What a crazy time it was. The book, even though it’s short, took me eight months to write. I started by writing down a list of sections that I thought need to be covered; then I followed up by writing them one by one. I showed the book to people with bipolar, asking their feedback, which was overwhelmingly positive, which made me feel much better about my idea: a non-professional writing a book about mental illness? Surely that can only end badly! But it didn’t, so far at least.
The way I describe the illness is the way I needed someone to describe it to me when I got diagnosed. I am trying to avoid medical jargon as much as possible – you’ll get enough of that from your doctor. What my goal is: to explain things that are difficult to explain – in a way understandable to someone who hasn’t studied medicine and doesn’t necessarily understand the difference between an anti-psychotic and mood stabiliser. I wanted to write a book that I would like to be handed to me on the day of my diagnosis. It is short on purpose; there are enough thick tomes about bipolar, written by actual doctors, describing in great detail hormonal interactions inside our head and how each particular medication affects them. You’ll notice that often within the book I send you to your doctor – there are questions nobody else can answer. There is no magical pill that will work for everyone. You and your medical team need to work together on achieving what’s best for you.
While we’re at it, I would also like to suggest you avoid Doctor Google. There is “evidence” for absolutely anything in Google. Mood stabilisers work! Mood stabilisers don’t work! Mood stabilisers will kill you! Mood stabilisers will cause autism to your unborn kids! I swear you can google all those things and get hundreds, if not thousands, of hits. Don’t do it to yourself. In my book’s final sections I list some of the great resources, both books and websites, that I recommend you check.
The book ends with short interviews with five bipolar sufferers. I haven’t changed a word in those interviews, except an occasional typo (and I probably missed a few of those). Those are real experiences of real people who have suffered from the same disease as you and me; some for years, some for decades.
I hope you will find a lot of useful knowledge in “Bipolar for Beginners”. If you find you are missing something, please use the Contact page, as I intend to put out an expanded edition within a year or two.