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18 May 2021

Befriending Bipolar: A Patient's Perspective

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Befriending Bipolar: A Patient's Perspective


Befriending Bipolar is a highly interesting and readable account of Oliver Seligman’s experience with bipolar.  Oliver is a monk, author and inspirational speaker and was diagnosed with Type One bipolar in the 1990s, when he was seventeen.

Oliver eloquently recounts his past struggles with bipolar and of his experiences. As a young man, he spent three months in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. Oliver describes the anxiety about going home after being there. “I felt safe in that strangely unpredictable environment, even when patients were screaming or security guards running.”

In a later part of Befriending Bipolar, Oliver describes how in his late thirties, he stopped taking lithium for two years. During that time, Oliver experienced around thirty different realities a day, ‘flipping between them every few seconds like a slideshow’.

Befriending Bipolar is an absorbing book which consists of sixteen chapters. At the end of each chapter, Oliver summarises his learnings. These range from talking about what has helped him to manage bipolar and Befriending Bipolar offers useful advice including asking for help which Oliver acknowledges is difficult to do.

Oliver manages bipolar with a combination of lithium, meditation and therapy and leaves the reader with hope as he describes how he has found balance in his life.

Oliver Seligman
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