From the author of Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia comes this enlightening book about living with bipolar disorder. You must read Madness: A Bipolar Life.
I’ve got a reason to be interested in this topic. Depression and mental illness run in my family. I picked it up, honestly, to read about someone else’s madness for awhile and to escape the grinding rigidity of my own personal struggles. This book does not disappoint insofar as providing an honest glimpse into years of grappling with the highs and lows of manic depression.
I plunged through chapter after chapter, inspired by Hornbacher’s ability to be funny about the most painful incidents in her life. She describes how the disease cycles for her, with its peaks at hypermanic into full-blown manic phases, then sometimes into psychosis, and back down into black depressions. This woman has had ECT, self-medicated to alcoholism, and been on so many different meds it staggers the imagination. All of this to control a disease that wreaks havoc on the mind.
She lists medications; doses so dizzying to me that I’m surprised and elated when she can stand up straight, or get up out of bed. I believe it’s the first time I’ve not felt sorry for someone with a mental illness. She just doesn’t make that possible, even though many of the episodes she describes are too horrible to imagine.
Hornbacher is my new hero. Why? She lives with this disease, has fought it and lost sometimes; yet she still continues to get up, go manic, get psychotic and then write about it. This is well worth a read.