Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Rock Steady by Ellen Forney

I grabbed this book because of a misapprehension. I knew that it was the follow-up to Forney's Marbles, a comics memoir of her struggle with bipolar disorder and how she came to find balance.

So, thought I, Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life will be either the story of how her life has changed since then -- either for good or bad, or probably both like all of us -- or maybe a more holistic look at her life from childhood on and how her disorder affected all of it.

I thought wrong.

Rock Steady is a resource book for bipolar people. It's laid out like comics, more or less -- less, frankly, with lots of hand-lettered paragraphs floating next to a borderless drawn image on most of the pages. It has eight chapters that focus on different things that you as a bipolar person need to have in your life to keep you stable and on an even keel, from sleep to therapy to medicine to people that support you.

(Forney has a silly acronym, and an odd little creature to embody it, for all of these things: SMEDMERTS, which stands for Sleep Meds Eat Doctor Mindfulness Exercise Routine Tools Support system.)

It includes several pages of resources at the end, and a whole lot of references in the middle: it's a book about a serious chronic medical condition, by a layman yes, but still something to be taken seriously and that has been studied by many for a long time.

My guess is that this is a great book if you are bipolar, and probably also if someone close to you is bipolar. Forney has lived this, and she has a smart, no-bullshit tone to her work and a cartoonist's eye for simplicity and clean lines.

If you are not bipolar, and are just someone who reads books all the way through because you started them looking for another Ellen Forney memoir, well, you will probably think it's a very useful thing for people who are not you. (Naming no names here.)

No comments:

Post a Comment