This is my first cut at a summary for the publishers:
Book Summary –
This is the life story of Clive Edwards who is also the author. It is mostly about his struggle with Bipolar Disorder, firstly in finding a diagnosis and then in living with the Illness against a chaotic relationship backdrop. The story begins with a foreword which helps to educate the layman about the illness. It is critical for the reader to have some insight in order to understand some of the behaviour. Clive’s early life is described in enough detail to give a picture of his personality and character. It is possible that early experiences had an impact on his later life after he suffered from Bipolar Disorder.
Clive was a seemingly intelligent youth. His general sad demeanour led to him being an under achiever in academic work and in life generally. He drifted through until he was thirty two. The exception was a relatively happy time at University. Even there, he didn’t come out of his shell. He started an IT career and progressed to a good job as a systems programmer with Warwickshire County Council. His life was all about work and he was still at a loss in social situations.
He took a job in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to kick start his life. This endeavour was successful. The ex-pat life suited Clive and he made some good money. He managed to get to the USA for a three week vacation. He had a lot of good friends and they spent a lot of time together.
Things started to go wrong when he hurt his back later in 1982. It required surgery and it is possible that the trauma of surgery triggered his first manic episode. It was a curiosity at first but he consulted a GP. This led to a week locked in a mental ward of a hospital. Everything had gone pear shaped in a few months. While convalescing and still manic, Clive visited America again, on a whim this time. In Denver he crashed out and returned to England, barely in one piece. He returned to Saudi, saw out his contract and returned to England.
After some IT contracts, he moved to America with his first girlfriend. Within a month, Clive became manic again and quit his job. He spent several months searching for a diagnosis and a new job. He found both of these things early in April, 1983. He found a good doctor and a job with someone who would sponsor his green card. He was on medication and found stability until early 1992.
Clive had trouble with the dry mouth side effects of lithium. Early in 1992, things came to a head and he stopped the lithium. It shouldn’t be stopped abruptly. He became manic in a short time. He flew to England and disrupted the life of friends and family. After a few weeks, Clive was hospitalized. The benefit of the hospital wore off and he called to his wife to rescue him. He returned to LA and restarted work. He was totally open about his illness,
1992 was a year of riots and Clive was burnt out by November. He left his first wife and hit the single scene. He found his new girlfriend by answering a personal ad. This was how he found his first wife.
The next seven years were anything from ecstasy to chaos. This involved numerous separations, job problems, some good times and another manic episode in 1996. This led to Singapore briefly and a resulting bad depression. This led to a suicide attempt in 1997. Clive was really lucky with jobs. His ex-manager called from LA and offered him a job in LA.
Clive struggled through two years of medication problems that were not directly related to his illness. He lost a lot of time from work and hardly left the apartment on Sunset Boulevard. Eventually he left the job abruptly and moved to Mexico. This was in order to get off most of the medications. Five months on the edge of the jungle was just what he needed.
Clive returned to England yet again. Apart from another attempt to work in LA in 2000, and a short admin job in England, he has not worked since. He became a bit reclusive and found it harder and harder to get out. His life is relatively stable but uninspiring. At the time of writing, Clive has been using his Bipolar advantage to finish his story. He has refreshed his interest in cyberspace and is more positive than he has ever been. Writing his story has been enormously therapeutic.
The story is a roller coaster ride of a bipolar person struggling against the chaotic background of his personal life. Sometimes it is hard to see where one ends and one begins. Mostly Clive comes out more positive and calm than ever.
He has a good respect for the illness and he has good insight which others can benefit from. He is recovering well while realizing that it is a lifetime commitment and medication is required.