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The Bipolar Experience - Your Dreams are Bigger than Bipolar Disorder Paperback – September 20, 2016
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About the Author
In her decades-long modeling career, LeeAnn Jefferies represented such companies as Bobbi Brown, Avon, Princess Cruise Lines, Marks and Spenser, Modern Bride, and the Home Shopping Network. As an in-demand model for Ford Modeling Agency, she traveled the world and "rubbed elbows" with celebrities. But her greatest career accomplishment has been opening dialogue about Bipolar Disorder and its accompanying diagnoses, providing hope for millions.
LeeAnn and her husband Kenneth make their home in North Carolina. They are the parents of two grown children and have been blessed with two grandchildren.
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Top customer reviews
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I felt like I was sitting on a wicker chair on a wrap-around porch listening to LeeAnn tell her story, her Southern accent and flare on display between our sips of sweet tea. I appreciated her authenticity.
"I know what it’s like to be afraid of my own mind."
"Oh, I hated it, I hated it! But I learned to live within the hell of it. Because that’s what it was. Hell. With all the good going on in my life–with all the God at work–I had come to a sure truth: I knew exactly where the devil’s playground resided. And it was with me all the time. Right there, in my mind."
"Most of us can only live each day as it comes. But those with bipolar disorder will either live those days bouncing off the clouds or clawing our way through the mud."
I’m thankful I’m neither in the clouds or the mud these days.
The Bipolar Experience is a good resource for family and friends of those with bipolar disorder. Eva and LeeAnn sprinkle facts about the illness throughout the book, but they approach it in the context of her story, not as a medical encyclopedia.
I could relate to LeeAnn’s goal-oriented side of bipolar disorder. It’s a little known fact that a bipolar person tends to fixate on a goal–however big or small–until they achieve it. Many times, a person with bipolar disorder is viewed as extremely productive. I could see that in LeeAnn’s story–and in mine.
As much as I wanted to read The Bipolar Experience in one sitting, I struggled to read non-stop because I swing more to the depressive side of bipolar. I needed to take some breaks from reading it when I found myself swinging low. I would caution those who struggle with mental illness to be aware of that possibility prior to reading it. Awareness is key.
The story hops back and forth through key events in LeeAnn’s life, which as, LeeAnn herself admits, is a glimpse into the life and mind of a person with bipolar.
"There are times in the telling of this story when I worry that I cannot keep the reader on track. Then again, this is a book about the bipolar experience, so why should I be able to do that? After all, my life has been up and down, down and up. Around a left-turn corner. Around a right-turn corner."
I can understand the rationale for that approach. However, as a person with bipolar disorder, I found it difficult to follow her journey. People who struggle with the illness are often obsessed with things being in a specific order–to the point of OCD. (LeeAnn mentioned her struggles with OCD too.) In order to create a linear progression of her life, I had to, as a classic sign of a bipolar person, go back and highlight the year in each chapter to understand what happened first, next, and so on. Nonetheless, the non-linear approach is a good representation of a bipolar mind for those who don’t face it firsthand.
I know family and friends of bipolars will appreciate the chapters by her husband and daughter. They were honest, heartfelt, and demonstrated the power of a strong support system. The importance of a good doctor is a continuous thread in the book.
Overall, I recommend The Bipolar Experience by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson to family and friends of those struggling with the nauseating see-saw of this illness. For those who face this struggle, The Bipolar Experience is a reminder that God can use our circumstances (including illnesses) for good, but only if we let Him. LeeAnn is a great example of that. I am. You can be too.