My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Australian Karen Tyrrell has bi-polar, an illness that affects many millions of people. Her memoir, Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness, is about her life with bipolar. The book is her quest to understand and control her bipolar, and her quest to find out why she developed the illness.
The memoir opens with Karen happily being the best primary school teacher she can be. She is married with too young adult children and living a cosy life in Brisbane. Life is good and Karen lives it well. But then she is harassed by a student’s parents, causing Karen’s mental health to deteriorate. Among other things, she starts to think she is psychic and can talk to the dead.
Karen ends up fleeing the school and her family to hide in a motel under an assumed name. The book then tells an engrossing, thought provoking and entertaining tale of her quest to overcome and understand her bipolar.
This is a very unusual book for me to read. If I had not networked online with Karen, I would never have contemplated reading it. I am not into biographies of people who have triumphed over injuries or illnesses. But this book is not one of triumph, it is about a person who strives to live with an illness. It’s about how it affected her life and family. It is about a quest for answers.
The book is very well written, in an easy to read style. It taught me a lot about bipolar. Like how it can cause delusions and the negative effects of various drug treatments. It also showed how important caring and supportive family, friends, workmates and health professionals are when tackling such an illness. The book had me wondering how those with bipolar who are on their own and lack resources would cope.
In the end Karen found ways to control her bipolar and a reason why her bipolar developed. I very much recommend Me and Her: A Memoir of Madness. It will open your mind.