Book Reviews and Psych Blues

Wow. I just finished off Marya Hornbacher’s 2nd memoir, “Madness: A Bipolar Life”  last night and thought it was worth reviewing.  Firstly, I met her through a series of other books, and found her first memoir, Wasted, only a month ago-which was all about her serious anorexia and bulemia that haunted her from childhood through her 20’s.

Madness takes place right after Wasted was published. Evidently, becoming a rich, famous memoirist does nothing for your inner psychiatric ailments, because she went full-blown into mania and depression.

This resonates with me.

She has a passage about going completely crazy with “crazy Sean”, driving out into the dessert and leaving life behind her (including a university teaching position), to get completely shitfaced, paranoid, delusional, lost in the desert, stuck in rancid motels…

It reminded me of a time when I disssapearred for a while. If only I had written a memoir beforehand…But the energy was the same. Just completely going off the map and going on a complete alcohol binge. Maybe I will discuss that in detail another time…”Just ask me about the Pit”. #HarvardSquare

She gets admitted to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.

I can relate.

She goes to a mental hospital.

She goes to a partial day program.

Jazz-hands. Relate.



She goes back, and back, and back, and back, and back.

For a thin book, the amount of hospitalizations she recounts is just unbelievable. It just takes a turn from relatable, to OH MY GOD, I AM SO SO SO DEVASTATED FOR YOU.

She gets sober.

I can relate.

She gets the horrible depressions that urge her to “Drink herself manic”.

I can relate.

The more I read, the more I realized how lucky I am.

I don’t have to take mood stabilizers. I don’t take anticonvulsants. I have remained sober for over a year…thank god for Wellbutrin for not being a “fat drug”…Those kinds of things. But most of all, I finished the book in shock and grief, for Marya is possibly NOT better. She was so so so sick. The amount of ECT she had, the amount of hospitalizations she had, and the fact that her first book precipitated, well, Madness, just devastated me in a way  thats hard to explain.

The incurableness of mental illness is its biggest struggle.