The struggle for a normal life through the eyes of a sufferer of bipolar disorder.
Unless one’s life has been touched by bipolar disorder, it’s hard to imagine the effects of the manic-depressive illness. But in this memoir, Walton takes readers deep inside the disease. From the opening page, she captures the internal debate raging during an episode: Is this real? Can anyone be trusted? Psychotic episodes followed by depression is her “usual” pattern, a pattern that consumes chunks of her life each time. In an almost detached and analytical voice, Walton deftly describes the thoughts and feelings during what she calls the “insane” time, the motionlessness of the resulting depression and the efforts to have a normal life—complete with a job, marriage, family and women’s groups—in between. Beginning with her first episode, the memoir then explores the author’s backstory, then ahead to treatment, then back into the past and forward again; much along the lines of a self-discovery process. Despite the shifting chronology, the work never loses its insight into bipolar disorder or the connection between author and reader, as she leads the exploration through the ins and outs of her particular world. At first resistant to medication, Walton ultimately builds a team to help her, including a cocktail of medicines to right her damaging chemical imbalances and manage her symptoms, and the unending support of her husband, daughter, therapist, family and friends. Forever lurking, underlining every aspect of her existence, though, is the question of: “How much longer until the next breakdown?” Until it happens, Walton is living her life and meeting it head on, keenly aware of just how precious every day really is.
An eye-opening journey.