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The Bipolar Experience (Book Review)

 
Hi, friends!
 
Have you read The Bipolar Experience: Your Dreams Are Bigger than Bipolar Disorder by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson?
 

 
As a person who struggles with bipolar disorder, I was naturally drawn to LeeAnn Jefferies’ story. The fact that she was a top model for more than 16 years added to my intrigue.
 
I felt like I was sitting on a wicker chair on a wrap-around porch listening to LeeAnn tell her story, her Southern accent and flare on display between our sips of sweet tea. I appreciated her authenticity.
 

 
I know what it’s like to be afraid of my own mind.
 
 
Oh, I hated it, I hated it! But I learned to live within the hell of it. Because that’s what it was. Hell. With all the good going on in my life–with all the God at work–I had come to a sure truth: I knew exactly where the devil’s playground resided. And it was with me all the time. Right there, in my mind.
 
 
Most of us can only live each day as it comes. But those with bipolar disorder will either live those days bouncing off the clouds or clawing our way through the mud.
 

 
I’m thankful I’m neither in the clouds or the mud these days.
 
The Bipolar Experience is a good resource for family and friends of those with bipolar disorder. Eva and LeeAnn sprinkle facts about the illness throughout the book, but they approach it in the context of her story, not as a medical encyclopedia.
 
I could relate to LeeAnn’s goal-oriented side of bipolar disorder. It’s a little known fact that a bipolar person tends to fixate on a goal–however big or small–until they achieve it. Many times, a person with bipolar disorder is viewed as extremely productive. I could see that in LeeAnn’s story–and in mine.
 
As much as I wanted to read The Bipolar Experience in one sitting, I struggled to read non-stop because I swing more to the depressive side of bipolar. I needed to take some breaks from reading it when I found myself swinging low. I would caution those who struggle with mental illness to be aware of that possibility prior to reading it. Awareness is key. 🙂
 
The story hops back and forth through key events in LeeAnn’s life, which as, LeeAnn herself admits, is a glimpse into the life and mind of a person with bipolar.
 

 
There are times in the telling of this story when I worry that I cannot keep the reader on track. Then again, this is a book about the bipolar experience, so why should I be able to do that? After all, my life has been up and down, down and up. Around a left-turn corner. Around a right-turn corner.
 

 
I can understand the rationale for that approach. However, as a person with bipolar disorder, I found it difficult to follow her journey. People who struggle with the illness are often obsessed with things being in a specific order–to the point of OCD. (LeeAnn mentioned her struggles with OCD too.) In order to create a linear progression of her life, I had to, as a classic sign of a bipolar person, go back and highlight the year in each chapter to understand what happened first, next, and so on. Nonetheless, the non-linear approach is a good representation of a bipolar mind for those who don’t face it firsthand.
 
I know family and friends of bipolars will appreciate the chapters by her husband and daughter. They were honest, heartfelt, and demonstrated the power of a strong support system. The importance of a good doctor is a continuous thread in the book.
 
Overall, I recommend The Bipolar Experience by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson to family and friends of those struggling with the nauseating see-saw of this illness. For those who face this struggle, The Bipolar Experience is a reminder that God can use our circumstances (including illnesses) for good, but only if we let Him. LeeAnn is a great example of that. I am. You can be too.
 
 
***
 
 
Come alongside… Do you know someone with bipolar disorder or another mental illness? How can you support them? Do you see signs of mental illness in yourself? What can you do to get help? If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, how are you managing your life? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Who’s Having The Last Laugh Now?

 
Do you like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos? I do. It never gets old watching people’s antics, especially when they go wrong.
 
Most of the situations are harmless, although I’m sure some have led to an ambulance ride or two.
 
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It’s one thing to laugh at someone else’s expense for giving their six year old a bat for a piñata and then standing too close when the boy starts swinging.
 
It’s another thing to laugh at someone’s misfortune or pain.
 
Think about the recent divorce of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The media have made a joke of their family’s crisis because, as some have claimed, Brad and Angelina started seeing each other while Brad was still with Jennifer Aniston, costar of the mega hit 90s TV sitcom Friends. Suddenly,  we hear…
 

  • He had it coming to him.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • Serves him right.
  • Karma is a (blank).
  • Jennifer’s having the last laugh.

 
I don’t know whether Jennifer is having the last laugh. But when I feel wronged, my initial response is to lash out, to get the final word, to see the person get what’s coming to them.
 

I want to have the last laugh.

 
Normal? Yes. Healthy? No.
 
When we rejoice in the misfortune of others–however small or great, we hurt still. We have not recovered. Our wounds are infected and need healing.
 
We know we’ve recovered when seeing the misfortune of those who’ve hurt us saddens us too.
 
Compassion, not criticism, reveals healing.
 
Compassion doesn’t come quickly. It delays. It meanders its way to us. Compassion remembers what pain feels like.
 
What to do? Ignore the hurt? Pretend it didn’t happen? Shrug it off? No. Feel the pain. Voice it out to God. Expose your feelings of betrayal before Him. Trust Him with your raw hurt.
 
Then…and you’ll know when, pray for them, that God will draw them closer to Him, that He would meet their needs, that He would heal their wounds. That He would bless them.
 
Yes–bless them.
 
For example, Job prayed for “friends” who criticized, insulted, and blamed him for all the tragedy in his life. The Bible says “the Lord released Job from captivity when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10a).
 
Our hurts hold us captive when we want to have the last laugh on those who’ve hurt us or our loved ones. God can release us from that captivity just like He did for Job.
 

 
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part…. Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42:12, 17)
 

 
Job lived peacefully. He enjoyed life. He laughed–a lot.
 
Can you hear his laughter? It isn’t a “you’ll get yours” type of laugh. It’s a laughter of healing, freedom, and compassion.
 
Job chose his last laugh. You can too.
 
 
Come alongside… Has someone hurt you or a loved one? Are you waiting to have the last laugh? How can you start healing from this hurt? How can you pray for the person who hurt you or those you love? Do you have a story of a time you prayed for someone who hurt you? Comment below in the box that says, “Leave a reply.” Remember you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Life is Good, Positive Promotions, BloomThat, CesarsWay, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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