This is a really impressive memoir, in part of what the reader can learn about bi-polarism and how it affects a person; in other parts it shows a writer insightful enough into the psyche of non-affected people to explain his feelings in a manner that grant us eye-opening and aha moments.
I have friends who suffer with the condition who didn’t have the gift to explain things as well as the author. Not following an entirely linear approach we get thrown in at the deep end and unwrap childhood and other ages later. Taking an extreme moment in the author’s young life, being arrested and imprisoned, as the starting point gives us an immediate sense of the volatility of the condition and brings in more than a mere sympathy perspective. How to make the police offers understand, the judge understand, anyone understand the difference between criminal activity and mental health. The book throws up interesting questions, but is told in an often quirky and upbeat way that make it such a refreshing reading experience. Highly recommended.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
Depression is a black dog that follows your every step. It saps every ounce of energy and gives you somewhat of an unwanted comfort when it’s around. When you become depressed, activities are like trying to wash three weeks of piled dirty dishes your roommates won’t wash. It’s a chore. When your mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), the sky is the limit. Your brain works faster, your social IQ jumps through the roof and even physically you’re stronger. Mania is like that HOT ex-girlfriend that comes to your apartment and eats all your food, drinks all your drinks, takes all your money and leaves you ashamed and oddly wanting her to come back. Mania is like a cocaine high that lasts for months before finally coming to a crashing halt. Having both these mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior, and the ability to think clearly.
This book is about my journey through the ups and downs of childhood, beginning in Kenya, Africa, immigrating with my family to Northern California, while dealing with two demons that had complete control over me. It saddens me that no adult, while growing up, took notice of my wild behaviors. But it doesn’t matter now, what’s important to me is helping those suffering by sharing my life.
I hope my story will help people understand more about bipolar disorder, how difficult it is to diagnose and treat, and that it can be managed through the right medication and counseling.