"I was frustrated," says Erin Callinan about the genesis of her critically-acclaimed memoir Beautifully Bipolar. "I could no longer sit back while conversation surrounding mental illness was negative, scary, insulting, and inaccurate. I have a voice, and I have a story. I felt a passion, and I went with it. I just started writing: no judgments, limits, or rules." Her purpose: To challenge people to address and remove the stigma associated with mental illness. Reviewers have enthusiastically praised the volume, one calling it the "perfect first non-clinical book for family members, loved ones, or even sufferers themselves, who are just adjusting to the unsettling diagnosis of bipolar disorder." Ultimately Erin's story is impossible to set aside and vitally import to know.
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Delight in the journey and the struggle on the road to your dreams
As I listened to the author's story and her description of the places she'd been hospitalized I searched my memory in attempt to recall her. From 1995 to 2007 I was employed in working with the mentally ill and substance abusers in the Phoenix area. I didn't recognize either the places she was hospitalized or any of the people she described but the outline was certainly familiar with the stories of many of those I dealt with in those years.
Late adolescence/ early adulthood is the time that both schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder will either begin or the individual's ability to hide it is overwhelmed. I worked with any number of young men and women who were facing the reality of a lifetime illness; an illness that carries a huge stigma. The lack of treatment available to the mentally ill is a disgrace; those who are able to get treatment are able to do so only a matter of days. The fact that the author suffered only two episodes serious enough to lead to her hospitalization means she is one of the most fortunate of those who have a SMI; most sufferers aren't that lucky.
This was an excellent if short exploration of mental illness. The true weakness of the work is the overly high, overly chirpy voice of the reader that sounds as if would be better for a children's story. While that is something of a negative this work is more than worth the discounted price; it is heartily recommended.
The acting Heidi delivered made it enjoyable as I could feel how the character felt about her mental illness and her thoughts about the people around her.
As per usual, Great job Heidi,
I'm in the early phase of a diagnosis of Bipolar 1 and was recommended this book by a member of an email list for mental health support. I'm about the same age as the author and having the perspective of a fellow young adult with mental illnesses gives me all the more confidence that I'm not alone and I can get through this!
When Erin admits to not being able to stop wetting the bed because of her illness
there really wasn't a need for it in this book. N/A
yes. I would have listened to it all at once bc I heard so much of my own story being told in Erin's, but alas life still must go on outside of books.
Thank you Erin Callinan for sharing your story and also expressing how important it is to be proactive in our own care. We are our own biggest advocates. Heidi Tabing was a distraction for me at times.
Excellent sharing of the struggle one faces with a chemical imbalance (bipolar). I highly recommend this especially to family members. She is strong and I know my daughter will be strong too.
Always good to hear another's story of this illness, unfortunately this was nearly impossible to listen to. Narrator sounds like she's reading a Judy Blume book to a class of fifth graders, not someone's experience with mental illness. What a terrible disservice to Erin's experience.
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