Robin Williams’ suicide has brought an outpouring of sorrow and affection for the man and also an abundance of articles–some accurate, some not—about Bipolar Disorder (BPD). A reliable source for information and resources for BPD and other mental disorders is PsychCentral. This website (with which I’m not affiliated) includes information about conditions ranging from anxiety to eating disorders to schizophrenia, as well as articles about current research, new treatments and psychological tests and quizzes.
For readers (like me) who prefer their science to read like a novel, these books may be illuminating: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison; Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania by Andy Behrman; Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke.
I also recommend that you read my novel, Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. It’s a fictional tale of a woman whose husband is diagnosed as bipolar, and a love story about the ways their family endures and adapts to the havoc his illness wreaked on their lives and livelihoods. I chose this topic after a close friend suffered his first full-blown mania, lost his job and began the long journey towards coping successfully with his condition.
Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate has been widely praised for its accuracy and sensitivity, as you can see by review excerpts below. Ten years ago, several literary agents advised me that, though Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate “told an intriguing story,” it was not in an easily classifiable genre and besides, “most people have never heard of Bipolar Disorder.” They were wrong. Since my book was published last year, a surprising number of people I have met at readings, book clubs and other author events have told me about their experiences with manic-depressive friends and family members. They often add, “But she’s so smart!” or “He’s so creative!” It’s no wonder. Worldwide, 2.4% of the population suffers from the illness, a spectrum that runs from mild to severe. Among those are individuals whose contributions have changed our world in positive ways. That will be the subject of next week’s blog.
Meanwhile, I have been watching many of the memorial tributes that include clips of Williams’ performances and find myself delighted all over again. What a guy. What a loss.
Critical praise for Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate’s treatment of Bipolar Disorder
—“A short, turbulent work that poses hard questions about living with mental illness while also telling a consistently engaging story.” – Kirkus Review
—“Popik presents bipolar disorder without condescension or exploitation.” —Publishers Weekly Select
—“This is not just a very good read but a well researched description of the difficulties of this illness and its familial connections…” – Allbooks Review International
—“The book gave answers to some of the toughest questions loved ones might ask about mental illness, and the characters’ collective struggles are shown compassionately, in a nonjudgmental way.”— San Francisco Book Review