Hulbert’s memoir recalls his struggle with bipolarity and the strength he found in religion.
Debut author Hulbert was born in 1944 in Southern Cross, Australia. At 16, crushed by heartbreak, he decided to devote himself to the quest for eternal life as understood by the Catholic Church and eventually joined the Christian Brothers. However, at 20, he suffered his first mental collapse, an experience he believed was triggered by the mortification of giving an unspectacular presentation before a room of his peers. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and spent the next 27 years living productively. Eventually, however, he had another breakdown. This time, he was diagnosed with chronic bipolar disorder, which he most likely struggled with since his adolescence. The author was besieged by manic delusions of grandeur, twice convinced he was the Messiah. He underwent electroconvulsive therapy, a treatment that only succeeded in inducing a listless indifference to life. Repeatedly, Hulbert sought guidance from his Christian faith and solace in the love offered by his wife and son. The author covers an eclectic range of subjects, including an account of his moral objections to abortion and summaries of some of the nearly 1,000 spiritual stories he claims he’s written. Hulbert’s confessional candor is admirable, and he makes a powerful case for the possibility of flourishing with bipolarity. However, this strangely rambling recollection is so disjointed it ultimately becomes hard to follow. There are countless lists produced of his favorite singers, songs, authors, teachers, and instrumentalists, only to name a few. He sometimes refers to himself in the third person and peppers the text with numerically driven boasts. Apparently, he may have saved 950 souls from purgatory and picked up 3,800 Facebook friends in five weeks.
An inspiriting but meandering account of mental illness.