Book Review for Bipolar Disorder: My Biggest Competitor by Amy Gamble

by David Fast

David Fast is the 16 year old nephew of Julie A. Fast. He reviews books on bipolar disorder from a teenage perspective. 

Bipolar Disorder – My Biggest Competitor:  An Olympian’s Journey with Mental Illness

Amy Gamble has led a successful life. She has been an Olympic basketball player, an employee for a major pharmaceutical company and an author. She has been able to do all these things while dealing with bipolar. But none of this came easily. Bipolar was the most difficult obstacle in her life, getting her off track and leading to major problems that make her accomplishments even more amazing.

As the book title suggests, bipolar has been a greater adversary than any team she could have played in the Olympics.

Amy’s book documents her journey with great detail. When she had control of bipolar she went to great places, and is currently doing very well. Yet when she went off her meds there were serious repercussions, especially from mania.

Lost and Found in the Wilderness

“It was night by the time I’d wandered my way around the mountainside and down what I later learned was a dirt road. I thought if I went down to the stream, I might find a forest ranger’s office. But when the sun came up, I was spiraling into a web of mental confusion. I had been an avid hiker and backpacker for years, and I had some natural survival skills, and my instincts were telling me to keep moving because if I stopped I would freeze to death.”

Amy was lost for three days.

When I read Amy’s book, I saw a lot of similarities to my aunt. If Julie were in the same situation, she would have done the same thing. Julie gets super manic and depressed and it affects her life. I see the same behavior in Amy. It shows that this is a somewhat common thing that Julie and Amy get sick like this. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain due to bipolar.  Amy got a letter from her mom that said, “It’s ok to have this illness. You have to admit you have it to get help.” It took Amy a long time to listen to this. It was a struggle so many people with bipolar go through.

Until she was able to listen and get the help she needed, she ended up in jail and in psych facilities repeatedly.  This part of the book was most interesting. You got to see inside the manic episode and what it was like for the person going through it.

I liked the details in this book. It feels like she is not hiding anything. It felt very real and it taught me more about how bipolar is just something that happens and whether you’re an author or basketball player or painter, it’s a common thing and a lot of people have it. If there were not so much of a stigma, more people would get help. Amy’s book helps people who don’t have bipolar really understand what people go through.

As she explains in the book, Amy now has a plan to keep herself out of these situations and on her meds, and now has control of her bipolar. I believe her book is a great view into her life and her battle with bipolar, and a motivational influence for those who strive to be the victor of their own life.

I recommend the book for teens who are already interested in bipolar and adults who want a good read.

Click here to read more about Amy’s book on Amazon.




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