These pages offer more than just the brave pen of someone navigating life with bipolar disorder, they also provide inspiration to others fighting a similar battle, knowing there is real hope. Here are eleven autobiographies to offer hope and understanding to many:
#1 Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More by Mark Vonnegut (Bantam, 2011)
Mark Vonnegut, the son of the late Kurt Vonnegut, recounts his time at Harvard Medical School, years of self-medication with alcohol and prescription pills, and a fourth psychotic break in 1985 that found him strapped to a gurney in the very hospital where he practiced. That same year Vonnegut was named Boston Magazine’s “No. 1 Pediatrician.” Another of Vonnegut’s titles that should grace anyone’s bookshelf is his 2002 highly praised The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity.
#2 More Fool Me by Stephen Fry (Michael Joseph, 2014)
More Fool Me, the recently released third instalment of Fry’s memoirs. As in the previous volumes—which touched on his adolescent expulsions from private schools, a brief stint in prison for credit card fraud, crippling self-doubt, and a suicide attempt—he is candid about the darker side of his incredibly successful life and living with bipolar disorder. Don’t miss Fry’s first two reads: The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography, 2010 and Moab is My Washpot: An Autobiography, 1997.
#3 An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. (Vintage, 1995)
Kay Redfield Jamison is an accomplished woman with academic credentials and a professor of psychiatry at the prestigious John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her bestselling memoir is a raw and honest story of her own battles with bipolar, a diagnosis that came after she joined the UCLA faculty as an assistant professor of psychiatry and her own resistance to treatment.
#4 All the Things We Never Knew, Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness by Sheila Hamilton (Seal Press, 2015)
Sheila Hamilton lost her “once brilliant and passionate” husband to suicide within six weeks of a bipolar diagnosis. All The things We Never Knew is a memoir, but it’s also a guide for families in crisis, with dozens of resources to help figure out where to turn for care and treatment.
#5 Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania by Andy Behrman (Random House, 2002)
Andy Behrman wrote Electroboy while convalescing from four months of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) that effectively ended 20 years of undiagnosed, out-of-control bipolar disorder. Electroboy traces Behrman’s a life of sex, drugs and a varied career until he found himself in a scandal after dealing forgeries of the art of Mark Kostabi.
#6 Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D by Lizzie Simon (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
From the outside Lizzie Simon had everything: friends, loving family, ivy-league education, coveted career as a theater producer, yet she still felt lonely and misunderstood. Detour is a road trip of sorts… “along the way she finds romance and madness, survivors and sufferers, and, somewhere between the lanes, herself.”
#7 Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton (Dey Street Books, 2015)
Olympic distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton confronts her experience with bipolar mania with brutal honesty. “In my case, my bipolar was driving me toward sex. It could have just as easily have been driving me toward drugs and alcohol or gambling, the way it does many people. The message, though, is that it can be treated if diagnosed correctly, with the help of medical people and family and friends. There is hope, and I’m living proof.’’
#8 Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher (Houghton Mifflin, 2009)
On the heels of her Pulitzer-nominated memoir Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (1998) Marya Hornbacher shows a triumphant effort to refocus her life’s narrative through the lens of her diagnosis. She once again considers her erratic behavior, crippling depressions and suicide attempt, fits of rage and joy, and her arduous battle with an eating disorder, but with a new clarity. The result, she says, is an assured story of a woman who has grown into her illness, but also a writer who has grown into her craft.
#9 Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney (Harper, 2009)
Once a successful entertainment attorney representing the likes of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, Cheney has chronicled her lifelong battle with bipolar disorder in this bestseller. She pulls no punches in Manic: A Memoir as she recounts the despair, the suicide attempts, flirting recklessly with men, and the dramatic side effects of treatment.
#10 Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
Wishful Drinking, an autobiographical collage that originated as a highly praised one-woman performance by Carrie Fisher, became an HBO special, and was published in book form in 2008. “I’m apparently very good at it.” People magazine in its four out of four-star review of Wishful Drinking, put it this way: “Fisher makes each crushing tragedy hilarious.”
#11 Patty Duke’s Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness (Bantam, 1992)
Patty Duke wrote her memoir Call Me Anna in 1987, but was approached to write another book specifically about bipolar disorder. A Brilliant Madness, co-authored with medical writer Gloria Hochman, pairs her personal account of having bipolar with scientific information about the illness and ways to treat it. Her enduring message about bipolar: “It’s fixable. People need to know that there is forgiveness for the bad things, and the illness does not own you.”
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community