As an avid reader of books I have to confess to continually having a stack of books – either physically on my bedside cabinet and on my lounge coffee table or electronically on my e-reader which I am reading through.
They tend to go though a process starting life on one of those three places the being read and then passed on (if I rate them in anyway) to friends.
The only time this process stops is either when my mental health deteriorates to such a degree that I can’t really take things in or when I myself and writing a novel or something similar. I tend not to read when I am in the process of writing as I don’t want to inadvertently adopt someone else’s style.
Of course as an avid reader and writer I like to encourage other writers and since (as a result of my health) I don’t get to teach creative writing anymore the ways that I can do this have been reduced. But it is something that I am passionate about especially when the piece or book written in about faith or mental health.
So when the opportunity to support the work of a fellow blogger and fellow member of the Mental Health Writers Guild came up I jumped at the chance.
“Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things: Learning to Love as a Bipolar Aspie” is a book by Ellen Stockdale Wolfe who some of you will know from her blog Moonside.
I have to apologize to Ellen as whilst it is in the electronic pile of books that I am waiting to read I have yet to get to it.
BUT judging from the following review
– written by Alistair McHarg (author of “Invisible Driving“) and which he has entitled “Couldn’t Look Away” I just know I am going to find it compelling reading…
Couldn’t Look Away
I enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in psychological exploration – from clinicians to self-diagnosticians to concerned family members to lovers of extraordinary tales well told.
Do not imagine that this is a lesson-plan about Bipolar Disorder, or Asperger’s Syndrome, for that matter. On the contrary, we see Ms. Wolfe wrestling with a panoply of symptoms residing on different points of a spectrum – we never know exactly where we are, and neither does Ms. Wolfe. We get first person, real-time intimacy – the raw data, not the spin.
Asperger’s, autism, schizophrenia, paranoia, mania, depression, and challenging questions of gender identity blur back and forth until one is overpowered by the sense of a shape-shifting, ghostly enemy. We witness Ms. Wolfe inaccurately interpreting social cues the way an anthropologist might puzzle over artifacts from an alien civilization.
The writing is austere, elegant, forceful and almost chillingly honest. There is not an ounce of self-pity to be found, or self-aggrandizement. Serious students of these illnesses could hardly find a more useful document because – using meticulous diaries she kept through the years – Ms. Wolfe has made scrupulous accuracy her battle cry.
From very early on I found myself caring about what happened to Ms. Wolfe, wanting to know more. I sensed sweetness, innocence, and vulnerability – and that made me want to protect her. Consequently, the dread I felt as I watched her struggle with her own mind – and the outside world – created the tension of real drama. One would have to be a cold fish indeed to not suffer along with her as she trudges ahead with heroic determination.
Ms. Wolfe has achieved something quite remarkable. She has applied the direct simplicity of science to a human ordeal and, in the process, accomplished what art does, when it is at its very best. She has fearlessly and generously taken us into her world and – in doing so – enriched us all.”