Those whom follow me on my own blog, or read enough of my posts for Kelly, know that I have an autistic son. Along with other comorbid disorders, he also has pediatric Bipolar Disorder. I am currently striving to bring awareness and shed light on this condition in children. I work daily to understand, and to see the world through his eyes. So when Kelly asked me if I’d like to check out this book about Bipolar Disorder, I quickly said yes.
How to Enjoy Life with Bipolar Disorder stands out from many other books because the author writes from personal experience, and it details her life from the start, to present day. Ann Latta Donnan has lived with the disorder since it’s onset when she was twelve years old. This book chronicles her life and struggles with rampageous mania, and crippling depression. It describes how she was incorrectly diagnosed for seven years of her life. After being hospitalized four times, at the age of nineteen, Ann was finally diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and her journey to healing began.
Ann describes the first inkling into her twelve-year-old, tumultuous world by going into detail of her mania. The incessant talking. Her mouth couldn’t keep up with her thoughts. She felt as though she had consumed ten cups of coffee. During this time, Ann barely slept. Some night she didn’t sleep at all. Ann was relieved when this “cycle” ended.
But then came the depression. Sleeping up to fifteen hours a day. Only wanting to sleep and eat, Ann had to drop out of a semester of school. Speaking to others, or seeing people on the street was painful for her, and she did her best to avoid others.
Ann was manic in the fall, depressed in the winter, with “normal” moods in the spring and summer. (For Liam, he is usually severely depressed in the spring with mania in the winter, and fall and summer being a mix of “normal,” slight mania or slight depression.)
Children present differently with Bipolar Disorder, but whether you know someone with pediatric BP, or an adult, Ann’s book gives an enlightening peek into their world. I really recommend this book for everyone, not just those touched by this disorder. We need to erase the stigma associated with mental illness, and learning is the first step in doing so.