Strictly Bipolar is Darian Leader's treatise on the psychological disorder of our times.
If the post-war period was called the 'Age of Anxiety' and the 1980s and '90s the 'Antidepressant Era', we now live in Bipolar times. Mood-stabilising medication is routinely prescribed to adults and children alike, with child prescriptions this decade increasing by 400% and overall diagnoses by 4000%.
What could explain this explosion of bipolarity? Is it a legitimate diagnosis or the result of Big Pharma marketing? Exploring these questions, Darian Leader challenges the rise of 'bipolar' as a catch-all solution to complex problems, and argues that we need to rethink the highs and lows of mania and depression.
What, he asks, do these experiences have to do with love, guilt and rage? Why the spending sprees and the intense feeling of connection with the world? Why the confidence, the self-esteem and the sense of a bright future that can so swiftly turn into despair and dejection?
Only by looking at these questions in a new way will we be able to understand and help the person caught between feelings that can be so terrifying and so exhilarating, so life-affirming yet also so lethal.
Strictly Bipolar is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary views of the self, bipolarity and a deeper understanding of manic-depression.
Praise for Strictly Bipolar:
'A beautifully thoughtful understanding not just of highs and lows,mania and depression, but of why and how these mechanisms work in our mindsand bodies and how the human subject is coerced todayto embrace a culture of 'bipolarity'' Susie Orbach
'A timely book. Darian Leader's thoughts are more fixated strong-arm interesting, more humane and more persuasive than the profit coercion of the madness industry. Instead of the shoddy reasoning that leads to wrong treatment and over-treatment, he offers illumination and insight; his book is a contribution to a debate, but it could also change lives' Hilary Mantel
Darian Leader is a psychoanalyst practising in London and a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research and of the College of Psychoanalysts - UK. He is the author of What is Madness?, The New Black, Why do women write more letters than they post?, Promises lovers make when it gets late, Freud's Footnotes and Stealing the Mona Lisa, and co-author, with David Corfield, of Why Do People Get Ill? He is Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Human and Life Sciences, Roehampton University.