Terri Cheney has specialized in intellectual property and entertainment law. During her long career she has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones and also Universal Studio and Columbia pictures. She gives all her time now to the cause of mental illness. Cheney is a member of the Community Advisory Board of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Programme, and founded a weekly community support group at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute. Her home is in Los Angeles.
Manic is a powerful yet funny memoir about Terri Cheney who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
The opening page begins with Cheney discussing why she was planning on travelling to Santa Fe: “I didn’t tell anyone I was going to Santa Fe to kill myself. I figured that was more information than people needed, plus it might interfere with my travel plans if anyone found out the truth.”
As the story moves on, Cheney paints a very clear picture of what this illness is like. She describes it so cleverly saying that the only thing that usually kept her going was the thought of ending her life. We travel with Cheney in her life as she makes suicide attempts in an extreme effort to stop feeling the way she does.
She describes one of these attempts: “Twenty-five minutes later, and three-quarters of the way through my stockpile, I no longer felt the pain, inside or out. My head started nodding in tacit submission, but I slapped my cheeks and chewed my tongue and dug my nails into my palms until the pain startled me awake again.”
It is difficult to believe that this woman was so manic. Cheney worked as a highly successful Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer. At work she appeared normal and level-headed but behind closed doors there was another side to her - a woman who would sometimes be flying fourteen kites off the edge of a cliff and then to being a manic depressive who would cry and obsess about suicide.
I loved the way in which Terri wrote her memoir. Words seem to flow effortlessly off the page in a style that I call fine literature. Her descriptions are so accurate they draw you in and leave you wanting more. It really does help the reader get a better understanding of this illness which is so moving to read about. Also some parts of this account makes you laugh.
A vibrant and haunting journey of bipolar disorder.
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