This is the book that medical students should read, not the DSM. Jim Phelps, MD, reviewing Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar
Part memoir, part self-help, Natasha Tracy‘s Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar, is a collection of articles she’s written that have previously been posted at Bipolar Burble and Breaking Bipolar over the course of several years.
Quotes excerpted from an interview Leslie Lindsay conducted with the author:
One of my strengths, I feel, is to write about mental illness in a way that is real, honest, gritty and not sugar-coated. I say the things that people with mental illness think but don’t have the words to express. This is why people identify with my work so strongly.
I don’t believe in the concept of “stigma” per se. What I believe in fighting is prejudice and the inevitable discrimination that follows it. I believe that by making people with mental illness three-dimensional people with real emotions and real struggles, we actually start to sound just like everyone else – just amplified.
[If diagnosed with bipolar disorder]…(I)t’s important to know that the world is not ending, there will be a tomorrow and there is an innate you that will not disappear. That said, the world, the tomorrows and even you, will change in response to the illness. Again, this is normal and natural. Most people never get back to a pre-bipolar state.
There are many things a newly-diagnosed person can do. Firstly, it’s important to get the best bipolar specialist psychiatrist and therapist one can find and create a treatment plan that makes sense for the individual. Then the treatment plan must be followed. It’s also important to lean on loved ones during this time as they will connect a person to who he or she really is.
It’s an unfortunate truth that for many in the United States the cost of medication is very high. That said, the drugs, while laden with issues like side effects, save lives every day. Many people would have taken their lives without these medications. Yes, there is no doubt that they are expensive and have other associated issues, but when it comes down to life or death, a functional life or a life spent in psychosis, there is no doubt that they are still worth it.
Some helpful resources suggested by Tracy in the interview:
- Tracy’s website
- Medscape.com, written by doctors for doctors
- Book Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder by Julie Fast and John D. Preston, PsyD
If you want a sampling of Tracy’s writing before getting Lost Marbles, here are just a few good choices:
- What are some of the myths about bipolar disorder? On World Bipolar Day, March 30th of this year, Tracy provided a bunch of related articles.
- How does it actually feel to experience mixed moods? Read this article and watch its related video in which Tracy explains the answer.
- In Tracy’s recent Bipolar Burble blog post, “If a Person with Mental Illness Won’t Accept His or Her Illness or Help,” she addresses a commonly posed question.