“Madness: A Bipolar Life”


I’m halfway through “Madness” & I love it.


This memoir captures the complexity of mental illness by looking at the comorbidity with eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and alcoholism (self-medicating). The disorders feed off of each other, making treatment even more tricky.

It shows how complicated treatment can be, even when you are seeking help from a professional. Psychiatrists prescribe medications which exacerbate the mood swings, misdiagnose her with depression, overlook her severe alcoholism… treatment isn’t easy.

Accepting that you even are bipolar is hard. She struggles to take her condition seriously, the limits that it should place on her life. Instead, she continues overworking and overdrinking, making her mood swings severe and her medication practically ineffective.

Her writing captures her experiences, the highs and lows, with wit.



Here is a snippet from her book:

“Here’s how you make absolutely sure that you’ll keep getting crazier by the day:

  • Ignore everything your psychiatrist tells you. Disregard all his warnings about the way you’re living your life- in fact, do absolutely everything he tells you not to.
  • Don’t always take your pills. They’re a hassle, and what if they make you dull? You don’t need them. And if you’re going to take the pills, take them with a glass of wine. It will make the mood swings even more exciting.
  • Don’t sleep; you’ve got to make sure your body clock is as fucked up as possible. The less you sleep, the more manic you’ll get, until soon you’ll go completely over the edge.
  • Drink caffeine. Tons of it. Take your morning pills with coffee. It can’t hurt.
  • Work around the clock- it’s important to put yourself under as much stress as possible.
  • Eating normally would stabilize your blood sugar, so don’t do that; it’s better to keep your body in as unstable a state as you possibly can for maximum results.
  • And, above all else, drink like a fish.”




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