Novelist, poet and musician Jeremy Gluck draws on his
experiences of growing up in post-War Canada in a breath-takingly
beautiful and poignant account of his battle with bipolar disorder
(manic depression). He contrasts a depiction of his descent into
depression and madness with the narrative innocence of his
Victim of Dreams can help others to understand what it is like
to develop, have and/or survive a severe and enduring mental health
condition. More than anything else service users want empathy:
Manuals and guides are essential, good medical support crucial,
medication crucial of course, but those with serious MH conditions
are so plagued by feeling misunderstood and isolated that empathy
is the key. Exploring in anecdotal and lay terms the genetic and
environmental genesis of the disorder in me, the book is written in
a highly professional literary style, including vivid memoir and
especially penetrating accounts of depression and manic delusion -
drawn largely from journals kept at the time and therefore vivid in
their evocation of mania and depression - and is a new kind of
survivor book that eschews "misery" for memory and asks, again and
again, searching questions about the nature of our lives, minds,
memory and capacity to endure what is, after all, a part of
ourselves seemingly set to destroy another, more benign part.
The book is in three parts or "lives." The first part is my
innocence, when the illness lies dormant but shadowing. In the
second part, I wrestle with madness as the illness reveals itself.
Coming from a more balanced and objective viewpoint, in the final
part I review both having brought myself back. I can now show
myself as someone different, neither the innocent nor the madman,
and importantly not the person I have been accused of being.
About the Author
I am 49, an expatriate Canadian with a background in the arts,
now working in the voluntary sector in Wales as a mental health
information and research worker. I was diagnosed with bipolar
disorder in 2002. My lifelong experience as a published
writer/author has equipped me ideally to write an insightful
literary account of my life leveraged to the impact upon it of the
illness, my eventual diagnosis and coda heralding my recovery.
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