Thursday, April 4, 2013

Losing Your Marbles

They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger and in Ellen Forney's case, it also makes you funnier. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly after turning 30, Forney charts her four-year journey seeking stability in an entertaining and enlightening graphic (as in cartoon) memoir Marbles, Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me.   

Forney, a freelance cartoonist, credits her creativity with her mood disorder and initially resists medications. But as she continually slides off her manic highs and her head feels like a "cage of frantic rats" she reluctantly agrees to take lithium. Working with her psychiatrist (to whom she dedicates the book) she starts a steady stream of alternating drug cocktails seeking the right balance.

But balance can't be found in medications alone and Forney also credits her success to therapy sessions, journaling, yoga, nutrition and the support of her loving family and friends. In addition to her personal experiences, she lists common symptoms of bipolar disorder, drug reactions and treatment costs. Endnotes provide mental health resources and references. 

Forney is an accomplished cartoonist and her art expresses her turbulent ride with compassion and deadpan humor. Check out her illustrations in Marbles, Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me as well as in the National Book Award winner, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Vicki Ann

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