Biographies of Hope
A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-depressive Illness by Patty Duke and Gloria Hochman, Bantam Books, 1992. Television and film actress Patty Duke shares her personal experience with bipolar disease.
An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison, First Edition Vintage Books, 1996, A Division of Random House. Dr. Jamison is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is an authority on bipolar disease and in this book transparently, vulnerably but hopefully shares her own struggles with the diseases.
Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke by Patty Duke and Kenneth Turan, Bantam, 1987.
Dancing with Bipolar Bears / Living in Joy Despite Illness by Dr. James E. McReynolds, New York, Lincoln, Shanghai: iUniverse, Inc, 2003. Dr. McReynolds as a young minister was dubbed by the positive thinker/author/preacher, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, as the “minister of joy to the world.” This is his story about living for over four decades with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. For more information go to web site: www.iuniverse.com.
Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight, Brazos Press; Revised edition, June 16, 2015. Where is God in the suffering of a mentally ill person? What happens to the soul when the mind is ill? How are Christians to respond to mental illness? In this brave and compassionate book, theologian and priest Kathryn Greene-McCreight confronts these difficult questions raised by her own mental illness–bipolar disorder. With brutal honesty, she tackles often avoided topics such as suicide, mental hospitals, and electroconvulsive therapy. Greene-McCreight offers the reader everything from poignant and raw glimpses into the mind of a mentally ill person to practical and forthright advice for their friends, family, and clergy.
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron, First Vintage Books Edition, 1992, A Division of Random House. William Styron is a renowned author probably most famous for “Sophie’s Choice.” This is his own personal account of dealing with debilitating depression.
Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story by Jim Piersall and Al Hirshberg, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1955. The story of Jim Piersall, the major-league baseball player, who became overtly manic in the middle of the season and no lithium or other mood stabilizer was available? Involuntarily hospitalized for seven weeks and treated with ETC. Became probably the first out-of-the-closet, ex-mental-patient athlete.*
The Four of Us: A Family Memoir by Elizabeth Swados, New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1991. Paperback by Penguin Books, 1993. A family experience. The son officially diagnosed with schizophrenia but appears to have schizoaffective type or even manic-depressive illness. Young man spirals downward from drastic and failed suicide attempt into homelessness. While beautifully written, it is a brutally honest and profoundly depressing account. Underscores the potentially life-threatening seriousness of mental illness.*
His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina by Danielle Steel, New York: Dell Publishing, 1998. The story of Danielle Steel’s son who developed manic-depressive illness in his teens. The author/mother painfully details her on-the-job training experience of trying to understand what she was dealing with–trying to help her son. The story exposes her experience with the incompetence of most of the mental health professionals she tuned to. Nick committed suicide at age 19.
In The Shadow of God’ Wings: Grace in the Midst of Depression by Susan Gregg-Schroeder, Upper Room Books, 1997. Reviewer: “Susan Gregg-Schroeder is an ordained minister who has suffered with depression, however, she notes the importance of living with depression, not simply having it or recovering from it. This book is very different from books that address depression as something to overcome. Instead of offering a victory scenario, Gregg-Schroeder invites readers to sit with God in the midst of our pain and to notice that spiritual gifts are also present in the midst of that depression.” www.upperroom.org.
More than Bipolar: A Memoir of Acceptance and Hope by Lizabeth D. Schuch, iUniverse, November 1, 2012. Until she experienced her first manic episode at the age of seventeen, Lizabeth D. Schuch had little knowledge of mental illness. From that point on, her life would never be the same. In her memoir she discusses her twenty-five years of experience with bipolar disorder, sharing the wisdom attained to break the hold of stigma, shame, and fear surrounding this illness. Schuch reveals the full reality of what living with this illness looks like. She shares the truth, from its manic and depressive extremes to the life lessons of understanding and maturity necessary to live well in recovery. More Than Bipolar also provides information about the importance of getting a proper diagnosis, working with the medical providers, trusting your own instincts about your care, and having the insight to know when the warning signs are leading you in the wrong direction. More Than Bipolar focuses on knowledge gained and strength restored on the path of a complete bipolar journey. It shows that living well with bipolar disorder is possible and may indeed be a part of the diagnostic picture.
On the Edge of Darkness: Conversations About Conquering Depression by Kathy Cronkite , New York: Doubleday, 1994. Paperback by Delta Books, 1995. These are brief essays where “famous” people share their stories.*
Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness by Jessie Close and Pete Earley who is a New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Grand Central Publishing; Lrg edition, January 13, 2015. Jessie Close is the sister of famed actress Glenn Close. At a young age she struggled with symptoms that would transform into severe bipolar disorder in her early twenties, but she was not properly diagnosed until the age of fifty. Jessie and her three siblings spent many years in the Moral Re-Armament cult. Her life became unmanageable by fifteen years of age. Jessie’s emerging mental illness led her into a life of addictions, five failed marriages, and to the brink of suicide. In RESILIENCE, Jessie dives into the dark and dangerous shadows of mental illness without shying away from its horror and turmoil. She tells of finally discovering the treatment she needs and, with the encouragement of her sister and others, the emotional fortitude to bring herself back from the edge.
Skywriting / a Life Out Of The Blue by Jane Pauley, New York: Random House, 2004. Renowned broadcaster, Jane Pauley, shares her personal process of discovery (“skywriting”), and includes her experience with bipolar illness. She was diagnosed in 2001. The disorder was induced by a treatment with steroids for seemingly innocuous, but persistent, case of hives. A courageous, inspiring, informative and educational out-of-the-closet presentation. A good two page appendix written by Frank Miller, M.D. discusses bipolar illness.
Undercurrents: A Therapist’s Reckoning with Her Own Depression by Martha Manning, New York: HarperCollins, 1994. Martha Manning describes her slow descent from normalcy and assumed invincibility into what she refers to as a “room in hell with only your name on the door.” Failing to respond to all available antidepressant medications, she concluded that there were left only two options: suicide or the trial of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), she chose the latter. She describes her positive response to a short course of ECT and her slow recover. Among the best accounts available of what it is like to experience severe depression.*
* Review adapted from reviews presented in APPENDIX A of Surviving ManicDepression by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. and Michael B. Knable, D.O., Published by Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 2002.
SPECIAL NOTE: Most of these books are in print. Many can be purchased and/or ordered in local book stores, ordered by way of Amazon.com or checked out at local libraries. Out of print books can often be found over the Internet: www.bookfinder.com.