A graphic memoir about mental illness, medication, health insurance, and all the interactions among them.
Portrayals of mental illness are most often created after the fact, from a perspective of comparative stability. What’s so striking about Lindsay’s debut is the way it captures the frenzy of her bipolar disorder and puts readers within the eye of the hurricane, identifying with her so completely that it becomes impossible to accept easy, black-and-white answers about the nature of her illness and the effectiveness of her treatment. The author had been diagnosed as bipolar before she took a career turn that apparently triggered a series of events that led to her hospitalization, spurred by her parents and doctor, very much against her will and better judgment. (Or was it possible for her to have any better judgment in the throes of her mania?) With her artistic temperament—as a musician as well as a visual artist—and independent streak, she perhaps wasn’t emotionally suited for a corporate life in advertising, though its benefits would cover her treatment. She definitely was not suited for having to handle a campaign for antidepressants, which oversimplified and idealized both the illness and the treatment and made her feel like she was selling a lie, if not living one. So she quit her job and started raving about plans that struck others as unrealistic, acting out in ways that called attention to herself and landed her in the hospital. She argued that it was a big misunderstanding, but her parents and doctor insisted it was for her own good. The entire experience—what led to her hospitalization, what she experienced during her time there, and how she has fared since leaving—is rendered in all its frazzled intensity and intimacy in a work that proved cathartic for the author and will be disturbing, yet important, for readers.
This unsettlingly powerful graphic narrative shows how Lindsay has made peace with her parents and the medical establishment—and also found creative fulfillment far from corporate America.