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The Molecules That Surround Us [Kindle Edition]

Jill Treadwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $27.95
Kindle Price: $2.99
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Book Description

35-year old Jill Treadwell has her bipolar under control until she is laid off from her job at a Contemporary Art museum losing her health insurance and medications. After her unemployment benefit amount is determined she has no choice but to pack up her apartment and move in with her mother and her mother’s new husband. As her medications dwindle away she begins to head down a dark path of depression and mania that leads to self-medication with drugs and alcohol. The description of the symptoms of mental illness is rendered with alarming accuracy as she hits bottom with a life changing DUI. After her arrest her depression carries her into an inhumane place of despair and hopelessness. After a thwarted attempt at suicide we follow her tragic and comedic struggles to find health insurance with her pre-existing bipolar disorder meeting a motley crew of her friends and supporters along the way.

Her "journey" starts with the vivid and wild friends she has when she is not mentally well. As she begins to repair her mind we meet her therapist, counselors and friends in recovery. Jill's mother plays an important roll by keeping things light with her humor and naivety. Her father’s gruff, uneducated deportment leads to some laughs as well, with his strong spirit and fumbling dedication to his daughter.

Fortunately the COBRA subsidy is granted to those who have lost their jobs in this nightmare economy. Jill is back in business, seeing her doctors and resuming her medications. Therapy and counseling are helping her see there is a way out of her challenging circumstances if she can just hold on and trust the help that is being provided to her by friends and professionals. Court appointed trips to AA and group therapy are another outlet for humor and parody. Things are starting to take form for Jill as her head begins to clear and she starts to understand the sobering reality of her multiple court dates and related obligations.

On the road back to mental health an old boyfriend resurfaces with issues of his own. Russ is also an alcoholic who has been diagnosed as bipolar. Jill feels she can help him with his struggles as she has just emerged from the worst four months of her life. Jill and Russ attended film school together and he never could get her out of his mind after they separated. He made a film about her and it is this film that brings the two together. This bizarre coupling of two psychologically challenged individuals leads to an endearing romance built on creativity and an understanding that surpasses the conventional boundaries of romantic love. We join them through their whirlwind courtship and last minute wedding that is both comic and touching. All Jill ever wanted was a life to call her own and the couples' love brings them to a place of super absorbent paper towels and environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Breaking through the challenges of finding health insurance and subsequent recovery from alcoholism, The Molecules That Surround Us chronicles a journey resulting in love, sanity and a “real life.”

Editorial Reviews


For this reader Jill Treadwell's ability to write with such piercing clarity the working of a bipolar mind as well as the mindset and behavior of an alcoholic ranks her among the finest descriptors. That is not to say this is a depressing book. Quite the opposite! This book is brimming over with hilarious moments, even the potential tragedies are remolded to share the human comedy aspect of a life misguidedly directed. We see her world as she sees it, feel the angst as she tries to cope with it, and celebrate the victories she finally attains with complete entertainment always present. At an important turning point or dénouement she writes, `Things are falling int place. I am beginning to accept my age, my bipolar, that I am unemployed and living with my mother and have not even a hint of a boyfriend, much less a husband. I instead focus on the fact that I have people who love me and some pretty amazing friends. Maybe that's all I am going to get and maybe that's all I need. I begin to further the attributes of my bicycle riding eccentric spinsterhood; it begins to be a fun identity. I wear bizarre sundresses and sunglasses and let peculiar sentences and concepts roll off my tongue.'

This is an important book (especially in light of the current mess of a health crisis we are witnessing and an economic stalemate that injures us all), but it is also a very well written book. It could use some fine -tuning in the editorial department, but that is minor. In the end we love this goofy lady and are left cheering with her. Grady Harp, May 12

From the Author

Jill Treadwell began her interest in interactive media at the College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico studying with video pioneers Woody and Steina Vasulka. She is currently writing prose, dialogue, lyrics, poetry, and philosophical noetics for a multi-media project with Melody Sumner Carnahan. She is also working in collaboration with Russell Chartier and Paul Botelho on a video piece, Devil On a Dam, which features her writing and is currently being shown internationally. She is a videographer who has worked in Advertising and Contemporary Art. As she enters into her late '30's she has been inspired to attempt something more mainstream than her usual experimental investigations into language.

Product Details

  • File Size: 359 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (April 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007XYIO8G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,157,880 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Jill Treadwell leaps forward into contemporary literature with this intense examination and confession of an insider's view of life as a bipolar individual whose life is fragilely pasted together with antipsychotic medications, alcoholism, self-destructive behavior. Though there are several books - either memoir in nature or novels - about bipolar (manic/depressive) victims, few can match the visceral realism of being placed behind the eyes of one who is affected and see the world as it appears to the dismembered synapses in the manner that Jill Treadwell escorts us. This is writing that explodes off the page, rambles on in disjointed content and distorted realities in a way that allows the reader to truly understand the bipolar personality.

Jill Treadwell is thirty-five at book's beginning and her usual managed bipolar disorder is dismembered when she is laid off her job - a fact that is made worse by being placed in a situation where she has no health insurance and thus no further therapy and no medications. To quiet the mania she turns to alcohol and any drugs available on the street and in her excesses she manages to be arrested for a DUI. A turning point! She attempts suicide (something always on the backburner for her), moves in with her kind but slightly zany mother and her new rather bizarre stepfather, finds a lawyer courtesy of her mother, and in the fear of being jailed she begins to attend AA meetings every day, returns to her therapist who attempts to control her bipolar state with meditative biofeedback behavior in an attempt to make up for the lack of medications she so desperately needs, and she manages.
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Jill Treadwell has written a marvelous book, part memoir, part travelogue through Bipolar illness and the self medicating alcoholism that lands so many ill people in prison. I must disclose that I know the author and was praying that I would love the book (as I am a brutally honest person) I did love it and would highly recommend this book for pure reading entertainment, but also as a guide to anyone struggling to understand and love someone with mental illness. I laughed and winced and felt her struggle to believe in others and in life for one more moment at a time.

Jill tells the extreme and actual truth absent of corny metaphors or rosy connections. She describes how very close she came to destroying herself and her family and friends by taking her own life. She writes about the gift of friendship and 'fellowship" and makes me believe that the human race can be saved because on balance, people are willing to do more than watch out for themselves. Jill is a reluctant hero of those with bipolar and the illnesses that commandeer the best part of our rational selves. Jill's story makes clear the point that it is absolutely necessary to ask for help from slightly less wounded 'sherpas' of the cause to carry us forward in early recovery and that these stumbling guides need only be caring and a few steps ahead of us to help us bear the full weight of our suffering. Isn't this all that recovery is?
Jill gives voice to so many fears and her words flow back and forth between reason and reflection to sporadic mania and paranoia that I felt at times as if I needed some of the very expensive medication that she finally gets.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I feel this is an important piece of literature for anyone who wants to "truly"understand what a person with bipolar suffers through. Not the bulls*** psychology books that generalize, label and are written by people that have never had the illness themselves.

This book is the story of a woman who suffers from bipolar disease and relies 100% on her medication in order to function normally in society. When she loses her job and health insurance she is forced to self medicate as a means of survival. The events that take place, ups, downs, twists and turns in this story will have you in tears at times, smiling and sometimes cracking up. Ultimately her perseverance, therapy, family and support system save her life. I really enjoyed and appreciated the authors brave sincerity.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A roller coaster ride to hell without a seatbelt! June 19, 2012
By Nancy
Format:Kindle Edition
Whoa. Reading The Molecules That Surround Us is like taking a rollercoaster ride to hell without a seatbelt. For anyone who depends on medications to help with a mental disorder, you will understand exactly what kind of hellish journey the author endured when she lost her job. Having bipolar disorder, when Jill lost her health insurance, she tried to ration out her medication to last as long as possible. Unfortunately, Jill was forced to move in with her mom and stepfather while she struggled to find a job, any job, that offered health insurance. She even tried a job to make enough money to pay for COBRA, but without luck.

As the medication dwindled and Jill's disorder took over, she started drinking to ease the craziness that her life was becoming. She was arrested for DUI, and her life spiraled even farther in to chaos. At times the descriptions of how Jill felt were a bit confusing, but it made sense in that she was being true to how she felt at the time. It was like a bad dream. A nightmare is terrifying, and all kinds of crazy things happen, but it doesn't have to be cohesive like if it was a movie. It made her disorder feel real. Her terror felt real. Wanting to die felt very real. And at any moment I felt like she was going to fly out of the rollercoaster and fall to her death.

Jill's ride took crazy ups and downs and zigs and zags, but with the love of her parents and the rekindled love of an old boyfriend, her ride slows down and we are able to see that she has survives, and then thrives as she takes the necessary steps to start over again.

I am giving The Molecules That Surround Us 3 1/2 stars because it needs a bit more polishing. This is a very moving story, and with some professional editing, it could be a 4-5 star book.
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More About the Author


Jill Treadwell began her interest in interactive media at the College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico studying with video pioneers Woody and Steina Vasulka. She is currently writing prose, dialogue, lyrics, poetry, and philosophical noetics for a multi-media project with Melody Sumner Carnahan. She is also working in collaboration with Russell Chartier and Paul Botelho on a video piece, Devil On a Dam, which features her writing and is currently being shown internationally. She is a videographer who has worked in Advertising and Contemporary Art. As she enters into her late '30's she has been inspired to attempt something more mainstream than her usual experimental investigations into language.


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Fake reviews for "Molecules"
Why are you so obsessed with us?
May 7, 2012 by Jill Treadwell |  See all 34 posts
To Anonymous Alcoholic,
Hang in there. Please don't give up or give in.
May 5, 2012 by Jill K. Treadwell |  See all 33 posts
The Molecules that surround Us
Funny thing how both of you, AA and NHIIB, have only one book on your wishlist, "The Molecules That Surround Us".

Even funnier is how the wish list recipient for both of you happens to be Russell Chartier. The film student "Russ" from the book.

Was it the alcohol which... Read More
May 4, 2012 by HannibalTheCannibal |  See all 29 posts
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