Just like in a boxing ring, Amy took many blows but still won
This memoir is not only captivating to me because it sheds so much light on mental illness especially on bipolar disorder; but it is equally captivating because of the author’s life and journey itself. With this said, I confess that once I started reading this soulful and resourceful memoir, I didn’t put it down until I finished. It took me 8 hours to read, I was on the go and actually grateful for the traffic.
This is a memoir which shares the author’s resilence as she in her own words ‘refuse to relinquish the title of my life to mental illness’. A game of basketball or team handball or raquetball is easy to play because there are clear rules of the game. No matter how fierce the competition in these games, you know after the game life goes on and you can compete in other encounters and lose with dignity or win why not. No, not with mental illness. First of all it is no game although it plays you around like on a chess board. Secondly, if to be compared to any game, it is in my opinion best like boxing. Amy herself tells how in the ring with bipolar disorder, ‘my face was bloody, my eyes blackened, my nose broken, and my pride destroyed’. The bravado here is that: ‘Each time I got knocked down, I got back up again’.
Amy Gamble is an Olympian and so staying on top of her game, being in good spirits and shape were very important to her. Indeed, when the signs and symptoms started setting in, so too did denial big time. Who Me? No way was her fierce reasoning. Yes mental illness could run in her family even if never talked about you know, yes she could burst with such unquenchable energy to literally move mountains and other times sink into such debilitating depression, but no she couldn’t come to terms with the words bipolar disorder. The erratic life and actions on the spur in several instances, the wanderings and all which caused her two painful run ins with the law and a sting in jail not to talk of the massive financial and emotional devastation still didn’t sink in well with her. She near gave up especially after losing so many close people like her dad and co, her loyal dogs and even some invaluable relationships.
At the 8th or 9th round, the bloodied athlete in her through a series of divine interventions and other circumstances, started to recover. She looked her opponent in the eye, felt the bruises through her body, spirit and soul, grieved for what was and what should have been, and then gave her opponent the final blow. I say final blow because even though bipolar disorder is still out there and can rear up its dragon self anytime, Amy is fully prepared for any further competitions. The light Amy Gamble sheds on mental illness not only lightens our paths but hers above all.
About Amy Gamble
Amy Gamble is a small town girl who has always had big time dreams. She followed those dreams all the way to the Olympic Games. Facing competitors on a world stage, she learned how determination could overcome all the odds against her. Amy needed that strength and those lessons when she faced the biggest challenge in her life-bipolar disorder. Amy is now the Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) of Greater Wheeling. She is a Certified Mental Health First Aid instructor and a mental health speaker. Amy has over 18 years experience working for Fortune 500 companies in sales, marketing and leadership. Amy has a M.A. in Organizational Management and a B.A. in Communication. Her mission in life is to help those who live with mental illness and their family members find help and hope. She strives to eliminate stigma by sharing openly her struggles and triumphs of living with bipolar disorder and educating audiences of all ages.
I am very honoured to write this review. When I discovered Amy’s blog and reached out to her to write a forward to my own memoir about my mental challenges, she did so the same day. I didn’t know Amy was past 50 years, she looks like 45 at most. Amy’s story is indeed a captivating one, the closest to any celebrity’s own I have read about their journey and battle with mental illness.
An interesting editorial Review (found on the amazon)
“Amy Gamble is a champion for mental health, advocating for awareness, improved care and the removal of stigma. In her book, she painstakingly describes the details of her own battle with bipolar disorder that led her from the U.S. Olympic team to a prosperous career for a top Fortune 500 company to a small jail cell in Montana and — eventually — to recovery. Amy’s firsthand experiences with the obstacles of our own health care and justice systems are chilling. And just when you think her nightmare has to be over, it starts all over again. You come to understand that mental illness truly levels the field: No amount of money, prestige or physical strength can protect you from it. But her survival instinct, her faith in God, and the work ethic she developed growing up on a West Virginia farm and honed as an Olympic athlete kept her trudging onward through her darkest days. The book is in part a cautionary tale — a “what not to do” — for the health care industry, as well as for families of those who are mentally ill and sick individuals themselves. Above all, it is a story of Amy’s redemption, a reclaiming of the life she thought she lost and the emerging of a true champion who dares to dream again. Mental illness won far too many battles in Amy’s life, but through her own education, proper care and sheer determination, she won the war. By sharing her story, she has ensured that her struggles were not in vain and many people will benefit from her victory.” –Betsy Bethel, Life Editor, The Intelligencer and WheWheelingNews-Register