Monday, February 3, 2014

Manic: A Memoir (2009)

Terri Cheney’s book, Manic: A Memoir, written in a nonlinear form, describes her gut-wrenching life as a manic-depressive. She tells of the ups and downs in her life and explains the thought processes of someone with bipolar disorder (BPD). She tells of her search for the right doctor and the right medication to stabilize her as well as her suicide attempts. This is an honest look at BPD by someone who is quite literate.

From Amazon Blurb: An attractive, highly successful Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer, Terri Cheney had been battling debilitating bipolar disorder for the better part of her life—and concealing a pharmacy’s worth of prescription drugs meant to stabilize her moods and make her "normal." In explosive bursts of prose that mirror the devastating mania and extreme despair of her illness, Cheney describes her roller-coaster existence with shocking honesty, giving brilliant voice to the previously unarticulated madness she endured. Brave, electrifying, poignant, and disturbing, Manic does not simply explain bipolar disorder—it takes us into its grasp and does not let go.
(Review submitted by Stephen Cimini)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A 500 Pound Amoeba and Other Psychiatric Tales

by Steve Sobel, M.D.

Steve Sobel is a practicing psychiatrist in northern Vermont. "A 500 Pound Amoeba" is a collection of 10 compelling vignettes of patients with psychiatric illnesses. These comprise depression, mania, OCD, body dysmorphic disorder, borderline personality, generalized anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, acrophobia, psychotic depression, and dementia. The stories are told with great sensitivity. Each one is divided into two parts. The first describing the illness as appreciated from the patient’s vantage point and the second explains the clinician’s approach and touches on the doctor-patient relationship.

We have all known patients like the composites Dr. Sobel eloquently conveys. As physicians, we have all had patients like these. Sobel’s narrative style is easy to read and follow.  These tales afford profound insights into the illnesses covered.

This slender volume of less than 130 pages will make compelling reading for physicians, mental health professionals, trainees, medical students and all others with an interest in mental health.  Sobel has a gentle, compassionate writing style and the tales are memorable. The narrative form employed also serves as a template for the presentation of similar patients.  
Available at Amazon for around $10 and also on Kindle for $7