Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Madness: A Bipolar Life
  • Alternative view 1 of Madness: A Bipolar Life
  • Alternative view 2 of Madness: A Bipolar Life

Madness: A Bipolar Life

4.3 91
by Marya Hornbacher

See All Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0618754458

ISBN-13: 9780618754458

Pub. Date: 04/09/2008

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

An astonishing dispatch from inside the belly of bipolar disorder, reflecting major new insights

When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I


An astonishing dispatch from inside the belly of bipolar disorder, reflecting major new insights

When Marya Hornbacher published her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, she did not yet have the piece of shattering knowledge that would finally make sense of the chaos of her life. At age twenty-four, Hornbacher was diagnosed with Type I rapid-cycle bipolar, the most severe form of bipolar disorder.

In Madness, in her trademark wry and utterly self-revealing voice, Hornbacher tells her new story. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, she takes us inside her own desperate attempts to counteract violently careening mood swings by self-starvation, substance abuse, numbing sex, and self-mutilation. How Hornbacher fights her way up from a madness that all but destroys her, and what it is like to live in a difficult and sometimes beautiful life and marriage—where bipolar always beckons—is at the center of this brave and heart-stopping memoir.

Madness delivers the revelation that Hornbacher is not alone: millions of people in America today are struggling with a variety of disorders that may disguise their bipolar disease. And Hornbacher's fiercely self-aware portrait of her own bipolar as early as age four will powerfully change, too, the current debate on whether bipolar in children actually exists.

Ten years after Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind, this storm of a memoir will revolutionize our understanding of bipolar disorder.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.92(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Cut: November 5, 1994 1

Part I The Goatman: 1978 11 What They Know: 1979 14 Depression: 1981 19 Prayer: 1983 20 Food: 1984 22 The Booze under the Stove: 1985 23 Meltdown: 1988 26 Escapes: Michigan, 1989 35 Minneapolis: 1990 37 California: 1990 39 Minneapolis: 1991 41 Washington, D.C.: 1992 44 1993 45 1994 45 Full Onset: 1995 47

Part II The New Life: 1996 53 The Diagnosis: April 1997 59 The Break: July 1997, Nine A.M. 71 Unit 47: Same Day 73 Tour: January 1998 82 Hypomania: July 1998 88 Jeremy: Later That Summer 93 Therapy: 1999 106 Losing It: Winter 1999 112 Crazy Sean: June 2000 114 Oregon: August 2000 121 Day Treatment: Late August 2000 133 Attic, Basement: Fall 2000 141 Valentine’s Day: 2001 149 Coming to Life: Summer 2001 152 Jeff: Fall 2001 155 The Good Life: Summer 2002 159 The Magazine: November 2002 163 Fall 2003 168

Part III The Missing Years 175 Hospitalization #1: January 2004 175 Hospitalization #2: April 2004 181 Hospitalization #3: July 2004 186 Hospitalization #4: October 2004 189 Hospitalization #5: January 2005 192 Hospitalization #6: April 2005 196 Hospitalization #7: July 2005 202 Release: August 2005 207

Part IV Fall 2006 221 Winter 2006 242 Spring 2007 248 Summer 2007 258 Epilogue 273 Bipolar Facts 281 my bipolar facts 284 Useful Websites 285 Useful Contacts 291 Research Resources 293 Bibliography 294 Acknowledgments

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Madness 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 91 reviews.
KCCamilles More than 1 year ago
I do not read a whole lot. I randomly grabbed this book off the shelf while waiting for my friends to get done at the store. I read a page or two in the middle, sat down, kept reading, then ran off and had to buy it and spent the rest of my weekend visiting my friends in Arizona, reading this book.
This woman's journey is encredible. It will give you insight to what those "crazy" people are going through that you run into in life. Sometimes, perhaps those people that we think are angry, rude, scary, neurotic...perhaps they really are still normal people inside and we could be more understanding to what some people are going through.
Excellent book!!
stacethegreat More than 1 year ago
As a bipolar patient myself, the author expresses the horror of what it is sometimes like in our minds. It was great for me to read that I am not the only person who feels like this, and I would encourage others to read this book who want a true picture of how graphic a bipolar life can be. However, I don't think I would want my mother to read this book. I wouldn't want her to see how much I suffer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
About ten years ago I was in a very dark space and knew I needed proffesional help.I suffered with depression most of my life but going deeper into this"BLACK HOLE"was turning into pure hell for me.After filling out about a five yes or no questionaire with one of them asking if mental illness ran in my family which the answer was a yes,the phycihatrist of course wanted to know who and what.One brother diagnost as schitzo.and the other,better known then as manic depressive(bi-polar).This is when another section of PURE HELL began.With in five minutes of when my appt.began I had been diagnosed as bi-polar also!!She threw me into one pycotic drug after another because each one made me so zoned out that I could hardly keep my eyes opened on my drive to work each morning and by now,not only was my depression not dimenitioning I started to become parinoid as well.Even after pleading with her that I felt the diagnosis had to be wrong it was like in order to save face she would not budge.Had I'd stayed with her and not found my present doctor and gotten the correct diagnosis(severe chronic depression)and medication,well I don't even go there.It's so scurchel to inform yourself and if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't!!!Reading this book then would have saved myself and family from so much heartache and terror.Beware of the quacks out there because there are alot of them in this particular field!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Marya Hornbacher's first book Wasted and was blown away by her honesty and willness to share her self-inflecting suffering with readers. But her second book has made me look differently at this writer. I too struggle to cope with Bi-polar disorder. Her 'suffering' might appear to be illness to the 'well' but to those who share in her fight to remain amoungest the sane i find her selfish in her self destructive behavior!!! Her book might be a true relflection of the innervoice of the disease, but those of us who are truly fighting are not struggling to stay out of a mental hospital 6 times a year!!! This is a completely exagerated depiction of what the average person struggling with a mood dissorder deals with. My only fear is that people will take her book as the truth of the many mentally ill and not the exagerated story of one sick woman.
Path61 More than 1 year ago
An excellent view into the workings of the thoughts and emotions of someone suffering from BiPolar Disorder.
Sn0flake More than 1 year ago
After reading WASTED by Marya Hornbacher a touching memoir of her early struggles with anorexia and bulimia, Marya became one of my most favorite non-fiction authors. As someone who has struggled with a rare form of bulimia for four years (purging through over-exercising rather than throwing up), anorexia for three years and poor body image for an entire lifetime, I found her memoir to be enlightening and profound. Immediately I purchased MADNESS, read most of it before unfortunately leaving it on a plane, then bought it once again beacuse I absoutely HAD to know what became of Mayra. Through her detailed account of her life with a rare and most dangerous form of Bi-polar disorder, the reader really feels for Marya and comes to know her as a friend and worries about her as do her own friends and family members. What I love most about Marya Hornbacher's writing is that she writes about her own real life experiences and combines this insight with tons of reasearch from articles, books and professionals. Her stories, struggles and words can speak for themeselves as far as interest and literary merit, but if you are a person living with any of the conditions she is writing about, her books are more than just memoirs, they have based on facts, studies and thorough investigation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having bipolar can really stink at times. After denying my diagnosis for years and flying into mania for 2 years, I finally took hold of my illness and started learning more about it. At first this book was making me kind of manic. I slowed down my reading to keep the mania at bay. Marya's experiences made mine look tame! I really had fun laughing at her candidness. Reading about her psych ward visits made me look back and laugh at my own. Only someone who has been where she's been can see the utter hilarity of the situation...the hospital gowns....the really weird patients who make you feel normal....the looking-forward-to-lukewarm-decaf-coffee attitude that gets you through the day. It's not too funny at the time, but it sure is funny once you are home!! This is a good read for those with bipolar. I am letting my family know that they should all read this book, too. They will see that they are not the only family that needs to deal with a loved one's mental illness.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing a must read for anyone who has a loved one or family member who has mental health issues . Perhaps even them selves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thankful i am healthy after that read it was good
Suebee129 More than 1 year ago
Eye opening
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing i couldnt put it down too intereting...now just wish they would put some of her othe books on my nook.
Katie-_ More than 1 year ago
I have recommended this book to many family members & friends. The author opens up her life for the world to see what she has been through in her life with Bipolar. She is a professional who was able to accomplish the things she wanted. This book tremendously, positively impacted my life on a personal level.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive had bi polar for a while but am finally trying to educate myself on it and stumbled across this book Very enlightening and easy to read with a gentle sense of humor. Highly recommend it to anyone and i loaned it to my boss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have suffered with bipolar disorder for many years and have struggled to obtain a book for others to read...in hopes that it would fully describe my illness. I have finally found it. In Madness, Marya uses her unique experiences to perfectly describe the bipolar life. She shares incredibly personal moments, makes many confessions and keeps you wanting more. There is no one else, in my mind, more deserving to represent us...in both our struggles and strength. I suggest this beautiful memoir to anyone who is confused or curious as to what a bipolar life entails, especially when madness comes knocking at the door. Marvelous, Marya. I adore her and you will too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago