Full Blown: Me and My Bipolar Family

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9780007281329: Full Blown: Me and My Bipolar Family

David Lovelace, along his brother and both his parents, is bipolar. This is his extraordinary and vivid memoir of life within his memorable, maddening, loving and unique family.Full Blown is Lovelace's poignant, humorous, and vivid account of growing up and coming to terms with the highs and lows of manic depression.David's father was a Princeton-trained theology professor deemed too eccentric for the ministry and his mother battled depression all her life. Manic episodes were part of family life - they called them the 'whim-whams'. David was a teenager when his first serious depression hit, and at college when he first became manic. He ran to escape it - to Mexico, South America and then New York, to drugs and alcohol - before he realised the futility of running.A father himself, a son and a brother, David's matter-of-fact approach to growing up surrounded by the unique creativity often sparked by manic depression is compelling. In the vein of Stuart, A Life Backwards and Augusten Burroughs' Running with Scissors , David's poetic ability to detail the unique highs and harrowing lows makes a remarkable and gripping read.

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About the Author:

David Lovelace is a writer, carpenter and former owner of The Montague Bookmill, a bookstore near Amherst, Massachusetts. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize as well as the Paterson Literary Review's Allen Ginsberg Award. Lovelace lives with his wife and children in western Massachusetts.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. As a twenty-something in the 1980s, Lovelace discovered that he had bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic-depression), a shattering mental illness shared by both his parents and, they would find later, his younger brother. Growing up, his parents went largely undiagnosed-his mother's initial breakdown was in 1949, the days when "psychiatrists diagnosed almost all delusional illness as schizophrenia," and the only treatment was electroshock. Members of his family spent years in deep, undiagnosed suffering, largely from depression ("Denial wasn't difficult, not yet. No one in my family had experienced mania"), and Lovelace spent years running from his illness through Mexico, South America and later to New York, accompanied by drugs and alcohol: "I've denied my own illness and I've loved it almost to death." Lovelace's poetic prose is both matter-of-fact and haunted, capturing the unpredictable rhythms of mental illness: "Alone in the bathroom I made a smile in the mirror and it strangled my eyes." Readers will get a real sense of the interior world of a single patient, and a family, on the verge of a mental breakdown.
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