Whenever I stumble upon a mental health book I make sure to read it because to me mental health is the most important thing in one’s life. I try and read mental health books as often as I can and I hope this year will be filled with great mental health books. Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing my Mind is a very interesting and thoroughly researched book on bipolar disorder and the drug Lithium.
In Mental we are introduced to Jaime Lowe, a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder (bipolar I) and who as you can tell by the title takes lithium (a commonly used drug to treat bipolar disorder). In her memoir she tells us the story of her life with and without Lithium – her younger days filled with manic episodes which weren’t yet diagnosed and her post-adolesence life filled with therapy and taking medication in order to control her bipolar disorder. Even though this is a memoir it is also a well-researched exploration of the drug, Lithium – its effects, good and bad sides.
As I mentioned Lithium is widely known in treating bipolar disorder and the Lowe’s decision to include her research of the drug into her memoir works pretty well because it makes the novel in its way much more enjoyable. Mental does have some downsides because of its repetitiveness and switching from one story to the other in a chapter. Lowe provides us with a lot of historical information about Lithium, its components and how it was used in the past. While researching she has interviewed many psychiatrists, psychologists and scientists who gave her more insight on the drug as well as us, the reader. I have learned where the first mental institution was built and how mentally ill people were treated back then. I have highlighted a few quotes and interesting information from this book which I’ll share below:
‘’One of the first examples of hysteria was observed by Thomas Sydenham in 1681.’’
‘‘[talking about mania] There’s a magnetism to that kind of high, and I knew I could draw people to me.’’
‘’I turned into a comet or a supernova, bursting but going in no particular direction, aimed at nothing but intensely moving forward on a trajectory to nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Everything was eclipsed by me. I was the sun, the moon, the solar system, the beginning of time and the end.”
’’When you are depressed you want to be a time traveler, going back, going forward, being anywhere but in the here and now.’’
‘‘One night when H was away, the sky shook and lit up like war.’’
To anyone who loves learning about mental disorders or bipolar disorder in particular I would recommend this book because it contains plenty of interesting information and the work Lowe put in it shines through the pages.
I would like to thank the publisher (Blue Riders Press) and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.
Jaime Lowe is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and her work has appeared in New York magazine, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, Gawker, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and on ESPN.com. Lowe is the author of Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Find her on: Twitter