Drowning in the Seas of Mental Illness is the autobiography of Bipolar Barbie. It illustrates the struggle of living with chronic mental illness and navigating the waters of a severely inadequate mental health care system. Drowning explains the day by day journey of someone experiencing mental illness for the first time and the gruelling process of getting a diagnosis and learning to live with a disease that kills over 1 million people a year world wide. It is a an inspirational personal memoir that delves deeply into the mind and psychology of a young woman who refuses to give up fighting for the life she deserves.
Bipolar Barbie gives a creative, raw and honest take on living with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). She documents her journey in the seas of mental illness in a series of short stories signed off by each different Barbie she feels represents the state of her mood at the time.
This book follows her personal journey from the death of her best friends mother and mentor, to the downward spiral she experiences during her second year of law school. She knows her life will never be the same again. She battles homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, grief and depression all whilst trying to keep her life and career together. She explores her feelings and emotions in imaginative short stories that represent the trials and tribulations someone must overcome to help themselves out of a dark place.
This book dives deep into the real life struggles someone with complex mental illnesses first experiences before being correctly diagnosed. She explores the uncertainty and fear of the unknown future ahead of her in this compelling depiction of her personal struggles that many can relate to. The rollercoaster ride of mania and depression is portrayed through diary entries that chronicle the everyday life of someone suffering from mental illness and the stigma that comes with it.
When asked why she talks about her mental health so openly and honest she simply responds "It never occurred to me not to!" She also believes that talking about the stigma surrounding mental illness is not productive. She does not want to bring attention to the fact that it is normal to shun and stigmatise sufferers of an "invisible illness". "I want people to know what it is really like to be me and struggle every day to find the will to live. Understanding is the only way to truly obliviate the stigma"
In this coming of age diary she questions the expectation on young adults to succeed and the neglect to consider the wellbeing of individuals in that equation. Finding the courage to reach out for help is only the first step in reaching that illusive place called recovery. What follows is a gruelling process of therapy, medication and doctors appointments. A undertaking not many understand or could possibly comprehend.
She honours her influencer roots by including photos to accompany each diary entry to represent the often diverse gap between how someone looks and how they really feel.
She metaphorically peels back the skin of her image to reveal the demons and battles she fights within. Wrestling with her mind to gain control of her thoughts. She grapples with the possibility that she will never be normal again.
This book aims to open up the conversation about mental health concerns and help others find the words to describe what they feel in order to promote effective dialogue that aids in suicide prevention.