Archives for Books

Books

Bipolar Disorder For Dummies, New Edition

We recently updated our book, Bipolar Disorder For Dummies, to create a second edition and took the opportunity to make some significant changes. The first few chapters will be familiar to anyone who has read the first edition, although we revised those chapters, as well, to bring them up to date.

In developing the new edition, we tried to focus chapters on specific issues that people with bipolar disorder and their loved ones often have to deal with, such as a reluctance to take medications, and specific skill sets that anyone who is living with bipolar disorder can benefit from, such as communication and problem-solving.
Continue Reading

Bipolar Stories

Wishful Drinking

Last night my wife and I watched Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking – the HBO film version of her solo Broadway performance based on her book of the same title. In Wishful Drinking, Fisher recounts the emotional ups and downs of her childhood and career and her struggles with depression and mania, all in a very humorous way.

One thing that struck me, and I've noticed this in other situations, is that families are often pretty screwed up and sometimes it's the most "normal" person in the family, the one who seems to really have it all together, takes the hit and ends up with the bipolar label. Then the family treats that person as the crazy one – the problem. I can't claim that this is usually how it plays out, but I've observed it in a couple cases.
Continue Reading

Books

Book Review: Balancing the Beast

About a year ago, a friend of a friend of mine from Slovenia, Helena Smole, sent me her book, Balancing the Beast: A Bright View of Schizoaffective Disorder – Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Type.

I tend to drag my feet when asked to do book reviews, and I was turned off by the use of the phrase "mental patient" on the cover (in a quote from someone other than Helen Smole, but it still made me hesitant to read the book).

Well, I finally recovered from my knee-jerk reaction and read the book. I'm glad I did.
Continue Reading

Books

Book Review: The Family ADHD Solution

I know this is Bipolar Beat and not ADHD Beat, but a close colleague of mine just published a book that I think is one of the best for helping families deal with ADHD, and I wanted to post about it to spread the word.

Mark Bertin MD is the author of The Family ADHD Solution (Palgrave Macmillan) which blends the science of ADHD and brain development into remarkably powerful tools for families and children living with this disorder. ADHD is a common and enormously challenging neurological disorder of the brain that disrupts children's' and family's lives every day. In the first part of the book, Dr. Bertin presents the most current scientific understanding of ADHD in an accessible, useful discussion – efficiently cutting through a lot of the misunderstandings and distortions that surround this diagnosis.
Continue Reading

Bipolar Stories

The Unwelcome Gift

Did you ever have a teacher you loathed but came to appreciate, respect, and even love over time? I've had a few.

These were people who saw my real potential and pushed relentlessly, making it impossible to slack off and take short cuts. They brought out the best in me.

Oddly enough, the same can be said of Manic Depression. For me it has been a hard, even cruel teacher; however, without it, my most important emotional and spiritual growth would never have taken place.

Today I know who I am and I enjoy being myself, indeed, there is no one on earth I would rather be. I lead a balanced, fulfilling, and highly productive life. This peace of mind and sense of purpose are largely the result of my relationship with Manic Depression, which has evolved from mere survival to mastery.
Continue Reading

Books

Book Review: Invisible Driving by Alistair McHarg

I recently read Invisible Driving by Alistair McHarg. This captivating novel is his autobiographical account of surviving his third major manic episode. As one might imagine, time passes at an accelerated rate during mania, and thus the book has an extremely fast and increasingly frenetic pace. In other words, it's a very quick read.

As one who is familiar with the highs of bipolar disorder, I found it quite interesting and entertaining. Readers who haven't experienced mania up close and personal may find it difficult to believe, but speaking from experience, every phrase resonated with manic reality.
Continue Reading

Books

Book Review: Bi-Polar Expedition by Neil Walton

I just finished reading Bi-Polar Expedition by Neil Walton (Chipmunka Publishing, 2007), and I must admit it was a very gripping read for me. I found it astounding that the paranoid delusions and hallucinations that Mr. Walton experienced during his manic highs so closely resembled my own imaginings.

After reading other bipolar memoirs and descriptions of people's manic experiences, I guess these are recurring themes. How odd though, I think, that people from such different walks of life, education and socio-economic backgrounds, even gender (male or female) should experience the same types of far-fetched fantasies in our hyped-up minds.
Continue Reading