There are a lot of good resources available to help someone (and their loved ones) understand Bipolar Disorder and other mental illnesses. One book that really helped me was a book by Kay Redfield Jamison called Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperment.
It is not a fast read for it gets pretty technical in places, but it's necessary. Jamison writes about famous artists and writers who had mental illness and how their mental illness contributed to their creativity.
This book spoke to me because for years I would question God about why He made my brain the way He did. I would condemn myself for my messed-up brain. I couldn't accept it at all. I felt I was a burden to my family when I would be in a depression or dealing with hypomania (usually after a hypomania spell -- when in it I feel I can do anything).
After reading this book I was finally able to let go of my self-judgment, appreciate my brain for exactly the way God created it; and thank Him for His wisdom.
This page is my newest page, but I hope it will be useful to those who need it. I have dealt with mental illness my entire life but only recently sought out diagnosis.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II and put on a mood stabilizer.
Daily I thank you God for this medicaiton. It has allowed me to just be me. I still have hypomania episodes and some really low times, but the medication takes the edge off them.
I hope to give some resources on this page: books I've read that helped me come to terms with my mental illness and links to lead people to sites that can give help where needed.
A person with mental illness doesn't have to be a victim of her mental illness. Each person who has a mental illness must take responsibility for the mental illness and learn how to manage it.
So, I hope this page will be a help. I will gradually add resources and more of my own story as time goes on.
If you have questions or want to contact me about mental illness you can email me here.
A site that has a lot of good articles on it dealing with Bipolar Disorder is BPHope.Com (that stands for Bipolar Hope). There are some really good writers and knowledgeable people who contribute to that site. Most (if not all -- I'm not sure on this point) of the articles are written by people who have bipolar disorder, but who are at a place where they can manage it.
Grace for the Afflicted by Dr. Matthew S. Stanford gives a very good perspective from a Christian and doctor. This is a great book for someone to read who doesn't know much about mental illnesses or who have been brought up to think all mental illness is somehow the fault of the person who has it. The only I do not like about this book is that it, along with most every other book on mental illness and the church, talks about people who have mental illnesses as victims to their mental illnesses. I do not like this approach because mental illness can be managed rather than be controlling. Managing a mental illness means you know your limits; you know what you need to function the best way you can; and you take steps to ensure you can function as God intended you to function. Some people with extreme forms of mental illness may need to live in a home -- but most don't. This is a good book for family members to read.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was a pleasant surprise. Jahren is a very successful scientist and well-known in her field. I received
this book in order to review it. I don't know Dr. Jahren's spiritual beliefs, but I do know she is an incredible writer who also
has bipolar disorder. Not only is this a book about her journey in becoming a successful scientist, it is also about her coming
to terms with her mental illness and getting the help she needs (while succeeding in many areas in life). Her honesty and
vulnerability is powerful. Just reading another person's journey with mental illness is helpful. Plus, I learned more about the
academic science world (of which I knew nothing). I also learned about trees and plants. This book was also filled with
wisdom only gained by someone who reflects on life. I highly recommend it.