Authors: Kathy Brandt and Max Maddox

Publisher: Monkshood Press

ISBN-10: 0989141403

ISBN-13: 978-0989141406

Max Maddox was a promising student at a prestigious liberal arts college when he began to exhibit behavior that was unacceptable, dangerous, and counterproductive to his ambitions. Diagnosed as bipolar (a term that is becoming all-too familiar), he and his family were ushered into the mental health system. It was a revolving door experience.

Kathy Brandt, Max’s mother, never gave up on him. Not only did she show up every time there was another crisis – at Grinell, in Chicago, in New York – at a hospital, police station, or friend’s house – she championed his progress out of that downwardly-spiraling world. Kathy, who is an author of the Hannah Sampson Underwater Investigation Series (mysteries), became a member and then a leader in NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health, in Colorado Springs. Max graduated, was accepted into the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, won awards, and exhibited his work. He became a museum curator and a teacher.

Max is in recovery. That doesn’t mean he’s cured.

This book written by the mother and son is a testimony to familial love. Their interwoven stories are told in alternate chapters. Max writes brilliant prose, some parts of it impossible to understand. It contains the familiar, but evokes his convoluted, topsy-turvy perception of who and where he is. Then Kathy explains from her viewpoint what he has just written about. While admitting her fears, she documents the steps taken to get help for him and the limits of that help. She pushes him from goal to goal. Max gets better, then worse, then better again. Then worse. Eventually, a reckoning with the illness becomes apparent, the only way to go is to go through it, medications and all. He emerges more-or-less intact, still dependent on meds, but able to produce art and participate in the art community.

There is no peace, however, with the health care system. While we have amazing tools to help us understand the brain, we have few facilities left and scant resources to support the practice of professional experts who could work with sufferers of mental illness on a long term basis. Not only does the stigma of mental illness remain, but most families cannot do what Kathy and her husband are able to do for Max.

Follow Here To Purchase Walks on the Margins, a Story of Bipolar Illness

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