cutting edge: brian’s story

(2001, 53:18min)

Brian Davis had a successful career in advertising journalism once; the documentary begins with him homeless in London, drunk and asking mates for money so that he can go to Paris to interview Roman Polanski. His rather rah English accent descended frequently into streams of invective. Brian, of course, is bipolar (mostly untreated) and alcoholic, poor chap. He scored 150 quid and literally ran to the Turk’s Head in Soho to drink it all. So much for Paris.

(Here be spoilers. Many spoilers. Actually, all the spoilers.)

Continue reading cutting edge: brian’s story

a-z challenge: c

Well now. Day 3 of the challenge and all I could think of for C, is a delicious and delightful thing that I cannot use, because I didn’t mark my blog as having adult content in the signup process. That’s fair enough,  but I was stumped. I did the c word crowdsourcing thing and friends mentioned calcium, coffee, chocolate,  caracals, chalk circles … good stuff, but I was struggling to join love and a word count with those topics. And the answer was right there all the time, blowing smoke in my face. Cigarettes!

C for caveat: if I had it all to do again, I’d never start smoking. If mixed episodes didn’t kick my ass every time wellbutrin gets me off them, I’d quit. Even my psychiatrist told me not to quit at this stage. Blah blah smoking kills blah breastfeeding blah blah cancer and also, cost. Those are all utterly valid and so kids, if you don’t smoke now, don’t ever do it. Use the money on sex and rock n roll instead.

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the bipolar is not the only fruit linkdump

Numerous links and one single poem.
Continue reading the bipolar is not the only fruit linkdump

Your Voice In My Head – Emma Forrest

Another memoir by another female journalist, screenwriter etc – bipolar, addiction, self harm, suicide attempts … sadly familiar territory, right?

Mania flows like a river approaching a waterfall. Depression is a stagnant lake. There are dead things floating and the water has the same blue-black tinge as your lips. You stay completely still because you’re so afraid of what is brushing your leg (even though it could be nothing because your mind is already gone).

There’s a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw feel to this one, an intentional one, I think. New York, image conscious, boyfriends with catchy nicknames – that sort of thing. I can’t help comparing this book to Marya Hornbacher’s more universal and visceral Madness. 

Her ego comes through so sharply, it dulls the other details. Then again, mental illness (both the wreck and remission of it) is a self-absorbed thing. How could it be otherwise? Let me rather say that it is a deeply introspective book. Self aware too.

But then I have the luxury to find inspiration in the pain because I am a middle-class girl with a tight-knit family.

A thread running through the book is Emma’s (now deceased) therapist, Dr R, the beloved voice of reason.

You fell out of love with madness. That took self-awareness. And it took courage.”


I was disconcerted and interested to read this:

I sit back that night and say to myself, “That was properly mental. That’s borderline personality stuff and you don’t want to be that.”

… because I am ashamed to admit I’ve had similar thoughts myself. I’m sorry …

Halfway through the book I figure my ignorance of celebrity matters might be limiting my approach to the book (oh, she went out with Colin Farrell).

Meanwhile, the gossip blogs and tabloids catch wind of their relationship, and seem infuriated that Forrest — who is the same age as Farrell — is not as pretty or perfect as they think a movie-star girlfriend should be. They call her fat and ugly, among other things. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and she’ll take an overdose of Lithium :)” one particularly nasty commenter writes. 2011

That’s also the stage I start worrying, because things are going (too) well and I know happy endings don’t start halfway through books. And of course, it all falls apart. By then, I care, because her character has deepened and the ego edges have been smoothed.

I notice the hand cream by my bed says “Apply generously” and I say out loud, “Fuck you, hand cream!”

So, read it. Read it, because although it isn’t so much about bipolar as it is about Emma, it’s well written enough to be engaging eventually. And all of these young women with their memoirs, well … their stories are not over, just because their books are storyshaped.

“You absolutely deserve an explanation and you absolutely will not get one.”

“Life is futile,” says my new therapist, Michaela, “and no one gets out of it alive. There is only love.”

The Museum of Intangible Things – Wendy Wunder

This is a YA novel for the therapised generation. Hannah, the narrator is down with being respectful about mental illness, understanding addiction and so on.

We hate labels, but the doctors like to call it a thing that rhymes with hi-molar schmisdorder or zanic oppression.

She’s talking about Zoe, her best friend and the creator of the Museum of Intangible Things, who makes a new installation about an emotion every month, for her younger brother who has Aspergers. The two girls develop a system to help Zoe with her bipolar and its attendant psychosis.


If she was feeling too much like Pippi Longstocking— thoughts racing, larger than life, egotistical, invincible, frenzied—if she was feeling these things, she’d wear short stockings (socks), reminding her to slow down.

[…] When she was feeling the opposite, depressed and imagining dark scenarios that were far from the truth, when she felt like cement was filling her veins and she could barely get out of bed, she’d put on long socks, reminding her to be more like Pippi.

It’s well written and kindly written. No wonder Hannah is so aware and sensible; she has an addicted father who is divorced from her depressed mother, as well as the bipolar BFF and her autistic brother. The poor thing is an entrenched caregiver.

Its author called it Thelma and Louise for teenagers.


It isn’t as good as John Green’s stuff, but it’s very readable. JG is better at weaving issues into a story. Here, the diagnoses are constantly, blatantly on display and Zoe works her way through the symptoms of mania and depression. It’s like she aaalmost wrote a really good book. Hannah and Zoe are likeable though and there’s enough plot to keep you going. Read it if you have nothing else to do.

I learned a new word:

To doven is defined as an alternate spelling of daven, meaning to pray and worship in Judaism, sometimes while rocking.