*** An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Key Redfield Jamison, 1996
A fellow author recommended this book to me for research into my bi-polar character in Muffin Man. Ten days later I had finished reading the book, and that included shipping time from Amazon. It was that fascinating.
As the subtitle states, this is a memoir. Jamison not only suffers from what she calls manic depressive illness, as opposed to bi-poloar disorder, but is a professof of Psychiatry at the John Hopkins School of Medicine. So she is both a patient and a doctor, an expert by virtue of both extensive study and personal experience.
This is not a clinical book about the disease, it's a book about one woman's experience with the disease, albeit a very educated woman. As such, it was an invaluable resource for me and of immeasurable help in tweaking my character.
As I set out to write the novel and it became apparent that a significant supporting character would be bi-polar, I wrote intuitively based on my past conversations and direct experience with Dangerous Dan, my first-hand source when it comes to such things. It occured to me in December that perhaps I should broaden my understanding of the disease beyond one set of (very amusing) anecdotal data points, and thus the reading.
There is much to commend this book. It's and entertaining, engaging, informative, and unexpectedly moving account. Check it out.