All posts tagged: bipolar

A powerful and harrowing story of homeless youth, a dysfunctional family of origin, mental illness, & success of physician Sheryl Recinos in HINDSIGHT, plus a timely and topical reading list, activism, more

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful and almost unbelievably true account of one woman’s dysfunctional family, her experiences in detention, foster care, the streets of Hollywood, and how she made it through. ~MEMOIR MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ HINDSIGHT (2018) by Sheryl Recinos, is one of those stories that will absolutely stay with you. Sheryl is a your typical eight-year old when her mother has a psychotic break. Along with her next-closest-in-age brother, she takes them to a trailer home to stay warm, leaving them with nothing but uncooked pasta and raisins. And then she vanishes, but returns. The family struggles. Eventually, the parents divorce, but the father receives custody. When Sheryl is eleven, he remarries a woman who wants nothing to do with kids, who struggles with her own mental health issues. To summarize this harrowing story in a succinct manner almost discredits the author’s pain and struggles. Here, we delve into a deeply dysfunctional family of origin, involving children sent away to foster care, the ones that remain, and the frank abuse that follows. HINDSIGHT …

Elizabeth Garber talks about her relationship with her architect father, Modern architecture, mental health, & how poetry shaped her as an author

By Leslie Lindsay  Propulsive, poetic, and courageous, Elizabeth Garber’s IMPLOSION is the best kind of memoir: you experience right along with her and leave it feeling a sense of renewal.  But that’s not to say everything in IMPLOSION (SWP, June 2018) is glorious; it’s not. This is a subtle, intense exploration of a young woman’s survival through psychological oppression, as she (and her mother and two brothers) are raised in a glass house, a prison, constructed of her father’s mental illness. Woodie Garber was a famous Modernist architect, designing structures that would rise from the earth resembling glass cubes. He builds the family’s home–a glass house–in a privileged area of Cincinnati in the 1960s. The family leaves behind the 1870s Victorian where the Garber family has resided for many generations. But it’s not all sunshine and mirth in that glass house. At first, Woodie just seems eccentric. He’s brilliant and bursting with ideas. He loves jazz records and good wine, racing cars, and art. Elizabeth has a connection with her father–they share many of the same interests and she so wants to …

WeekEND Reading: Gayle Brandeis talks about her new memoir, THE ART OF MISDIAGNOSIS, her mother’s suicide, the juxtaposition of life and death, mental illness, STRANGER THINGS 2, books she’s reading, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Razor-sharp, raw, poetic memoir about mothers and daughters, suicide, mental illness, and grief.   Gayle Brandeis’s mother disappeared shortly after Gayle gave birth to her youngest child, Asher. Several days later, her body was found hanging in the utility closet of parking garage of an apartment building for the elderly. THE ART OF MISDIAGNOSIS is a gorgeous read about a less-glamorous time. Gayle is struggling with grief and heartache, as well as the soupy surreal time of postpartum. Gayle takes this dichotomy of death and birth and weaves it into a coherent, poetic narrative that brings readers into the grief experience. What’s more is the family history surrounding a series of bizarre medical symptoms that often masked themselves as psychoses. Or was it psychosis, after all? It’s hard to say because the symptoms tend to overlap: delusions, paranoia, factitious disordersfactitious disorders; Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, porphyria. For the last few years of Gayle’s mother’s life, she was working on a documentary about these disorders, called THE ART OF MISDIAGNOSIS. Gayle takes that script and braids it, along with …

WeekEND Reading: What happens when your spouse is ‘suddenly struck’ with a major mental illness? Mark Lukach talks about this, stigma, raising their son, mountain biking, and more in his memoir, MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD

By Leslie Lindsay  An honest and unflinching view of what it’s like to be the caregiver of someone with a serious mental illness, told with compassion and rawness.  When I stumbled across MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD (Harper Wave, May 2017), I knew I had to read it. Not only does the author/husband share his name with my dad, but the strikingly similar story of a woman in the prime of her life suddenly falling victim to a strange and disorienting psychosis also rang true. Very true. My own mother suffered a similar fate at 29, almost the very age Giulia was when psychoses came hunting her. I watched, as a child as my mother spewed delusion after delusion, her fingers blanched as she gripped the car door in protest, and then, as she attempted to exit the moving vehicle on the way to the hospital. I saw too, her mangled mind and tortured thoughts. The difference is, I was a child. Mark is very much an adult. I am so, so honored …

Wednesdays with Writers: Natasha Tracy talks about the delicate diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, the difference between book-ready and blog-ready, how writing is like slogging through swamps, and not sugar-coating mental illness.

By Leslie Lindsay  Understanding what it’s really like to live with bipolar disorder (BD) is impossible to share with someone who doesn’t have experience with serious mental illness. Natasha Tracy, a writer living with bipolar takes you under her wing and walks you through the labyrinth of questions and quandaries as if she were your cool, more experienced older sister. She gets it; she’s lived it for the last 18 years. And we all need to care. At some point in our lives, we will know someone with a major mental illness. It might be invisible to the naked eye; you may never see the affects, but it might still be there, lurking under the surface and it may very well be your friend, your neighbor, your spouse, your coworker. And in my case: my mother. I was just ten years old when she had her first major manic episode. It was about the time when The Bangles song, “Just Another Manic Monday” was playing on the radio. We had a cute house in the …

Write On, Wednesday: Interview with author Sarah Cornwell of WHAT I HAD BEFORE I HAD YOU

By Leslie Lindsay I am just thrilled to have Sarah Cornwell debut author of WHAT I HAD BEFORE I HAD YOU. Mothers. Daughters. Family bonds. Throw in a little bipolar and psychic action and I’m so there. A writer myself, these are often themes and questions I love to explore in my own writing, but they are tough subjects! Be sure to enter for the Give-a-way copy of this lovely book!* Sarah and HarperCollins has graciously provided one copy up for grabs for TWO different readers. All you gotta do is share via social media, or comment on the blog. Let me know you shared** by dropping me an email at leslie_lindsay@hotmail.com. Okay…and now with the interview! Leslie Lindsay: What can you tell us about the type of research you drew upon to create such a compellingly honest composition? Sarah Cornwell: Thank you for that description! So much of the research that goes into my writing is simply lived life—observing people, pocketing details, taking on odd jobs that might grant some deeper access. For a while as I finished this book …