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The Molecules That Surround Us

The Molecules That Surround Us

4.8 15
by Jill Treadwell

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35-year old Jill Treadwell has her bipolar under control until she is laid off from her job at a Contemporary Art museum losing her health insurance and medications. After her unemployment benefit amount is determined she has no choice but to pack up her apartment and move in with her mother and her mother’s new husband. As her medications dwindle away she


35-year old Jill Treadwell has her bipolar under control until she is laid off from her job at a Contemporary Art museum losing her health insurance and medications. After her unemployment benefit amount is determined she has no choice but to pack up her apartment and move in with her mother and her mother’s new husband. As her medications dwindle away she begins to head down a dark path of depression and mania that leads to self-medication with drugs and alcohol. The description of the symptoms of mental illness is rendered with alarming accuracy as she hits bottom with a life changing DUI. After her arrest her depression carries her into an inhumane place of despair and hopelessness. After a thwarted attempt at suicide we follow her tragic and comedic struggles to find health insurance with her pre-existing bipolar disorder meeting a motley crew of her friends and supporters along the way.

Her "journey" starts with the vivid and wild friends she has when she is not mentally well. As she begins to repair her mind we meet her therapist, counselors and friends in recovery. Jill's mother plays an important roll by keeping things light with her humor and naivety. Her father’s gruff, uneducated deportment leads to some laughs as well, with his strong spirit and fumbling dedication to his daughter.

Fortunately the COBRA subsidy is granted to those who have lost their jobs in this nightmare economy. Jill is back in business, seeing her doctors and resuming her medications. Therapy and counseling are helping her see there is a way out of her challenging circumstances if she can just hold on and trust the help that is being provided to her by friends and professionals. Court appointed trips to AA and group therapy are another outlet for humor and parody. Things are starting to take form for Jill as her head begins to clear and she starts to understand the sobering reality of her multiple court dates and related obligations.

On the road back to mental health an old boyfriend resurfaces with issues of his own. Russ is also an alcoholic who has been diagnosed as bipolar. Jill feels she can help him with his struggles as she has just emerged from the worst four months of her life. Jill and Russ attended film school together and he never could get her out of his mind after they separated. He made a film about her and it is this film that brings the two together. This bizarre coupling of two psychologically challenged individuals leads to an endearing romance built on creativity and an understanding that surpasses the conventional boundaries of romantic love. We join them through their whirlwind courtship and last minute wedding that is both comic and touching. All Jill ever wanted was a life to call her own and the couples' love brings them to a place of super absorbent paper towels and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Breaking through the challenges of finding health insurance and subsequent recovery from alcoholism, The Molecules That Surround Us chronicles a journey resulting in love, sanity and a “real life.”

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The Molecules That Surround Us 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be an extremely relevant and inspirational read. The book is written by a bipolar woman who losses her job as the result of the economy collapsing. She ultimately looses her health coverage and not medicated, spirals out of control. We then follow her awkwardly, at times comically pick up the pieces of her shattered life. The book is not only extremely entertaining but is extremely current and valid given the current economic and political climate in our country. I can only imagine this is but one account in a sea of people affected by the greed machine in Washington and on Wall Street.
VTWX12 More than 1 year ago
Haven't read it yet but I got the free sample and it drew me in. Just purchased it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading the reviews I decided to give it a shot! Sounds like a good read and I can't wait to get started
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Top 50 Amazon Reviewer Grady Harp describes the book as follows: `Trying to find a way to get through life without wanting to die all the time.', May 25, 2012 By Grady Harp This review is from: The Molecules That Surround Us (Kindle Edition) Jill Treadwell leaps forward into contemporary literature with this intense examination and confession of an insider's view of life as a bipolar individual whose life is fragilely pasted together with antipsychotic medications, alcoholism, self-destructive behavior. Though there are several books - either memoir in nature or novels - about bipolar (manic/depressive) victims, few can match the visceral realism of being placed behind the eyes of one who is affected and see the world as it appears to the dismembered synapses in the manner that Jill Treadwell escorts us. This is writing that explodes off the page, rambles on in disjointed content and distorted realities in a way that allows the reader to truly understand the bipolar personality. Jill Treadwell is thirty-five at book's beginning and her usual managed bipolar disorder is dismembered when she is laid off her job - a fact that is made worse by being placed in a situation where she has no health insurance and thus no further therapy and no medications. To quiet the mania she turns to alcohol and any drugs available on the street and in her excesses she manages to be arrested for a DUI. A turning point! She attempts suicide (something always on the backburner for her), moves in with her kind but slightly zany mother and her new rather bizarre stepfather, finds a lawyer courtesy of her mother, and in the fear of being jailed she begins to attend AA meetings every day, returns to her therapist who attempts to control her bipolar state with meditative biofeedback behavior in an attempt to make up for the lack of medications she so desperately needs, and she manages. Finally COBRA enters the picture (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) and Jill has access to her meds and that fact coupled with her daily attendance at AA meetings (and all the associated strange friends she makes there) she manages to not only avoid jail for her DUI but also is able to connect with an old flame whom she marries and finds a life pattern that keeps her as proximal to normality as possible, given her diagnosis. Throughout this book Jill Treadwell writes in a way that defines the manner in which she sees the world: 'There is barely a fissure in my self-loathing, paranoia, and voices in my head but I try to focus on what people are saying. I am trying to find a way to relate so I can crack open and a human being can emerge, one that I can control both mentally and physically. One that won't do things I would never do. One that can get through life without want to die all the time.' Even in an attempt to write a résumé to describe herself in order to find a job once she has been laid off she manages to write, `My person finds meaning, metaphor, superstition, an the rhythm of my next movement in every moment. I see the outside world as compartments. Physical objects become threatening with the impending psychological tantrum of not understanding their meaning when they talk at me with both urgency and aggravation. Sidewalks and walking signs, they double question my treatment of them.' For this reader Jill Treadwell's ability to write with such piercing clarity the working of a bipolar mind as well as the mindset and behavior of an alcoholic ranks her among the finest descriptors. That is not to say this is a depressing book. Quite the opposite! This book is brimming over with hilarious moments, even the potential tragedies are remolded to share the human comedy aspect of a life misguidedly directed. We see her world as she sees it, feel the angst as she tries to cope with it, and celebrate the victories she finally attains with complete entertainment always present. At an important turning point or dénouement she writes, `Things are falling int place. I am beginning to accept my age, my bipolar, that I am unemployed and living with my mother and have not even a hint of a boyfriend, much less a husband. I instead focus on the fact that I have people who love me and some pretty amazing friends. Maybe that's all I am going to get and maybe that's all I need. I begin to further the attributes of my bicycle riding eccentric spinsterhood; it begins to be a fun identity. I wear bizarre sundresses and sunglasses and let peculiar sentences and concepts roll off my tongue.' This is an important book (especially in light of the current mess of a health crisis we are witnessing and an economic stalemate that injures us all), but it is also a very well written book. It could use some fine -tuning in the editorial department, but that is minor. In the end we love this goofy lady and are left cheering with her. Grady Harp, May 12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
well worth the 2.99
r chartier More than 1 year ago
This book was written in a really interesting way. Each sentence performed multiple functions. It depicted the mental state of the author, showed her perception of the world and an outside perspective of how the world saw her. I always enjoyed James Joyce for this style of writing. Few things strike me the way this book has. I have always maintained that Girl, Interupted is the most brilliant use of punctuation ever used. It describes an entire story with that single comma. There is a lot of thickness in the writing of this book as well. I would recommend reading it, maybe twice because it can be read in different ways. I read Finnegans Wake probably 20 times and it has read different each time. I think this book is probably good for 2 reads. Not on par with Joyce but what is. Great book
Gregory Kollar More than 1 year ago
What started as a search for a book on alcoholism ended up being a really informative engaging entertaining and at times homorous story of one young lady`s story about alcoholism, depression, this countries problems with it`s health care system and even uplifting journey. Highly recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the subject of alcoholism/depression... unexpectedly humorous uplifting adventure-GK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just an all around good read. Really lends some insight into what it must be like to deal with dual diagnosis. Really Illuminating!
MarthaM More than 1 year ago
The Molecules That Surround Us Bipolar disorder (manic depression to some) runs in my family, so I was very interested in reading Jill Treadwell's book about her experience with this devastating mental illness. Jill is typical of many people with bipolar disorder - creative, energetic,highly intelligent but at the mercy of her brain chemistry. The story that she has written is intriguing, brutally honest, and a terrifying indictment of our health care system. Jill is in her thirties when out of the blue, she loses her job. She has very little money saved, is not eligible for unemployment and cannot afford the COBRA extended health insurance policy that will allow her to stay on her very expensive medication. Jill is lucky enough to have a mother who loves and understands her and who lets her move home. However, once off her medications, she goes into a full blown manic episode with behavior that would be funny if it were not also self destructive and dangerous to others. I found her story compelling, tragic, joyful and heartbreaking. On the downside, the book needs a little refining and editing to be its best.
Videoart-Collective More than 1 year ago
The health care system in the US is failing It's citizens. The right to health should not be afforded only to the 1%. The right to life in the US is a cornerstone of this country and is being ignored to coddle the wealthy. This book shows in great detail the aftermath of a bipolar woman who gets laid off after the economy collapses and subsequently looses her healthcare insurance. The woman is bipolar and spirals out of control unable to get needed medication and treatment. She is unable to attain healthcare due to her condition. We watch her pick up the pieces of her shattered life, find love and confidence and overcome the myriad of problems and complications in her life. In this case it was truly inspirational how someone could overcome such obstacles with the odds stacked so poorly in her favor. Unfortunately millions of stories in the US don't end so well. Health care bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy and foreclosure and the situation is only getting worse. I truly enjoyed this book..I wish some politicians would read it and gain some perspective on what they are doing to their citizens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although Jill was killing herself she was doing it with a certain understated glamour usually only found in the memoirs of rock stars and movie stars. The book really makes you appreciate the suffering that someone goes through when they are extremely ill yet smart enough to realize it and judge themselves. Jill is definitely not the bipolar person that you see talking to themselves on the street with no idea of what's going on around her. Quite the opposite in fact. Her intellect and creativity are in constant opposition to her disease. Much of the writing, at least the parts that were representative of mania were that wonderful type of writing that only a disturbed person can really pull off. It really gives an accurate depiction of the world through her eyes. There's a real high fashion to the writing and she has a way of describing the ordinary in a way that makes it appear extraordinary. Few can capture nothingness in a way that this author did as represented in this section. "DIRT ACCUMULATES. Oil Accumulates. So do plaque and tartar. Cysts, tumors, polyps, milia, moles, nails grow. Hair needs to be cut, shaved, waxed, blown, set gelled, moussed, sprayed, fluffed and slicked. Cleaning, exfoliating, moisturizing. Teeth need to be brushed. Flossed. Mouthwash. Powder, blush, mascara, lip gloss, occasionally shadow and liner. Tampons, Vacuum, dust, wash and dry pots, pans, dishes, silverware. Tupperware. Wash floors, sinks, counters, toilets. Dogs and cats need to be fed and let out twice a day, maybe more. Spinach, strawberries, fish, water, medicine, vitamins need to be ingested. Bowels need to be moved. Toilet paper, paper towels, sponges, bleach, Windex, tissues, soap for the kitchen, soap for the bathroom, soap for the face and body. Q-tips. Garbage cans need to be brought out then brought back in again. Rake leaves, mow the lawn, weed whack, weed. Change the oil, fill the gas. Tune-up. Fuses. Spark plugs and alternators. Windshield wipers, fluids. Getting in and out of the car. Locking and unlocking the car and house. Enter stores. Say Hello, Fine, and good bye. Exit store with plastic bags, forgetting the recyclable bags at home. Do this in the rain. Numbers. Excel spreadsheets. Ringing phones. Carpet stains. Appointments to be scheduled and rescheduled. Signing your signature and writing or typing your name and address for the rest of your life. Wash clothes. Fold. Body needs to run and lift weights minimum of three times a week. Microwave on high for three minutes. Preheat, toast. Boil Saute. Simmer And I cant get out of bed." The mundane and ordinary described in a way that only someone truly disconnected from the rest of the world could describe. -Absolute brilliance! Maybe purple prose
tiffanydavis2 More than 1 year ago
The Molecules that Surround Us, by Jill Treadwill, is a story that really takes you into the mind of a person with Bipolar Disorder. Jill Treadwill suffers from this and depends on medications to simply make it through each day, but she is forced to ration her medications and move in with her mom and her mom's new husband when she loses her job and can no longer afford the medications that she needs. Once Jill runs out of medication, she spirals into a manic episode full of self destructive behavior that just continues to ruin her. Jill Treadwill tells the story from the thoughts of the someone going through the life that she was living. She allows the book to be written in a disconjoined way that really gives it's reader a feel for how she was feeling and how this disorder effected her everyday life. I highly recommend this book to all readers. I absolutely loved it, and look forward to reading more by this author!
mrsnancysorensen More than 1 year ago
Whoa.  Reading The Molecules That Surround Us is like taking a rollercoaster ride to hell without a seatbelt.  For anyone who depends on medications to help with a mental disorder, you will understand exactly what kind of hellish journey the author endured when she lost her job.  Having bipolar disorder, when Jill lost her health insurance, she tried to ration out her medication to last as long as possible.  Unfortunately, Jill was forced to move in with her mom and stepfather while she struggled to find a job, any job, that offered health insurance.  She even tried a job to make enough money to pay for COBRA, but without luck.   As the medication dwindled and Jill's disorder took over, she started drinking to ease the craziness that her life was becoming.  She was arrested for DUI, and her life spiraled even farther in to chaos.  At times the descriptions of how Jill felt were a bit confusing, but it made sense in that she was being true to how she felt at the time.  It was like a bad dream.   A nightmare is terrifying, and all kinds of crazy things happen, but it doesn't have to be cohesive like if it was a movie.  It made her disorder feel real.  Her terror felt real.  Wanting to die felt very real.  And at any moment I felt like she was going to fly out of the rollercoaster and fall to her death.   Jill's ride took crazy ups and downs and zigs and zags, but with the love of her parents and the rekindled love of an old boyfriend, her ride slows down and we are able to see that she has survives, and then thrives as she takes the necessary steps to start over again.    I am giving The Molecules That Surround Us 3 1/2 stars because it needs a bit more polishing.  This is a very moving story, and with some professional editing, it could be a 4-5 star book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author in this book has turned herself inside out and exposed every dark crevice in her soul. This book breathes honesty and comedy seeps in fairly frequently. The writing style is thick and layered and brilliantly depicts the mental state of the author throughout her myriad of manic stages. The book is very introspective at the same time assessing the outside world through the author's eyes in ways filtered through her varying mental states. It's much deeper than I had anticipated it to be. Really pleasantly surprised.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago