A harrowing account of manic depression, plus information about the disease, by Diane Berger, mother of a manic-depressive son, and Lisa Berger, her sister and a free-lance writer (Parade, Vogue, etc.). Wrenching personal chapters by Diane alternate with well- researched, fact-filled ones by Lisa that provide a primer and sourcebook on the disorder. A third voice, that of the patient himself, offers glimpses into the bizarre, frightening world of the manic-depressive. The personal chapters chronicle the two- year period from the onset of son Mark's symptoms during his freshman year at college to the present; there is no fairy-tale ending, but there is a measure of hope, with Mark currently living in a halfway house and learning to control his manic depression with medication and therapy. The informational chapters explain the disorder in lay terms, describe the various medications-and their side effects-that are used to treat it, and tell the uninitiated how to locate professional help and what forms of therapy they may employ, and what to expect from hospitals and halfway houses. There's also enlightening, though not encouraging, information about insurance and Social Security coverage. Adding to the book's usefulness are appendices of institutions and researchers, support groups, and other sources of information and assistance. An uncommonly useful book that should be a godsend to any family have a member afflicted with manic depression.