Posted by: hypomanic | June 6, 2009

A must read book if you value your mental health

A must read book if you value your mental health
by Richard_Dixon

Barnes & Noble Reader Rating: 5 stars

Bipolar? I have to confess I wasn’t aware it was a medical term before reading this book. If you’d have asked me what it meant, I would have weakly offered something about a BBC programme possibly involving Michael Palin.
This book features no Puffins, no whale blubber and no igloos, that’s for sure, but it’s still about a journey – one that’s both physical and mental and took the author over four years to complete, leaving him poles apart from the person he was when he started.
In the book, Victor describes the build up to, and subsequent recovery from, a ‘full-blown hypomanic episode’ that occurs just a few years after he moves from a small town in the North of England to take up a place on a University course just outside London.
Victor is driven by the competitive desire to be the best. So as the competition on the course increases, so do the long coffee and pro-plus fuelled nights spent working at his computer. These are then followed by hard, often drug-addled, partying to compensate for working so hard.
It’s from this point that the book begins to turn the screw. He begins to question everyone’s motives and how they interact with him and he becomes increasingly paranoid. This downward spiral continues with everyone able to see it apart from himself and eventually reaches the point where he’s sectioned under the 1983 Mental Health Act and subsequently diagnosed as Bipolar.
As other reviewers have rightly stated, this book is inspiringly honest and brave and that’s the main reason I’d recommend you read it. Very few of us have it in us to hold up a mirror to who we are and look at what we see for so long.
I think this book highlights the dangers of pushing yourself too hard, of the impact that the people around you and your environment can have on your mental state. It also draws attention to the lack of support and in some cases the stigma that people diagnosed with and recovering from this condition can face. In short, this book is as relevant now as it would have been if Victor had written it back in 1995.

There is a 60 second video book trailer available to watch at
Or watch a YouTube version of the Hypomanic video book trailer at
To follow me on Twitter: @victorjkennedy

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