For most of her life, she had no idea what she was running from. With suicidal ideation leading her ever closer to the brink of disaster, Cynthia embarked upon a journey of discovery. A determined psychiatrist, medication, and therapy ultimately saved her life, as well as her marriage. After several false starts and medication side effects so debilitating many individuals would have given up rather than endure them, she learned that she can live life on the line.
Life on the line means Cynthia lives a stable, rational, emotionally predictable life, rather than soaring maniacally above the line, where she drives faster, talks louder, and takes appallingly dangerous risks, or plummeting below the line, where she hides, nearly paralyzed with terror and confusion, in the sanctuary of her bedroom.
Complicated by family members and a family history as complex as they come, Life Is Like a Line is ultimately the memoir of one woman's triumph over the myriad forces that inexplicably but inevitably worked to bring her to the brink of despair and disaster. Engrossing and enlightening, it offers an intimate peek into a fascinating mind and its triumph over itself.
|Publisher:||Silver Lining Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
What People are Saying About This
"This is a well detailed account of the painful journey on which analysis takes the most functional and yet disturbed in our society. I found Ms. Sabotka's stringing-description of her relationship with her brother and the long, painful closure that a parent's influential life (and death) can launch, to be cables of "Life Is Like A Line." Anyone considering traveling the road of psychoanalysis will benefit from hitching a ride with Cynthia Sabotka."--(Dr. Paul Friday, Chief, Clinical Psychology, UPMC Shadyside)
"Cynthia Sabotka captures the intensity and desperation of this brutal illness with emotional power, and her journey reminded me of my own struggle. While the descent into bipolar disorder is a harrowing one, it's crucial for people to read and understand this illness, which is so stigmatized."--(Andy Behrman, Author of Electroboy, A Memoir of Mania)
"I have read Cynthia's book. I thought it was an outstanding combination of insight and information. It was the most vivid description of living with a bi-polar illness I have ever read or heard. For someone who is trying to have a sense of what the illness is like, I can imagine no better resource. The story in the book is an exceptional journey. It provides, for the lay reader, a riveting account of a life filled with pain and joy. In the meantime the reader receives important information about a pervasive illness and its implications for the world of the person with bi-polar illness. I would strongly recommend the book."--(Michael McCartan, Executive Director, St. Clair County Community Mental Health Alliance)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This memoir is about one woman's genetic inheritance of bipolar disorder, and also her determination to break the cycle. Her story is deeply personal and utterly thorough. While I felt sympathy for her struggles and while I wanted to know how she intended to stop the pattern, the writing in the book was a little thick and wordy to me. I enjoyed her journal entries the best. They seemed to be more to the point and let her personality actually show. The other parts of the book I felt were very reference-like and could have used a good editor. Overall, I think the book is a book worth reading, especially if you or a loved one suffer from bipolar disorder. If you would like to read this book, please e-mail me and I will be happy to send it to you. (E-mail address is on profile page. First come, first serve.)QUOTE: "Yes, Mom, I know he is every expletive ever created. How about if we do something this week? We can go shopping and have lunch or something. Does that sound good?" I always go to my mother's room before I see my dad. If I don't, she will resent me for going to my father first, and that's another burden to carry. (pg. 113)
From the early years of her childhood, Cynthia Sabotka struggled with witnessing her parents' tumultuous arguments and contention. As she spent her formative years hiding from the screaming and discontent, she didn't realize that under it all lurked a mood disorder much like her mother's. Through her adolescence and young adult years, she opted to shut out these unfriendly feelings through the use of drugs and alcohol. Although that worked for a time, it was not the cure she had been hoping for, and eventually she left those things behind. As an adult, she struggled with mania and depression at unbelievable levels, but thought that her mindset was the result of severe stress and the anguish of losing her father. But the mental struggles never got better. Cynthia began to exhibit increasingly dangerous behavior along with crippling depression, despair, anxiety, fear and manic episodes of such great height that she felt as though no one could possibly relate to or understand her. As Cynthia's life continued to march forward in confusion, thestressors became more than she could handle, and she began to seek professional help. Initially, the doctor had trouble reading the writing on the wall, and help was not the immediate fix she hoped for. But as she began to open up and do research, Cynthia and her doctor learned the truth of her situation. Cynthia was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and began treatment, with several bumps along the way. As she describes her mental and physical reaction towards the diagnosis and the chemicals used to treat it, she begins to find the self that she once lost, and learns that living with the label "manic depressive" encompasses so much more than she ever could imagine. Written with courage and insight, this memoir of one woman's life through mental illness shines a light on the many who are afflicted, yet hidden in silence.This book captured the plight of individual with mental illness incredibly well. It is not a life of sunshine and roses, and I felt that the author really managed to convey the sense of loss, anger and confusion in a way that almost anyone could understand. Throughout the book the author's voice remains glaringly honest, and if at times I thought she was hostile, I can sympathize and understand that the mental forces she was dealing with were probably ripping her apart emotionally. I found it incredibly sad that she had to witness so much of her parents' unhealthy marriage and that even as a child she felt it was her responsibility to stop the fighting and soothe the wounded parties.At times, the book lapses into what I would call a journaling style, where the author seems to relive the events of her life and records her reactions and feelings. She describes times of hiding and trying to drown out the sounds of her parents' combat in the other room, and relates her feelings of low self worth and discomfort. These sections seemed very raw and powerful, though at times I felt I had a bit of trouble connecting to them with the proper emotional engagement. I think that taken as a whole, they really fleshed out the struggle and angst of what the author's life must have been like, and they are rooted in a great despair and loneliness that is not easy to ignore.I was really impressed with the indefatigable spirit of this author. She never succumbed to the tide that seemed to be slowly washing her away, choosing instead to face things in a way that left no room for shirking. This was a passionate and raging reflection that uncovered so much of the emotional side of this disorder, so much of the author's feelings of hesitancy and discord. But don't get me wrong, this book wasn't a canvas for weakness and self-pity. In fact, one of the things I admired most about this book was the author's ability to handle these emotions honestly. Throughout the narrative she remained steadfast, unwilling to fall down and play dead in relation to the problems she was facing both in her personal life and
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 48, Sabotka penned this memoir, subtitled: A Memoir of Moods, Medication, and Mania. Starting with her parents' courtship and marriage even before her own birth, Sabotka chronicles the dysfunction that threatened to overwhelm her family at every turn: her parents' hostile marriage, her mother's clear favoritism towards the first born child, her father's hair-trigger temper, her mother's nervous breakdown(s), and the list goes on and on. Reading the litany of unhappiness in Sabotka's childhood and even adulthood, it is a wonder that she didn't seek professional help sooner than she did. But after years of being the peacemaker and caretaker, she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and entered into the process of trying to balance herself. The book is told in both straightforward sections and in "journal entries" and focuses heavily on childhood and early adolescence rather than on Sabotka's journey once diagnosed.I found this incredibly difficult to read for a variety of reasons. The writing struck me as stilted and oftentimes overly analytical. I didn't like the convention of the journal entries as they came across as therapy exercises rather than actual journal entries of the times she was chronicling. Perhaps they were indeed culled from throughout her life but they rang false and felt contrived tossed into the book as they were. And oftentimes they weren't set off from the rest of the writing other than by their font, melding into the rest of the story so as to negate their efficacy and necessity. Perhaps this would have been better as a textbook than as a general interest memoir. Certainly the writing had a dry and informational feel to it rather than coming across as an in the moment memoir. Certain things Sabotka did in her writing reinforced this effect, such as referring to anything medical using the very stilted, proper medical diagnosis. It is far easier and more comfortable for a lay reader to come across "hypothyroidism" than long involved medical terminology--and frankly as that lay reader, also fairly uninteresting to have all possible drug interactions or physical side-effects chronicled. I'm not certain I gained any insight into a bipolar person, although I got more than I bargained for of Sabotka's incredibly dysfunctional upbringing, which, combined with a genetic predisposition perhaps easily explains her illness. Not a book I'd recommend, I really struggled hard to get through this one.
This book truly captured my attention from the start. It was very hard to put down until I had finished reading it. Not having had any personal experience with bi-polar disorder I found this book to be truly enlightening. The author courageously describes her highs and lows as she struggles to understand what is happening to her mental stability. I laughed and I cried and I admired her tenacity to continue on and look for answers and not give up. I highly recommend this book .