A Memoir Of Moods, Medication, And Mania
Bipolar is an often not diagnosed or misdiagnosed mental condition. It effects not only the person, but has ramifications for all around them, friends, loved ones, even complete strangers are effected. Little is understood as to what causes it, however there does seem to be a mounting body of evidence showing that there is a likelihood that it is genetically transferred. The really strange part about Bipolar Disorder is its ability to go into remission without medication. Months, even years can pass between it rearing its ugly head. Likely this is one of the reasons that it is so often ignored.
Cynthia Sabotka gives some statistics, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) there are approximately 5.7 million Americans that suffer from this illness, and about 30,000 commit suicide each year from depression. Those are some sobering numbers.
It takes a lot of guts to write a book at the best of times, you face adversity at every juncture, publishers, agents, and I hate to say it, book reviewers! It takes a superhuman effort to write a book about you and your families failings, particularly when it involves mental illness. While overcoming physical disabilities are the fodder of the best seller lists, mental health remains a very secretive, and behind closed doors subject.
Life Is Like A Line takes us behind those closed doors. Cynthia Sabotka was diagnosed as being Bi-Polar at the age of 48, and this book is the story of her life. In many ways just having a name to put to the problem is a comfort for her. She also reflects back on her family, and now realizes that it was not just her, but her parents, and siblings that also exhibited many of the classic symptoms. This in itself lends anecdotal credibility to the hereditary predisposition of the illness. From euphoria to depression in less time than you can say ‘help’.
I have read several books about Bipolar Disorder, and every single one of them has had something new and interesting. I knew that Lithium which is a naturally occurring mineral is often used as a treatment, for medical reasons far beyond my comprehension, it has the ability to even out the wild mood swings, yet it does not work for everyone. What I did not know was that Lithium sometimes has a strange effect if it is stopped and later restarted as a treatment. The ‘second go around’ may not work. The official term being ‘Lithium Discontinuation Induced Refractoriness’. The man in the street version, for some reason that no-one understands, if you suddenly stop taking it, and later resume, it does not work, well sometimes anyway.
Life Is Like A Line is a fascinating read, and Cynthia Sabotka has taken a very unique approach to the writing style. She uses two voices, the ‘then’, and the ‘now’. The ‘then’ explores her thoughts and emotions as experienced at the time, and as they were seen through her eyes. The ‘now’ aspect puts them in the perspective of hindsight.
Disturbing as the subject of mental health is, and how much society prefers to ignore it, it is a part of our life. Books such as Life Is Like A Line need to be written, more importantly they need to be read.