Mental Health Resources

A list of books, movies, and websites about bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and mental illness in general, that I hope will be helpful to you in your search for that distant solid ground

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Advice #4

This book is written with those whose family member suffers from mental illness in mind, but it is much more than an advice manual. Rosalynn Carter has been an advocate for mental health issues for decades. Her book discusses the problems facing not only individuals and their families, but also the challenges we face as a country as we try to alleviate mental illness, not only in our own communities, but worldwide. Carter inspires hope, at the same time as she urges action for those concerned with the issue. After briefing the reader on the history of mental health policy, she looks towards the future and the many things that still need to be done in prevention, awareness, research, and advocacy. This book was a pleasant read and gives those of us in the midst of personal struggles a vision of a larger community.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Memoir #3

The Year of Magical Thinking - Wow - is the thought that came to mind as I finished reading this book. Though it is not about mental illness per se, rather about grief and mourning, it does speak to anyone who is dealing with a change that has devastated life as he/she knew it. And it is an excellent book, the best I have read this year. Joan Didion's memoir chronicles the year after her husband's death, a year that brings grief, not only for her husband, but also for her daughter who has fallen critically ill. This book is one that will speak to anyone who has went through unexpected hardship and touches on the human belief that there must be some way to go back, to alter what has happened. An excellent read!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Escape #1

Crocodile on the Sandbank - is the first of the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. In it readers are introduced to the strong, opinionated, energetic, fearless Amelia. A Victorian heiress , Amelia has the means and the will to embark on her own for a world tour. She gets as far as Egypt, where she finds her future husband, her future professions (archaeology and crime solving) and her home away from home. The twists and turns of this delightful mystery are both intriguing and hilarious. This is one of my favorite escapes - I can laugh and be amazed by Amelia's ability to handle any situation.

General Info #1

Bipolar Disorder for Dummies - is a simplistic, upbeat introduction to the disorder. The information is presented in a straightforward, understandable manner. However, if you are currently dealing with serious consequences of the disease, such as a suicide attempt, the casualness of the discussion can be a bit irritating. For me, the most helpful chapters are the ones covering alternative treatments and practical lifestyle changes that may improve a person's control of his/her moods.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Memoir #2

Darkness Visible - This is a short, but excellent memoir by well known author, William Styron detailing his descent into severe depression. He chronicles not only his own symptoms and suicidal thoughts, but also discusses other victims of this serious condition. The book leaves you, not only with an intimate look into the disease, but also with hope that one can recover.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Theory #1

This book is an excellent discussion of the connection between bipolar disease and the creative mind. With many statistics and studies to prove the theory, Kay Jamison does a wonderful job of examining some our most brilliant, creative minds and how their madness may have contributed to their art. However this is not a book that celebrates bipolar disease - Jamison looks closely at the many times trajic consequences of the disease on these artists lives - the ending chapter is perhaps the most provocative dealing with the question of whether medicating the disease will diminish creativity in some individuals and thus consequently deprive the future of many brilliant artists - a must read

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Memoir #1

An Unquiet Mind - This book is not only an excellect book for anyone wishing to understand what is like to live with mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder, but is simply a great read. Written be Kay Redfield Jamison, a Professor of Psychiatry, and once a working clinical Psychologist, she has become an expert in bipolar disease. But Jamison's professional credentials are not what make this book such as arresting memoir; what creates the honesty of this account is the fact that Jamison has lived with bipolar disease herself since a teen. The momentous challenges that she face, including mania that propelled her into psychosis and depression that lead to a suicide attempt, makes this book both authentic, and informed. She discusses such issues as the refusal to take medication from the perspective of the healer and the one in need of healing. I highly suggest this book for better insight into what your child is and will face and also to give encouragement; there is hope for both success in their personal and professional lives.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Advice for caregivers #3

Surviving Schizophrenia - This is comprehensive overview of schizophrenia. Torrey is a psychiatrist who specializes in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His knowledge of the disease is extensive and he also has a personal understanding; his sister is afflicted with the disease. After an easily read overview of the history of, the politics of, and the science of schizophrenia, Torry touches on most of the main concerns of families. Besides the usual discussion of symtoms and treatments, he covers major problems that patients and their caregivers face and gives excellent advice, perhaps the best I have found so far, on how to respond to everyday situations.

Advice for caregivers #2

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness - This book is a general guide to most of the major difficulties of dealing with a mentally ill family member. However, I did not find much depth past a summary and listing of common sense tactics. Still it would be be a good starting point for someone just beginning to read about caring for the mentally ill before delving into more substantial works.

Advice for caregivers #1

How to Live with a Mentally Ill Person - Written by the mother of a schizophrenic daughter, this is a good resource for those dealing with a mentally ill relative. It gives detailed advice on day to day matters such as medicine compliance, suicide threats, anger, bizarre behavior, and more. But is also discusses emotions that the caregiver him/hersolf goes through and suggests concrete steps that can be taken to alleviate some of the most common problems that caretakers face. Another plus is its helpful appendices on resources and its substantial bibliography.