NPR

'Mental,' 'Gorilla And The Bird': Two Starkly Different Accounts Of Bipolar Disorder

Both books vividly capture the dizzying highs of mania and the shattering lows of depression that mark the disease. Mental's approach is comprehensive, Gorilla and the Bird's more intimate.

"Regaining sanity in a mental hospital is like treating a migraine at a rave."

It's a good line, and one that has the added benefit of being true. Zack McDermott should know; he's been through a few stints at mental institutions as a consequence of his bipolar disorder, which he chronicles, with an affable and often rueful wit, in Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother's Love.

Writer Jaime Lowe also lives with bipolar disorder; she shares her story — and a great deal more — in Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing.

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