Periodically I go to the bookstore and see what the popular press is selling in the local Barns & Noble bookstore on Bipolar Disorder and other related issues. This last time I got a few books that I wouldn’t normally get. I don’t usually use workbooks when I buy them, so I bought a workbook calling itself a handbook this time. It’s a handbook for happiness and surprisingly, I’m actually going through it and doing the exercises. My stack also included a memoir on the life of a woman who suffers from Bipolar Disorder (BPD).
The memoir on BPD has definitely captured my attention. I got all the way to page 101 before I had to stop and breathe. The woman’s story was crushing. It is a vivid exposé exactly spelling out the symptoms of sever BPD. If you’ve never been able to express how you feel at your worst, this book could do it for you.
Although I’m actually taking the time to read this book, I’m not going to tell you the name of the book or the author. Usually I can’t pay attention to a book long enough to get through it all the way much less half of it. The first memoir I ever read changed my life. It forced me to admit I was sick and that there was help for me. That was The Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamison.
I’ve stopped reading this unnamed memoir because I’m questioning its truthfulness. If I went through all the massive amounts of prescribed medications, alcohol use and bizarre behavior. She suffers through alcohol poisoning, doses of prescribed medications that defy explanation, no sleep and sleeping with different men almost as fast as she can meet them. She’s petite woman and has suffered from eating disorders before being diagnosed with BPD. This is her second memoir. Her first was on her eating disorders and she was publicizing it when she was only 23. (If you know who I’m talking about please don’t say who it is in the comments.)
I want to understand why this woman isn’t dead. How can you never sleep, over medicate and drink more than four bottles of alcohol a day for years and still survive? Was this a New York Times bestseller because of the truth of it? Or the sensationalism?
I will finish this book. I owe it to the author before I decide what’s really going on. I have started researching her online but so far have only found her website, her on Wikipedia, and a couple of interviews about her first book on her eating disorder struggles. I would like to be able to contact the author and ask her directly about how she’s survived.
She paints a picture in the 101 pages I’ve read so far that shows the worst of how BPD is. If I’m certain that this book is authentic, I’ll be happy to recommend it to you. It might be a good book to show that no matter how sick you are there is still hope. But then, it may make you feel like you should just give up because you’re not as strong as the author is.
Until then, I’ll try to suspend my disbelief so that I can read it fairly and be open to its veracity.
Have you ever come across anything like this? What did you do?