New Book Offers A True Insider's View of Life with Bipolar as a 20-Something

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Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask is a complete guide to understanding the diagnosis, staying cool in the face of bipolar’s ups and downs, and surviving and thriving in relationships, at school, and at work. It goes beyond standard information about bipolar disorder to help readers tackle questions like “what is reality?” and “am I still me on medication?”

“Hilary Smith has come through big time with a book about bipolar disorder targeted to teens or 20-somethings experiencing mental illness for the first time.” ―Washington Post

In Hilary Smith's new book she provides a true insider's view of life with bipolar and offers up street-level self-help to young people diagnosed with it.

Bipolar is one of the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric conditions among teens and twenty-somethings — yet there are very few books written specifically for young people experiencing mental illness for the first time. Welcome to the Jungle (Conari Press, May 2010) fills that gap with its upfront, empowering approach to the challenges of being diagnosed with bipolar. Both humorous and immensely honest, it offers a true “in the trenches” perspective young readers will trust.

With chapters ranging from What Just Happened?: Life Beyond Diagnosis to Here Be Downers: Drugs, Booze, and Suicide to Hippy S**t That Actually Works: Herbs, Wilderness Time, and Other Ways to Help Keep Your S**t Together to H*** is Finding Good Insurance: How to Get Your A** Covered in Troubled Times, Smith brings bipolar self help to young people grappling with how to deal.

Hilary writes:

“Social approval of bipolar: not obvious.

Overall experience with bipolar diagnosis: kinda really bad.

My dad flew out from Ontario to see how I was doing and make sure I wasn’t completely crazy. We blasted through the Chapters bookstore in downtown Vancouver, and he bought me every bipolar-related book on the shelf. We made a stop at the Starbucks. As we were power walking down the street, my dad hailed a taxi midsentence, hopped in, and rushed off to catch his flight back to Ontario. I stood on the sidewalk with a bag of bipolar books in one hand and a half-finished Green Tea Frappucino in the other.

The party was just getting started.

In the days that followed, I returned most of the bipolar books and used the money to buy poetry books—not because I wasn’t interested in the former, but because they made me feel tainted and messed up. They were too adult, too clinical, too alarmist, clearly written for family and caretakers at their wits’ end, and designed to look authoritative and medical. They didn’t answer any of the questions I had about bipolar, and I felt like a huge tool for even having them in my room, their ALL CAPS titles blaring out at the world. I thought there should be a book that was a little more honest, a little more badass, and a little more sympathetic to the average teen or twenty-something’s first experience of the mental-health system.

So here’s that book.

This book is mainly about how to live with bipolar, but it’s also about how to think about bipolar. Sure, bipolar’s a chemical imbalance in your brain, but you can also imagine it as a video game, a shamanic journey, a crash course in existentialism, or a plain old pain in the a**.

If you’re reading this book and you’ve just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder: welcome to the jungle. Hope you brought bug spray, ’cause the spiders in here are as big as your face. Taken your meds? Good.

Now let’s get started.”

Welcome to the Jungle is a complete guide to understanding the diagnosis, staying cool in the face of bipolar’s ups and downs, and surviving and thriving in relationships, at school, and at work. It goes beyond standard information about bipolar disorder to help readers tackle questions like “what is reality?” and “am I still me on medication?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hilary Smith is a brilliant young writer and artist living on the West Coast. She studied English Literature at the University of British Columbia, where she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after one too many insomniac bike rides in her junior year. She can be found online at http://bipolarjungle.blogspot.com/

Welcome to the Jungle
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About
Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask
Hilary Smith
Conari Press
Price $14.95; ISBN: 978-1-57324-472-5
Psychology/Bipolar
May 2010

Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher at 1-800-423-7087, orders(at)redwheelweiser(dot)com or http://www.redwheelweiser.com

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BONNI HAMILTON
Red Wheel Weiser
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