Madness

I picked up the book Madness by Marya Hornbacher recently.  I’ve been feeling horrible and isolated and was looking for something when a patron returned it and said it was one of the best books they’ve read in a long time.  It’s a memoir of a bipolar life, and I took it home to see if it did the subject of mental illness justice.

I’ve read depression memoirs before, notably William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and was disappointed.  I always searched for the words I couldn’t put to my own feelings.  I guess I thought professional authors or at least someone who wrote well enough to get published could articulate the struggle better than myself.  I was wrong.  It’s never the right words unless they’re yours.  Anyway, I was willing to give Madness a try.

I’ve only just started, but I’m impressed and honestly a little scared by the book.  The book is good.  Really good.  So good that the feelings Hornbacher describes feel a bit too real.  I feel like my current lowness is feeding off the emotions in the book, and I’m not sure that’s so good right now.  There’s a few songs that I used the last time through this, and I still can’t listen to them without being sent back to the bottom of the pit.  This book might hit too close to home like that.

I don’t know if people who haven’t been through this fully grasp that we don’t know.  We don’t always know why we’re feeling this way or what will make us feel worse.  We don’t always understand what we need from others.  We’re hurting and we just want to feel better.  I get that from Madness, and I’m already getting the sense that she doesn’t have answers either.  I need to quit looking for them, I know, but I’m always surprised at how little I find comfort in knowing that others feel just as isolated inside themselves as I do.

I know I’m not giving a very good image of the book right now, but I really am enjoying it.  My mood just isn’t cooperating right now.

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