A Memoir of Love and Madness. Living with Bipolar Disorder by Rahla Xenopoulos

By Rahla Xenopoulos

In 1992, Rahla Xenopoulos used to be clinically determined with bipolar affliction. regardless of the devastating analysis, she sought schooling on her ailment. even if she stumbled on an abundance of literature on quite a few psychological health problems, none of it appeared acceptable to her. this example encouraged her to jot down a ebook chronicling her ongoing efforts to come back to phrases with a illness that's, in influence, a existence sentence. The publication recounts her upbringing in an eccentric, loving Jewish relations, her fight with bulimia, anorexia and self-mutilation, her makes an attempt at suicide, discovering real love and, ultimately, the 'crazy, totally unpredictable event of giving beginning to triplets'. this is often neither a self-help e-book nor a med­ical consultant. studying this booklet won't remedy someone; bipolar affliction is a protracted disorder. however it did aid Rahla – because it will numerous others – 'to comprehend the rhythm within the cacophony of this condition'.

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Sample text

It’s a funny thing about life – we never understand, or at least it takes us so long to understand one another properly. I think it happens in all families: the vulnerable ones are the strong ones, the wounded ones are those who live most fearlessly, and the damaged ones are often those who live most joyously. A family becomes a person, really. I know growing up could not have been as entirely hunkyfucken-dory as I choose to remember it. Under hypnosis on a velvet chaise longue, I’m sure I’d find layers of the usual dysfunctional stuff in my family’s dynamics.

Hosiery, for example. Box one: dancing. Box two: laddered. Box three: black, thick. Box four: pantyhose. Box five: stockings and suspenders. Box six: coloured. ‘Boxing’, so to speak, gave me a sense of order. All my clothing, down to my underwear, was colour-coordinated. I also had a thing about physical symmetry. Sensations had to be duplicated on both sides of my body, so if someone squeezed my right hand, I had to have my left hand squeezed in precisely the same way. Dancing could drive me mad – step-ball-change and spin to the right; I’d have to pinch my left leg to stop it from leaping step-ball-change and spin to the left.

The room smelt of wool, of the jerseys Melita had made for me all my life – wool and Nivea cream, little blue jars of Nivea cream that she used lovingly to apply to my face when I was a child. In the enveloping familiarity and comfort of her smell, I finally took a deep breath and quietly admitted to myself that maybe the doctor was right. I was bipolar and, undoubtedly, I had obsessive–compulsive tendencies. I was with the right doctor, the Happy Potter doctor – thus named for his magic abilities, his mysterious insight and his wand of psychotropic miracles.

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