A mental illness definitely strips a person of so much; yet there is hope!!!
I wish to begin my candid review of this epic memoir by expressing my gratitude to Molly for having stuck through with writing this memoir. She kept this dream alive for 20 years and I find this generous. Generous also because of all she shares in there – from a very personal and equally professional perspective. Here is someone who fell sick; lost her mind on some occasions; got diagnosed with one of those dreaded labels; witnessed the system’s ‘stagnancy approach to mental health’ from both sides (as a care worker and as a mental health consumer’, and was ‘kindly’ harassed into withdrawing from medical studies with no one held accountable. But, the deal for me is reading on to find out how she survived and is now thriving as best as she can. I have learnt so much not only from reading Molly’s memoir, but also from interacting with her online.
The personal narration
Brought up a catholic, Molly probably knows the dogma of retribution being a direct consequence of our sins or ‘short comings’. It is easier to blame a mental illness on the person suffering same, or their family and upbringing. In this respect, a lot of prayers are said by the family of such a person in total faith and hoping for a miracle. This is some of Molly’s journey although this approach doesn’t work out well and Molly goes from one misadventure to the next. Her personal narration equally covers her ‘merry go round’ with the search for ‘balancing the chemistry’ in her brain through some psychotropic drugs with each having its of pros and huge cons. Physical ailments join in the mix or maybe were even there all along and just can’t take the toxic chemical assail any more without crying foul. Molly is lucky to find a doctor or two who is patient and thoughtful enough to go to the bottom of her physical predicaments to prescribe some alternative treatments. These alternative treatments, including those Molly researched by herself and even natural ones like the sun and thyroid supplement, are all part of the big wrap which enable Molly to survive her Bipolar 1 diagnosis and eventually thrive.
The Scientific narration
Molly’s memoir is not only about her personal journey, it is also about a lot of scientific information and material the average mental health patient and yes even some doctor may be unaware of. Molly shares insights into her research both off and online in her quest to better understand what the ‘heck’ is going on in her brain and life. She also makes a strong and corroborated case for the need for both the scientific and mental health community to be and stay informed of the evolution of psychology, psychiatry and pharmacology mindful of the giant pharmaceutical industry. Molly seems to point out something I had baffled at when I visited the US – Mental illness seems to be all about pills regardless of how bleak statistics are turning in. Fortunately, there are voices of hope out there, although they may be threatened a drown – they are there.
The debilitating narration
I refrained from including this under Molly’s personal narration because it seems to be the trend for many suffering from a mental illness. That mental before the big word illness does so much disservice to the person, their family and even community as a whole – perplexedly unlike with physical illness. Once you get a mental illness diagnosis be it of bipolar 1; 2; Schizophrenia; borderline… you name them, a lot is stripped off you. If you are lucky to be treated as a human being any more, you still come to realize you belong to the category next to guinea pigs or pets for whom either despise or exaggerated pity is the new kindness. There is so much stigma and the community is hyped with fear of this mental ‘nuts’ roaming the streets instead of being locked up for good. You learn very quickly to not mention the word mental again if not relationships will keep being jeopardized.
This is one more of those books I wish I had read a few years ago because it would have helped me and a sibling. The book is very easy to read because of the simple English used and even the anecdotes to fruits in the scientific narratives. Molly’s sense of humour probably helps her survive and thrive, but it will sure keep the reader interested in reading till the end. Although a mental illness strips a patient of so much, it is possible to face the ‘mental beast’ head on as Molly has done. Indeed, she has not only brought into the world a healthy and full of energy young man now in his young adulthood, but she has been able to go back to finish college and start a freelance career in communication. She is over ten years from her last hospitalization and is ageing gracefully. Who says there is no hope once you get a mental illness diagnosis? Read on, I whole heartedly recommend this memoir and give it a 5/5.
Molly is much more about bipolar than I could do her justice. Here is a glimpse in her own words; check out her website for your freelance writer jobs:
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