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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Broken whole: A California Tale Of Craziness, Creativity And Chaos

by Adams, Keith

on 05/07/2010

Price: £10.00

Published: Mar 2010

Format: paperback

No Pages: 196 pages


ISBN-13: 9781849911429

Category: Biographical

A Bipolar I Patient Reflects on the Nature of Illness, Personality and Creativity

How often have you had the time in your busy outpatient clinic to allow an intelligent patient to reflect for a few hours on the personal significance of their first manic episode?

Broken Whole is the story of Keith Adams. Born in the North-East of England, he moves to the US in his early 20s and ultimately becomes a successful software designer living in Hollywood. In his early 40s he experiences his first manic episode and for the past few years he has been taking mood stabilisers and battling with episodic unipolar depression.

In this book he achieves what for most would be an impossible task. Picking himself up and piecing himself together in the devastating post-traumatic aftermath of several months of manic grandiosity, his life in tatters and thousands of dollars in debt, he provides us with a coherent and compelling account of the whole experience, of how it affected his life and his relationships.

In the narrative relating his early life experiences there are clues about his predisposing vulnerabilities- his low self-esteem and subsequent narcissistic defence. Watching the dramatic unravelling of his routine existence gives us pause to reflect on the precipitating effects both of intimate relationships and of the extreme go-getting cultural mores of Hollywood on a vulnerable yet metamorphosing character aspiring towards positive personal growth.

As a detailed and fascinating case study this book would be an invaluable addition to any bench book library for trainees.

That Keith is a gay man in a loving long-term relationship with a Biological Sciences academic partner adds to the richness and diversity of the account offering a rare insight into the additional challenges faced by those who are part of an LGBT cultural minority.

How often do user groups tell us that they wish their psychiatrist would just listen to them? Read this and listen. It changed my clinical practice. It may change yours!


Dr Tim Gillett, Consultant Psychiatrist, West Sussex


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