But I heard a few people talk about how it was a must-read in regards to bipolar, and since a lot of my other options have been feeling kind of played out, I figured it wouldn't hurt.
And it certainly didn't. But on the other hand, after 15 years of dealing with this, there was very, VERY little in here that came as any surprise/relief/etc.
Sleep has always been one of my biggest issues. I've always felt that my inner clock runs on a 30-ish hour schedule, instead of the normal 24 (er, rather, 25, as research seems to indicate)
I've had doctors hammer into me time and time and time again the importance of managing my sleep. I've been on 3-4 different sleep medications that don't seem to help- either not working at all, causing absolutely unbearable side effects (30hr migraines kind of suck), or work a little too well- leaving me totally out of it the next day.
But his chapter on sleep gave me a bit of hope. I've never given much thought to the whole light therapy thing...it always seemed a little weird to me for some reason, but I might give it a shot. Of course, that means spending more money on a potentially useless "treatment", but such is life. The thought of changing all of your lights to dimming lights made a LOT of sense to me, and I might look in to that...not sure how practical it would be, but I could imagine it making a big difference.
Aside from that, there was the chapter on exercise, which I imagine made everyone else groan and roll their eyes like it did me...but some of the statistics were pretty surprising...enough to make me want to try to implement it.
One part that I felt really resonated in an unexpected way was in section "Pay Yourself First" at the end of the chapter about exercise where he mentioned the importance of making stuff like exercise your top priority- over and above more "pressing"/immediate needs, because otherwise it will be something that you'll get to "tomorrow" for the rest of your life.
This is something I've run into with sleep. I make a million excuses as to why I can't work on my sleep TONIGHT (test/assignment due tomorrow, have to be up at 6am to be somewhere, etc etc) but unless I put my longterm health ahead of my short-term issues, it's never going to change. I have to be willing to risk being late on an assignment, or being "hung over" from the sleep meds in class, because I HAVE to start establishing that routine at some point, or else it'll never happen.
And there's never going to be a good time to do it. Life doesn't let up to let us take care of crap like this.
So yea. The book had a few interesting things, but for the most part I didn't find it overly useful. That being said, it was an incredibly light read (although that could also be due to my extensive familiarity with the issue...but overall the writing style was EXTREMELY accessible) and I could see how it would be a god-send for someone who was recently diagnosed or who knows absolutely nothing about it.
I definitely respect the author for his commitment to the issue. He made a ton of resources available for free on his website and is totally transparent about his biases at certain points in the book- his motives seem pretty pure and he comes across as being totally trustworthy.
Overall, it's an incredibly thorough book, but assuming you've been dealing with this for a while, don't get too excited over the prospects of finding anything ground-breaking.
If I were to rate solely on the value of the information I took from the book, I'd probably give it 2.5 stars. If I were to rate it solely on the quality of the content, I'd probably give it 4.5 or 5. So my gut is to give it 3.5 stars, but because I respect the work that went into it it's easy enough for me to bump it up to 4 stars, because I really, really believe this would be FANTASTIC for people who are totally new to dealing with the illness.
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