazine. "Woven through her story are threads of history and of social justice, centering on a debate over capital punishment, with opposition in principle coming not from the defense table or civil liberties groups but from the front of the courtroom: the judge himself.  His inner debates and torments are the center of this compelling story with lessons for all of us...

Sel Erder was born in Istanbul and attended Ankara Koleji from which she was chosen as an American Field Service student to attend West Phoenix High School in Arizona.  After returning to Turkey and working for the U.S. Logistics group in Ankara, she got a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and awarded full scholarship to get a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Following graduation she worked at United Press International where she met her husband, Frank Yackley “who was charming, brilliant, good looking and romantic,” recalls Sel.  After Frank finished law school, the couple moved to central Illinois where Frank quickly rose in the political arena—becoming state’s attorney, circuit judge and then chief judge.  Sel taught school, opened a public relations agency and became a political activist while raising their three children. 

Sel & Frank in 1983

Frank's bipolar illness was triggered by the stress of a murder trial over which he presided in the early 1980s.  Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a Bipolar Spouse reveals the cascading effect of mental illness on the Yackley family.  Left to pick up the broken pieces after her husband's suicide, Sel shares her story of how she keeps his memory alive while struggling with the knowledge that he had refused proper treatment.  Had he had access to today;s pharmaceuticals and advancements in psychiatric care, the story might have turned out differently.  Instead, we learn about a family bravely moving on without a talented and accomplished father, husband, and respected judge.

"I admire Sel's courage in writing this book," says Dr. John Morella, author of A Guide for Effective Psychotherapy.  "Sel shares her  most intimate thoughts and feelings and provides the layperson an informed account of this disorder.  She has performed a great service that no professional mental health provider could---a look at the legacy of this mental disease and suicide."

 --John R. Morella, Ph.D., author of .A Guide for Effective Psychotherapy.

"I am  very much impressed with Sel's writing. Her journalistic background shines through.  She frames the story well, keeps the narrative moving, and includes various kinds of anecdotes. I really think it will help people who face comparable situations," says Stephen Kinzer, author Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq

Barb Argumedo Ph.D., Educational Change Agent thinks this is a compelling and important book that should be made into a movie. "I applaud her courage and that of her children for allowing such a holistic understanding to emerge.  Sel has made a tremendous contribution to understanding the world of a family with a bipolar member," she adds.

Ten years after Frank"s suicide and once her children were in college; Sel moved back to Chicago and worked in the travel business. On the boards of several international groups, Sel continues to write, organize tours to Turkey, and lecture on mental health issues at various support groups.

 Never Regret the Pain: Loving and Losing a Bipolar Spouse,, or

Fall 2006
Issue# 19
Poetry Writing Event
April 2004
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