"I didn't tell anyone that I was going to Santa Fe to kill myself."
On the outside, Terri Cheney was a highly successful, attractive Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer. But behind her seemingly flawless façade lay a dangerous secret—for the better part of her life Cheney had been battling debilitating bipolar disorder and concealing a pharmacy's worth of prescriptions meant to stabilize her moods and make her "normal."
In bursts of prose that mirror the devastating highs and extreme lows of her illness, Cheney describes her roller-coaster life with shocking honesty—from glamorous parties to a night in jail; from flying fourteen kites off the edge of a cliff in a thunderstorm to crying beneath her office desk; from electroshock therapy to a suicide attempt fueled by tequila and prescription painkillers.
With Manic, Cheney gives voice to the unarticulated madness she endured. The clinical terms used to describe her illness were so inadequate that she chose to focus instead on her own experience, in her words, "on what bipolar disorder felt like inside my own body." Here the events unfold episodically, from mood to mood, the way she lived and remembers life. In this way the reader is able to viscerally experience the incredible speeding highs of mania and the crushing blows of depression, just as Cheney did. Manic does not simply explain bipolar disorder—it takes us in its grasp and does not let go.
In the tradition of Darkness Visible and An Unquiet Mind, Manic is Girl, Interrupted with the girl all grown up. This harrowing yet hopeful book is more than just a searing insider's account of what it's really like to live with bipolar disorder. It is a testament to the sharp beauty of a life lived in extremes.
About the Author
Having specialized in intellectual property and entertainment law at several prominent Los Angeles firms, Terri Cheney now devotes her talents to the cause of mental illness. She was named a member of the board of the California Bipolar Foundation and the Community Advisory Board of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program. She is also the founder of a weekly support group at UCLA’s Semel Institute. She lives in Los Angeles.
“Cheney’s chilling account of her struggle with bipolar disorder brilliantly evokes the brutal nature of her disease...Edgy, dark and often cynical, MANIC is not an easy book to read, but it has heart and soul to spare.”
“Written in episodic chapters that mimic the ups and downs of bipolar depression—hypomania, mania, depression—Cheney’s book is a gut-churning ride.”
— Los Angeles Times
“[a] gritty, vibrant, memoir brings this chaotic frenzy to life...through disaster and despair to end in hope. ”
— Peter C Whybrow MD author A Mood Apart
“This is a poignant and compelling memoir ...The writing is outstanding, the story is gripping.”
— Dr. Lori Altshuler, Director of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program
“Cheney brilliantly brings us along on her haunting and riveting journey of bipolar disorder. ...MANIC is extremely powerful.”
— Andy Behrman, author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania
“Filled with gorgeous writing...Echoes of William Styron abound.”
— Demitri F. Papolos. M.D. and Janice Papolos, authors of The Bipolar Child
“[Manic is] more than a train-wreck tearjerker, the memoir draws strength from salient observations…startlingly lucid descriptions.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Cheney...writes with passionate clarity about depression and the lure of suicide but with especially keen intensity about mania...”
— Boston Globe
“Superb...Cheney’s remarkable chronicle of her painful odyssey is as eloquent as it is brave. It is also profoundly necessary, both for her and for us.”
— Providence Journal
“Amazing and powerful...[MANIC] forces the reader into Cheney’s bipolar world, into her deep and fearful depressions mixed with her giddy, high-flying manic moods.”
— Orange County Register