Day 11: What resources do you recommend and why? (Books, documentaries, websites etc … anything at all.)
This is actually quite a tough prompt for me to answer, because I rarely, if ever, seek information for my bipolar disorder. Although, this hasn’t always been the case. When I was first diagnosed back in 2007 I scoured a lot of websites and books in order to educate myself to my newly diagnosed condition. However, a spin around the internet this afternoon has revealed that many of these websites are no longer active, and for the life of me I can’t recall the names of many of the books I read.
One that stuck out though was the first book on bipolar that I ever read:
You Don’t Have to be Famous to Have Manic Depression (Jeremy Thomas & Dr. Tony Hughes)
This particular book is split into two distinct parts. The first part is a series of conversations that Jeremy Thomas had with his therapist, Dr Tony Hughes, where they explore all manner of mental health issues as experienced first hand by the author. It is an insightful look into the doctor/patient dynamic and reveals many aspects of mental health and how one learns to live with the diagnosis of manic depression (which is the preferred name for bipolar disorder within the book). The second part of the book is an A-Z of mental health, offering practical, real resources for understanding mental health, navigating the medical world and getting your life back on track. All in all, an insightful and interesting read for those who experience bipolar affective disorder.
Another book I found useful was:
An Unquiet Mind (Kay Redfield Jamison)
This book is a memoir chronicling the authors 30-year journey with bipolar affective disorder, and was published after the author achieved tenure as a psychiatry professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. An absorbing and revealing read, this book is a “rare and insightful view of mental illness from inside the mind of a trained specialist.”
I have also sought comfort in the realm of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy:
The Happiness Trap, The Reality Slap and The Confidence Gap (Dr. Russ Harris)
Each of these books are invaluable resources for people interested in ACT and mindfulness in general. They explore in easy to understand dialogue the various metaphors involved in acceptance and commitment therapy, as well as a myriad of exercises that you can perform to develop your values and your ability to be mindful in any given situation. Highly recommended.
Outside the world of books some of the websites I have turned to over the years include:
- Bipolar UK: Supporting people affected by bipolar
- MIND: for better mental health
- Time to Change: let’s end mental health discrimination
- Beyond Blue: depression. anxiety; and
- Black Dog Institute: because everyone deserves peace of mind
As well as a plethora of blogs, some of which deal primarily with bipolar affective disorder; Bipolar for Life, blahpolar diaries and bipolar beach, whilst others deal with other mental health conditions and/or mental health in general; Pride in Madness, Marci, Mental Health and More, A Canvas of the Minds and Travels with Depression. All of which are more than brilliant and worthy of your time and attention.
I would also recommend the movie Silver Linings Playbook and the BBC television series Takin’ Over the Asylum. Both are from the world of fiction, but both offer an excellent view of mental illness and bipolar affective disorder, and both are better than most documentaries I have seen on the subject.
Hopefully you’ll be able to find something interesting amidst this meager assortment of resources, for they are all, in their own way, truly exquisite.