A window into the world of bipolar disorder

As a teacher I am on the constant prowl for books, movies, pictures, etc. that give a realistic and personal view of the experience of mental illness. I picked up a great book regarding the world of the Bipolar I person: Madness: A Bipolar Life, by Marya Hornbacher (Houghton-Mifflin, 2008).

Marya tells of her life in short chapters beginning with her memories of life as a 6 or 7 year old. It is less biography and more of a sampling of her thought and emotional life. She has severe highs that last for a couple years, severe lows, and many rapid cycling from high to low in a matter of minutes. You can help but get a sense of her inner world from times in the hospital (many times at that) to impact of her medications and the ineffective care by several psychiatrists.

She is also author of “Wasted”, a book about her anorexia and successful treatment. Ironically, while on her book tour for that book she was drunk most days (trying to control her mania), impulsive in every way, and completely out of control.  

If you check out her book on Amazon, you can search inside. See if you can read pages 11-13 (search for the word “goatman”) and get a rich and painful flavor of her inner world in 1978.

If anyone here as read “Wasted” feel free to let us know what you thought of it.


Filed under book reviews, Depression, Psychiatric Medications, Psychology, teaching counseling

2 responses to “A window into the world of bipolar disorder

  1. Pingback: Bipolar Disorder: A Disease That Drags Onto Adulthood

  2. Jess

    I’m struck in this “goatman” passage by how lovingly her mother seems to deals with her. I’ve not read the book, so I don’t know whether that is the case or not. I’d be interested to know, but I’m not sure that I’m actually up for reading the book!

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