Book Review:”Professional patient: A memoir of Bipolar Disorder.”by Leesa Abbott Psy.D

Book Review: “Professional Patient: A Memoir of Bipolar Disorder.”

By Leesa Abbott, Psy.D. (2015)

A book review by Emily H. Sturgill, M.Ed, BFA

(Art Therapist with over 20 years experience living with bipolar type one disorder.)

The first 77 pages of this memoir cover Mrs. Abbott’s childhood, adolescence, and young  adulthood in very stark and honest details. Despite this being the author’s first memoir she seems to have mastered the craft of such writing. After 77 or so pages, I felt that her writing was so compelling it was necessary for myself to mark and highlight certain sections of her text.  On page 77 she describes in her role as a mental health professional encountering all types of people. In particular she details the struggles of interacting with persons baring personality disorders or traits of such disorders. She comments that,  “I do know that simply responding to people who have challenging personality traits with a softer, non-escalating response can change the dynamics.”(Abbott .L.p.77) She goes on to describe an encounter with a young child and his mother. She explains in depth that,

”Sometimes people have a thick layer of defenses but it is possible to connect with the wounded person inside. It does require patience and ability to ignore misguided anger.” While this is sensible and logical advice I find it more than a bit ironic. In my own experiences as a Graduate Student studying Art Therapy our professors advised us that clients with such personality traits made for difficult clients and we may wish to avoid taking on such clients unless we specifically were trained to work with them.

Dr. Abbott’s advice on the topic seems to make much more sense and also highlights her skills at helping others.  The Author speaks rather frankly on the duality of the roles in her life as both mental health professional and mental health consumer. Not only is she a counselor, a healer, a therapist but also a client herself. This gives her a unique vantage point.

Later in her book she sums up a personal account of her own depression. She tries to explain the distorted thought processes someone who is depressed goes through.

“I tried to get rid of as many personal items as possible I believe as a way to start making myself disappear. It was as if the fewer belongings I had the closer I was to not existing

at all.”( Abbott.L. p.99)

Often a common sign of depression can be a person giving away all of their belongings. On the next page she talks about her illness as a “dirty little secret.” And her own battle to keep these two worlds in her own life separate. Later on page 109 she discusses a hospitalization for her own bipolar disorder, “I didn’t see how I was similar to my roommate and the rest of the people on the ward. I felt different because I worked in the profession. I felt I had a secret that must be protected at all costs. I also felt my illness wasn’t as serious as theirs must be. Of course I realized later in life with 20/20 hindsight that was untrue.”(Abbott.L.p.109)

Most of her memoir she struggles to find balance between Mental Health professional and Mental Health Client. Sadly, there is such a stigma left in our society especially in America and much of that is rampant among mental health professionals.

During the second half of her book the Author constantly discusses this push and pull between wellness and becoming unwell. There is a conflict between being a caring compassionate professional in this field and the shameful isolation in being a unique person with their own diagnosis.

One of my favorite parts comes near the end of the book. It is here we see her as a caterpillar finally shattering the cocoon of stereotypes and growing her wings. Back on page 77 she gives the reader a quote from Mother Theresa, but I see many ways on how this quote is echoed throughout the Memoir itself. “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is love without getting tired.”(p.77) The Author in many ways embraces her own self through love, self-love and love for others as well. She accepts she is a butterfly. She accepts that she is also a coin with two faces. Her inner conflict seems elegantly resolved as she reflects that.

“One day I had an epiphany.” This leads to much description of the need to develop her own self-worth for herself. She details this development of self-worth along her journey.

“The feeling of confidence and that I deserve the good things that come my way had to come from with-in me. I had to forgive myself and cherish myself. I had made mistakes-big ones, whoppers, but I am human. I also had accomplishments, accomplishments that I had achieved despite mental disorders I didn’t ask for.”(Abbott.L.p.207)

I feel that this is not just another personal memoir but also it’s a story about living a double life. I’m willing to bet that many other professionals across a wide range of careers are also leading double lives-secretly struggling with a mental illness too. People who might be afraid if the word got out about their illness they might lose or ruin their entire careers. That stigma in and of itself would result in them being shunned by their peers. That of course is unacceptable yet things like that cause discrimination all the time. What is so beautiful about Dr. Abbott’s memoir is she gives us a road map of how to come clean. She describes in full detail her manias and depressions-this disease and how it has impacted every angle of her life. It’s really a personal account about transformation. To go through the steps to become a professional in the mental health field, to later being diagnosed as having bipolar disorder to lastly becoming an Advocate for those with mental health issues through her work with NAMI. She takes that journey with us-her readers-and at the end she re-emerges not broken into a two side coin but whole and united as a Mental Health advocate. This is a great book to give insight into how it feels to have a mental illness and just because you have one-that does not mean you cannot become whole and embrace yourself like a brilliant butterfly. To buy your own copy follow this link here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/1312218797/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

To buy a copy of this book  you can buy through Amazon.com or also through Barnes and Nobles Booksellers. It is $19.99Leesa Memoirs cover

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FREE E-Books to download starting tomorrow 4 poetry & artist chapbooks and 1 personal memoir!

Upcoming Free Kindle ebook Downloads*****Starts tomorrow!!
Four of my Artist & Poetry chapbooks will be free to download as Kindle ebooks:

1-“Do not cry me a River of Crocodile Tears.”(2013)
2-“In Exile from Maxwell park:poems” (2014)
3-“Butterfly rimmed eyeglasses and the trouble with Tuesdays.”(2013)
4-“Red Bones.”(2014) be free to download. These titles will be free from 12/27/14-12/31/14.To download any of these titles please visit my Amazon.com‘s Author Page:www.amazon.com/author/emilysturgill    OR

http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Sturgill/e/B00B1GC5LY

In addition, my personal memoir about living with bipolar disorder,
5-“Memoirs recalled Madness: a personal account of living with manic-depressive disorder.” (2013) will also be free to download from 12-27-14 through 12/31/14.
To download #1 go HERE: http://www.amazon.com/not-cry-River-Crocodile-Tears-ebook/dp/B00DRN85YA/ref=asap_B00B1GC5LY?ie=UTF8
To download My Memoirs on living with Bipolar Disorder/Manic Depression please go HERE:
Keep checking my blog for Kindle deals, I have more deals starting on Dec 28-Jan 21, 2015.
Happy Holidays!!! If you have never read any of my ebooks but do enjoy this blog, the poetry in the books is very similar and I also add my own original artwork as well. You may enjoy them but it’s worth a look. They will be free so you can always delete later, if you decide you hate it or its not your cup of tea. Reviews are highly welcome-both positive or negative I enjoy feedback of any kind because it allows me to become more in tune with what readers like and what they do not care for.Thank you.-Emilywpid-cam01434.jpg Snapshot_20141223_3 Snapshot_20141223_4

“Memoirs Recalled Madness: a personal account of manic-depression.”by Emily Sturgill just $3.99

“Memoirs Recalled Madness: a personal account of manic-depression.”by Emily Sturgill  is currently a kindle-countdown deal.

Right now its priced is reduced from $9.99 to just $3.99. As a countdeal deal the price will slowly increase over the next few days. So I encourage you to buy a copy asap while its still such a low price! It’s a personal memoir dealing with growing up then being diagnosed with bipolar disorder right after high school and my life ever since. The highs and lows but also the successes of a life living with a serious mental health issue.

For more info please follow this link here:

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Recalled-Madness-personal-depressive-ebook/dp/B00C145EOU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415134043&sr=1-1

The price is set to increase by $1 tomorrow.

Current Kindle Countdown deal: “Memoirs Recalled Madness: a personal account of living with manic depressive illness.” 99 cents!

In 2013 I wrote a memoir about my own personal experience growing up and later being diagnosed with manic-depression.

Right now, as a Kindle Countdown deal that ebook is reduced from $9.99 to just 99 cents. Since it is a countdown deal the price will increase over the next few days until it is back to it’s original price. So I suggest if it at all has remote interest for you, please go ahead and buy a copy while the price is marked down. This count down started yesterday Oct 31st and runs until Nov 7, 2014. Thank you.

For more information please click on this link:

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Recalled-Madness-personal-depressive-ebook/dp/B00C145EOU/ref=la_B00B1GC5LY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414853619&sr=1-1

Negative Review

Well I just started this blog back in Nov 2012. I first began self-publishing poetry and artist chapbooks in Jan 2013. Since then I have written nine more books-for a total of ten. Eight of my book are poetry and Artist chapbooks. One is a personal memoir, on battling mental illness most of my life and my latest book focuses mostly on just my artwork-only a small sample.

For more info on my books you can visit : http://sexinthekitchensink.wix.com/books-by-emily or visit my Authors page at Amazon.com.

That link is http://www.amazon.com/author/emilysturgill

Up until this point, I have only had 3 different readers write reviews of my books and all were blessed for me, very very positive.

Today however I got my first negative review. It was on my memoirs which are still currently free to download if this has any interest to you. It can be directly downloaded here: http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Recalled-Madness-ebook/dp/B00C145EOU/ref=la_B00B1GC5LY_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369016341&sr=1-3

This is day 3 of my 5 day promo. The negative review was very harsh, even though as an Artist, and a person with a B.F.A-I have a semi-thick skin-all those artist critiques….ahhh…gotta be professional and maintain distance to your work. I also recently, about a year ago received a Masters of Education Degree, with a Major in Art ed and a concentration in Art Therapy. Grad school is no-cake-walk. Writing a Masters Level thesis is not easy. So I think I write pretty decent or why else would i be bothering to write at all??

To write this blog, to write 10 books in 4 months…Her review cited many grammar errors, and she claimed she could not read past the first ten pages due to said errors, and obviously I need a professional editor…she called my memoirs a “train-wreck.”

I do not know the motives of this person, but I am currently permanently disabled due to a serious mental illness and sustain myself on a mere 525$ per month. I have no money for a professional editor. I would rather be judged on the content of my story then punctuation-if my writing was a “train-wreck.” then they would have never allowed me to graduate from a University’s Master’s Program. I have had 151 free downloads in 3 days-how horrid could my writing possibly be?

I do encourage reader reviews very much, even if they are bad because that motivates me to improve my writing skills and techniques.

But I am feeling so defensive, upset and broken-hearted I cannot see straight, I’m sure by tomorrow I will re-evaluate, that nobody including myself is perfect and besides that is merely one person’s point of view. 4 reviews-3 were great but one was devastating.

I am hoping that maybe some of you downloaded it and will read it and decided to write a different sort of review. Perhaps my story will touch your heart or touch you someplace deep inside, where you could relate?

But to negate, an entire 83 page book, based on some comma errors, or misplaced hyphens in the first ten pages seems ridiculous to me. I’m embarrassed, shamed and very angry too. She bought the paperback version-apparently. So she spent $15.99 +shipping and handling + taxes-and she cannot bear to read past the first ten pages-not because my story sucks-but because you do not like where I placed my commas?? Really? If I buy a book, then I’m gonna read it-eventually no matter what-and I do not write reviews of things I downloaded or purchased from Amazon if I did not even read the whole thing…WTH?

Maybe I’m just uber-bipolar-crazy-sensitive  but this is the review she gave me -what do you guys think-is this a helpful review??

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Atrocious Grammar! May 19, 2013
By Ashley
Format:Paperback
This story itself seems okay–considering the fact that I didn’t finish the book–but after reading the first ten pages and finding dozens of grammatical, punctuational, and even typographical errors, I simply cannot continue to read this English language train wreck. It is painfully clear that nobody edited this book. I don’t consider myself to be an expert in the field of grammar and punctuation, but when I cannot concentrate on a plot due to the multitude of errors, then there is a problem. Em dashes, semicolons, and commas are all incorrectly used, just to name a few glaring examples. Please consider this my appeal to the author to have corrections made, then re-release your book.

Promo video No.2 Top ten reasons you should buy my new book!!!

The top ten reasons you should invest in a copy of my memoirs. I really feel my last video was a bit disappointing-so here is a different approach.
Here I give you my top ten reasons you really should buy my new book!
http://www.amazon.com/author/emilysturgill

Promo Video for latest book,”Memoirs recalled Madness: a personal account of living with manic-depressive illness.”

“Memoirs recalled Madness: a personal account of living with manic-depressive illness.”by Emily Sturgill, 2013, promo video. This short 4 min or so video is of me, Emily Sturgill taking about my new book. I am the Artist/Author/Poet behind the Sex in the kitchen Sink, blog here on wordpress.com This is my 8th book, it is 88 pages long, 8.5 x11, printed on white pages with colored images. It is also available on kindle for just $9.99. The paperback is $15.99.

New book now Available for purchase on kindle: Memoirs recalled Madness

This one is a bit longer, and took a bit more work on my part-it is 73-75 pages long. It is mostly a personal narrative account of my life-long story with the mental illness, formerly known as manic-depression.Nowadays, most people simply call it “Bipolar Disorder”. I do like the original name better, perhaps because that’s what they called it when i was first diagnosed over two decades ago.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C145EOU

If you click on the link above: you can also click on something called look inside this book. That will show you initial and original personal artwork by me and also my table of contents.It is a personal narrative, yet the names of everyone who is not me-have been changed to maintain their privacy. I am also quite aware that due to the nature of my illness my point of view may somewhat be distorted, which is another reasons for not using “real” names. My own name is real.

It is my hope, in writing such a personal memoir/narrative, and sharing some of the uglier details-persons who also live with a mental disorder-or a SMI-(Serious Mental Illness) or who have been recently diagnosed as such or family members of such persons or even professionals who work to help these people may gain insight but also perhaps a dash of “hope” from my story.

It is $9.99 on the kindle. The paperback version will be released probably later this week or this weekend. It will be $15.99. The paperback is 8.5 x 11, white pages with some colored images-there is art-of course-but a bit less then in some of my poetry and artist chapbooks. The focus here is more on the story, the experience of living with a mental illness. I’m sure there is plenty, that I did omit. One thing, is I felt strongly not to list names of cities or places for the most part. I wanted to give the impression that this story-my story- could take place in Any City-Any Town-Any State in America. This is not an “every-man” experience of mental illness, however, it is my own unique experience. That being said, I do believe others with SMI-have experienced similar things during times of illness.

Even with changing names it is scary to release such a book. Certain family members would be highly upset-but I changed their names too-and I am not writing this for them-I am writing this for YOU. My readers of my blog, or your friends or neighbors or whoever. It is not always a pretty story. But it was an honest as I possible could be. and if it even helps one person feel less alone-so be it.

back-book cover on new book

back-book cover on new book

This is how the back-cover of the new book will look. It is probably going to be a little while before I submit it to kindle. Not sure what the kindle price will be yet. Such things are in the foggy mists of the unknown as of yet. You change check out my other books which are already available both on kindle and through createspace store or through amazon.com by visting my authors page at http://www.amazon.com/author/emilysturgill.
This other website goes into greater detail about each book as a whole it is my Author Website:
http://sexinthekitchensink.wix.com/books-by-emily

still working…on my writing..

I edited and re-edited as best as I could. My memoir is now 73 pages long. I tried to fluff out as many details as possible. My memories are not quite like they used to be. I would blame it on being middle aged but i doubt that’s the whole story. Endless years of manias, depressions, hypo-manias, and psychosis plus very strong medicines-creates a hazy recall.

It helps that I have had a somewhat stable long term romance for almost 13 yrs now. He fills in my blanks when I cannot-or just do not really want to remember. Some of it-i push as far back into my subconscious as humanly possible.

It is really hard to sum up a life-story of living on the edges between madness and normalcy. Although, that was the illusion i was shooting for…

Now, that I finally submitted it it should be approved in the next few days. We-hubby and I-are considering paying extra for distributions this time, If we do do that it’s possible it maybe available on demand through libraries and Barnes and nobles. That means you would need to request it and then they would order it for you. 

I’m not sure if I am good enough….worth a snowballs chance in hell, i guess…

In case anyone is curious I will give you a preview of the book cover- if i can find it on my cluttered laptops desktop. It looks like somebody threw up files everywhere-hubby says im a hoarder with so many icons on my desktop. LOL…Image

The paperback version is going to be $15.99, and it will be 8.5 x11, white pages colored images-some art not that much-some personal photos and a hell of alot of memories. This picture is how the front cover will look.