Manic: A Memoir | Review

Posted by Amber Adams | Apr 25, 2018 | Depression, Reviews | 0 |

I was skeptical of Terri Cheney’s Manic: A Memoir, but it kept showing up on my Amazon list, so I had to check it out. What a good read.

Terri is an entertainment lawyer to the stars Los Angeles – she had a prominent 16-year career representing celebrities such as Michael and Quincy Jones. She’s also the first person that I’ve ever heard of getting Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) as a treatment for depression and mania. 8 ECT sessions later and she says she has lost a lot of her memory.

I could really relate to her being a corporate professional with severe mood swings and a penchant for destroying my relationships (both family and dating- indiscriminate, sabotage really).

She outlines a ton of familiarities that struck my core. From her/us spending a brutal night in jail, suicide attempts, and people leaving me while quoting symptoms of untreated manic/depression as the cause.

It’s hard to tell what’s exaggerated in the Manic: A Memoir because manicism always feels like everything is grandiose. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember what is real because my depression or manic state could dictate how I filter my reality, but it’s all unduly relatable. Cheney is also honest about how her that her memory is impaired from both bipolar and its treatments.

Terry’s quote “If I’ve learned anything from life as a manic depressive is that things never stay the same for very long. The cruelest curse of the disease is also its most sacred promise: You will not feel this way forever.” Resonated with my core. This is my mantra when I’m depressed (because I, admittedly, somewhat enjoy manicism).

I loved her plain-spoken narrative for Manic: A Memoir, but it’s far from a medical recount. Her descriptions of mixed-state episodes and bulimia are well described but difficult to stomach. She says that her mom never kept enough food on hand, so she ate through the spice rack….

Her fear of appearing unkempt also hilariously resonated with me. I can’t predict my mania (…or depression), so I often live by the old adage “the better you dress, the worse you can behave” when I go out. So I don’t look like manic white trash. But I literally laughed out loud when I read, “Sometimes I think that a hundred-dollar haircut is all that stands between me and a fourteen-day hold.” I hear that.

This is an accurate first-hand depiction of the “highs and lows” of bipolar spectrum disorders. Many people understand that to mean high as in euphoric, but it’s accompanied by easily-triggered irritability where I lose all my house training and social niceties. I can usually tell by people’s reaction to me when I’m “on a roll” – read: manic.

From manic spending and a fabulous fast life to starting a weekly support group in Los Angeles, Terri Cheney’s been doing her best with the cards that she’s been dealt. I often joke I’ve lived two lives, the one before diagnosis and the one after treatment. Terri has pivoted too, and she now serves on the Community Advisory Board of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program as a mental health advocate. I highly recommend Manic: A Memoir, especially if you or a loved one battles Bipolar Disorder.


If you or a loved one you know battles with Bipolar Disorder or any Mental Health Issues, please do get the help you need. If you need to talk to someone now, you can talk to one of the many fantastic therapists at Better Help by CLICKING HERE.


 Photo Credit: Mark Falardeau


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