Mental Lithium, love, and losing my mind

Jaime Lowe, 1976-

Book - 2017

"A riveting memoir and a fascinating investigation of the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium, an essential medication for millions of people struggling with bipolar disorder, stemming from Jaime Lowe's sensational 2015 article in The New York Times Magazine: "'I Don't Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium': My 20-year Struggle with Bipolar Disorder.""--

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York, New York : Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
305 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780399574498
0399574492
Main Author
Jaime Lowe, 1976- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

At 15, Lowe began hallucinating and stopped eating and sleeping. She was hospitalized, diagnosed as bipolar, and prescribed lithium, which is the focus of her memoir. Describing her unremarkable childhood, she lists eating pancakes, climbing trees, listening to Michael Jackson, and going to the beach, somewhat defensively cataloging evidence of her normalcy. But can her eventual bipolar episode be described? Lowe's stunning introduction proves that it can: music "pulsating in syncopation with my anxiety . . . feeling the chorus like combat" and clouds "crashing" as she saw "the waves of sound cascading from speaker to skin" and tasted them. She believes her high-school autobiographical piece on bipolarity "functioned somewhere between a confessional and a PSA." Not so this readable, moving, and accessible account of her episodic madness and lithium-maintained stability that will keep readers engrossed with her often painful, sometimes funny story, whose well-researched information on this age-old malady complements her enlightening journey. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Based upon a 2015 New York Times Magazine article, describes a woman’s battle with episodic madness and the stability offered to her through lithium, as well as interviews with scientists, doctors and patients who each discuss the element’s effects.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A riveting memoir and a fascinating investigation of the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium, an essential medication for millions of people struggling with bipolar disorder. It began in Los Angeles in 1993, when Jaime Lowe was just sixteen. She stopped sleeping and eating, and began to hallucinate--demonically cackling Muppets, faces lurking in windows, Michael Jackson delivering messages from the Neverland Underground. Lowe wrote manifestos and math equations in her diary, and drew infographics on her bedroom wall. Eventually, hospitalized and diagnosed as bipolar, she was prescribed a medication that came in the form of three pink pills--lithium. In Mental, Lowe shares and investigates her story of episodic madness, as well as the stability she found while on lithium. She interviews scientists, psychiatrists, and patients to examine how effective lithium really is and how its side effects can be dangerous for long-term users--including Lowe, who after twenty years on the medication suffers from severe kidney damage. Mental is eye-opening and powerful, tackling an illness and drug that has touched millions of lives and yet remains shrouded in social stigma. Now adjusting to a new drug, her pursuit of a stable life continues as does her curiosity about the history and science of the mysterious element that shaped the way she sees the world and allowed her decades of sanity. Lowe travels to the Bolivian salt flats that hold more than half of the world's lithium reserves, rural America where lithium is mined for batteries, and to lithium spas that are still touted as a tonic to cure all ills. With unflinching honesty and humor, Lowe allows a clear-eyed view into her life, and an arresting inquiry into one of mankind's oldest medical mysteries"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"A riveting memoir and a fascinating investigation of the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium, an essential medication for millions of people struggling with bipolar disorder, stemming from Jaime Lowe's sensational 2015 article in The New York Times Magazine: "'I Don't Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium': My 20-year Struggle with Bipolar Disorder.""--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The author describes her struggles with bipolar disorder and the effect on her life of taking lithium and documents the history and controversies surrounding the use of the drug.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A riveting memoir and a fascinating investigation of the history, uses, and controversies behind lithium, an essential medication for millions of people struggling with bipolar disorder.   It began in Los Angeles in 1993, when Jaime Lowe was just sixteen. She stopped sleeping and eating, and began to hallucinate—demonically cackling Muppets, faces lurking in windows, Michael Jackson delivering messages from the Neverland Underground. Lowe wrote manifestos and math equations in her diary, and drew infographics on her bedroom wall. Eventu­ally, hospitalized and diagnosed as bipolar, she was prescribed a medication that came in the form of three pink pills—lithium.In Mental, Lowe shares and investigates her story of episodic madness, as well as the stabil­ity she found while on lithium. She interviews scientists, psychiatrists, and patients to examine how effective lithium really is and how its side effects can be dangerous for long-term users—including Lowe, who after twenty years on the medication suffers from severe kidney damage. Mental is eye-opening and powerful, tackling an illness and drug that has touched millions of lives and yet remains shrouded in social stigma. Now, while she adjusts to a new drug, her pur­suit of a stable life continues as does her curiosity about the history and science of the mysterious element that shaped the way she sees the world and allowed her decades of sanity. Lowe travels to the Bolivian salt flats that hold more than half of the world’s lithium reserves, rural America where lithium is mined for batteries, and tolithium spas that are still touted as a tonic to cure all ills. With unflinching honesty and humor, Lowe allows a clear-eyed view into her life, and an arresting inquiry into one of mankind’s oldest medical mysteries.