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Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask Paperback


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Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bipolar but Were Too Freaked Out to Ask + The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, Second Edition: What You and Your Family Need to Know + An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Conari Press (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573244724
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573244725
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 4.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hilary Smith's wise, hilarious, and candid book is a veritable lifesaver not only for those suffering from bipolar disorder, but for those struggling to keep their sanity while loving them. Maybe because the author suffers from the disorder herself, her book is an actual survival guide, brimming with insight, anecdote, and tough love. Recovery was never so inspiring." --Allison Burnett, author of Undiscovered Gyrl

"This book is flat-out fantastic. Funny, smart, and unflinchingly astute, Welcome to the Jungle is exactly the guide you want on your journey from chaos to stability as you learn to manage bipolar disorder. Smith's sure voice is a welcome companion over some hard road, and her wry wisdom lights the way. Indispensable." --Marya Hornbacher, author of Madness: A Bipolar Life

"Hilary Smith has come through big time with a book about bipolar disorder targeted to teens or 20-somethings experiencing mental illness for the first time." ―Washington Post



"By far the best, most comprehensive self-help book out there about bipolar disorder. Hilary Smith's incredible sense of humor, candor, and wit make her guide both easy to read and a pleasure and a laugh riot. Every person with bipolar (or family member or friend) should read this book as soon as possible. This book will save lives." --Andy Behrman, author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania

"VERDICT Among the wealth of works on bipolar, this title (wisely pulled from a Guns N' Roses lyric) nicely stands out as a super reference for younger readers interested in or actually experiencing bipolar disorder and is also a valuable resource for professionals." ―Library Journal



"Hilary Smith writes with candor, cleverness and sharp wit, bringing to light what those with bipolar already know: That just because you've been diagnosed with a mental illness doesn't mean you've lost your insight, intelligence or playful (and often self-mocking) sense of humor. Welcome to the Jungle astutely captures the roller coaster of emotions that accompany bipolar--from trenchant despair to uproarious mania--and does so in a way that never alienates the reader, but rather sucks you in and keeps you wanting to go along for the ride. Writing with a wisdom and faculty well beyond her years, Smith had me laughing out loud--not at her, but with her. Whether you're a teen for whom the diagnosis of bipolar is as raw and fresh as a snipped nerve, or in your 20s struggling with the disease for what seems like decades, Welcome to the Jungle is the quintessential young person's companion." --Malina Saval, author of The Secret Lives of Boys: Inside the Raw Emotional World of Male Teens

About the Author

Hilary Smith is 24 and lives on the West Coast.  She is a volunteer speaker for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is currently working on a young adult novel.

More About the Author

Hilary Smith was born in 1986. She grew up in Canada and received a BA in English Literature at the University of British Columbia. Her adventures with bipolar disorder began when she was in her late teens, when constant insomnia and crazy thoughts started making her life a little more "interesting". Now she lives somewhere on the West Coast of the USA (her exact home at any given time is subject to frequent changes, as her and her paramour tend to ramble around the country a lot in pursuit of their dreams).

Hilary wrote "Welcome to the Jungle" because it is the book she wishes she'd been given when she was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Any comments or letters from readers are welcome. Hilary can be reached at bipolarjungle@gmail.com.

Customer Reviews

Hilary Smith has written an insightful book that is funny and informative.
Colinda
It will certainly help some kids feel like they're not alone, and like there are things that can be done if they do have the disorder.
apples2apples
I highly recommend this book to those diagnosed with bipolar, their families and friends.
W. Stiles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 84 people found the following review helpful By O. Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
*****
I have read many books on bipolar illness, and I just love this book! Its intended audience is young people, but it is suitable for everyone--from teenagers to middle-aged folk like myself. It's raw, funny, and very honest, answering questions that other books just don't get near, perhaps because they're very personal. But people with bipolar illness need to know about these things, and so do their families and friends! In fact, this is the perfect book to give to others to help them to understand just what the illness is and how to deal with it.

Interesting topics include: when and how to tell your friends and romantic partners you have bipolar illness; how it really feels to be bipolar; recreational drug use, alcohol, and bipolar; cohabitation issues with bipolar; telling family; how to decide what type of professional to see; all the options and considerations in health insurance (the section on health insurance is really good for young people); managing your bipolar with food-sleep-exercise; being in college with bipolar; working with bipolar; and much more.

The book gets really specific, for example, how to deal with a social life or a significant other when you have to go to bed at the same time every night, and you have to take your drowsiness-causing meds early. One of my family members has to do this, and it's hard for people to understand about "bedtimes" and such as an adult. This book gives ideas (including humorous ideas) about what to say. I think that it normalizes and reassures people with bipolar, and is invaluable for this.

The book does contain profanity, but it fits in with the tone and writing style that appeals to many in modern youth culture, so that the book will be perceived by them as hip and cool.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Xtuna on June 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never feel compelled to write reviews. It has to be either amazingly awesome or just unbelievably bad.

This is amazingly awesome. The reason behind me saying that is because of how I felt after completing the book. I read it in ONE DAY. I had actually bought 2 bipolar II books (diagnosed beginning of the year) and the first book gave me panic attacks while reading it, I felt overwhelmed and depressed.

When reading Welcome to the Jungle - there was so much of a light feel to it (for me) that it did not overwhelm me. I almost feel like Hilary's position to being Bipolar was..."I'm Bipolar...So what?" Not to indicate that she doesn't care but that she isn't allowing this "disorder" to define who she is.

I felt relieved, I felt like I can definitely overcome this and that I can combat the struggles of the episodes more comfortably than when I read the other Bipolar books.

I highly recommend this to anyone that is recently diagnosed that have done their own research and overwhelmed with the thoughts, the depressive episodes and the spiraling out of control feeling. Hilary writes this book in a way to make you feel like you always have control over this disorder no matter what people say or no matter how you might feel that in the end you can combat this with some hard work and dedication.

Good luck to everyone
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Hopefull in New England on April 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a step-mother to a recently diagnosed bipolar 20yr old female in college, I found this book to be very eye-opening and comforting. Being young and in college is hard enough but to add bipolar to it adds yet another level they have to work through. It covers everything from being diagnosed and accepting their disease to managing it in college with the pressures of drinking, partying, and dating to living a productive, fulfilling, and happy life. I highly recommend it not only for young adults but for parents as well to help get a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings their children have. Hilary offers great references and links to support sites/groups that I am currently following up on.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By jds on April 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a quick & enjoyable read (I whizzed through it this morning over breakfast), lighthearted & intended to allay fears that someone living with bipolar can never lead a "normal" life. Ms. Smith is a personable & talented writer & her approach is much less sterile than traditional books on bipolar disorder (e.g. no long lists of vague statistics, etc.), which certainly makes it tangible reading material for a wide array of people.

However, for a book meant to (thankfully!) touch upon a few more of the so-called taboo topics that we're "too freaked out to ask," (ahem, e.g. "Hippie [Stuff] that Actually Works" chapter) I was admittedly disappointed in her chapter dealing with friends & family ("Voices Not in Your Head"). Although her "keep everyone informed & happy" approach, touted throughout the chapter, undeniably has its merit, she fails to make any mention of dealing with friends & family who completely DENY or DOWNPLAY a person's bipolar diagnosis or those who BLAME the afflicted. Instead, I got the advice to "Invite them over for dinner so they can see how happy you are, how well you're doing, and how bad a cook you are" (& if you're a bipolar sufferer, you may NOT actually being doing too well, so playing up your happiness for the benefit of loved ones can be detrimental & counterproductive to receiving needed help, anyway). The stigma associated with bipolar disorder is very strong & very real (& celebrities with bipolar don't help public perception or social stigma much, either). Those afflicted are facing an upstream swim against those stigmas at home, work, school & in social affairs. The true gravity of that was seriously glossed.
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