jadelin, June 23, 2012 (view all comments by jadelin)
This book took courage and deep experiences of pain to write. The world should be appreciative of what it represents. A mother and daughter, Cinda and Linea Johnson chronicle Linea's descent into her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The journey is so deep and dark and all encompassing. The most compelling moments are tender, where mother and daughter reflect on the power of mental ill-health and the unabashed reality and power of love. This book is a necessary tool for the public as the helplessness and utter ugliness this disorder inflicts on its victims. Moving, tear provoking and a true page turner, this book is truly a gift coming from a place that many have experienced but few are able to bring to the public sphere.
babe1002, May 22, 2012 (view all comments by babe1002)
This is a brutally honest, sometimes painful, story of a family coming to grips with a member with a mental illness, and especially with Linea's strength and determination to be well. Alternately written in the first person by each, not only does it chronicle the family's struggles with the illness, but it offers their experiences with finding competent health-care professionals and their ongoing never-ending battles with their insurance company to cover the needed treatments. Even as a close-knit, well-educated, well-connected family (both mom and dad have professional connections to health care; she an educator in special education and he a rehabilitation counselor) they found themselves at times wondering where to turn. This book is deeply personal, but it provides so much insight for others who face a mental health challenge or for families that have a loved one with a mental illness. Their goal is to help remove the stigma of mental illness and to provide some hope and strength for all those who are affected by it. There is an omission in the story in that the father is not portrayed as the ever-present stalwart rock that he is and has been throughout this ordeal. He is an unsung hero.
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St. Martin's Press -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Johnson, diagnosed as bipolar in her 20s, is one of the lucky ones, armed with a caring family, good health insurance, and a strong determination to live, as she describes with her mother in this wrenching story. As she and her mother detail their family's attempts to make sense of the disorder, it becomes clear that mental illness doesn't spare even the most loving homes. Between high school and college, Linea shifts from being a happy, thriving, perfectionist to someone overwhelmed by anxiety. At first, her baffled parents believe it's fixable teenage stress. While away at college, the illness fully takes hold and gradually builds until she feels suicidal. Her parents, worried and exhausted, decide that bringing her back to Seattle is the best way to keep her safe. Despite everyone's best intentions, Linea's suicidal thoughts return. Her mantra as she creates a suicide plan is 'I want pain, I want blood. I hurt so much.' She ends up in a psychiatric unit, where she agrees to electroconvulsive therapy. The treatments are not a miracle cure, and although months later she overdoses on medication, it's a cry for help to save her life, and it does. The journey for Linea and her family is a moving and hopeful one, as they better understand how she reacts to the illness, and realize that being bipolar is only a part of someone's life, not the whole." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Glenn Close, Actress and Co-founder, Bring Change 2 Mind,
"Perfect Chaos is an open-eyed, sometimes raw, always astoundingly honest account of a family's unanticipated battle with mental illness. Cinda and Lineas awe-inspiring resilience and the sheer courage of their emotional transparency moved me to my core and deepened my empathy for all those touched by mental illness, including beloved members of my own family. It is about the fierce, transformative love between a mother and daughter and how they both learn to share their truths."
by Pete Earley, author of CRAZY: A Father's Search through America's Mental Health Madness,
"Perfect Chaos is an important gift to those of us who love someone with a mental disorder. A daughter diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her determined mother take us on their often-painful journey to recovery, giving readers a penetrating look into what happens when mental illnesses strike. This inspirational book teaches us the importance of determination, resilience, love and HOPE. It is a testament to the human spirit that refuses to be defeated by a brain disorder — a must read."
"Perfect Chaos is a memoir of a daughter and mother working together to overcome the daily challenges of living with a mental illness. Through their trials and triumphs, their story provides encouragement and hope for individuals and their families affected by these illnesses." Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, founder of the Carter Center Mental Health Program and author of Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis
by Patrick J. Kennedy, Former US Congressman and Co-Founder, One Mind for Research,
"A remarkable story about remarkable women! Linea and Cinda brilliantly light a path to hope, understanding, and acceptance as they smash through the stigma of brain illness. Be inspired by the strong voice they give to patients, relatives, care-givers, and especially to those unable or afraid to show their wants, needs, hope."
"Perfect Chaos is as much a map as it is a memoir, a powerful resource for families and individuals navigating the confusing and painful world of bipolar and mental illness. The dual-narrative of mother and daughter allows for twice the insight and inspiration. From the giddiness of mania, to the crushing depression and yearning to end it all, Linea captures the experience of being bipolar with raw honesty and a fresh voice. Cinda's passages illuminate her life on the sidelines, alternately feeling determined and unshakable or heartbroken and helpless. Her refusal to give up on her daughter, and Linea's will to live, resulted in Perfect Chaos, a brave and realistic, yet life-affirming message of hope to families and individuals living with mental illness." Claire Fontaine and Mia Fontaine, authors of Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey through Hell and Back
by Jessie Close, Co-founder, Bring Change 2 Mind,
"Perfect Chaos is the definition of mental illness. I read most of Cinda and Linea's words with tears in my eyes. Living with bipolar disorder myself I didn't find one untrue word, not one exaggeration in this exemplary book, only the truth. This brave and honest book will educate people who have little understanding of mental illness and allow those who live with mental illness a knowing that they are not alone. I have a feeling I'll be buying Perfect Chaos by the case to distribute to those who don't understand."
The Johnsons were a close and loving family living in the Seattle area - two parents, two incomes, two bright and accomplished daughters. They led busy lives filled with music lessons, college preparation, career demands, and laughter around the dinner table. Then the younger daughter, Linea, started experiencing crippling bouts of suicidal depression. Multiple trips to the psych ward resulted in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and it took many trial runs of drugs and ultimately electroshock therapy to bring Linea back. But her family never gave up on her. And Linea never stopped trying to find her way back to them.
Perfect Chaos is the story of a mother and daughters journey through mental illness towards hope. From initial worrying symptoms to long sleepless nights to cross-country flights and the slow understanding and rebuilding of trust, Perfect Chaos tells Linea and Cindas harrowing and inspiring story, of an illness that they conquer together every day. It is the story of a daughters courage, a mothers faith, and the love that carried them through the darkest times.
A dual memoir of a mother's and daughter's triumph over mental illness
The Johnsons—mother, father, and two daughters—were a loving, and close Seattle family. Then the younger daughter Linea started experiencing crippling bouts of suicidal depression. Multiple trips to the psych ward resulted in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and it took many trial runs of drugs and ultimately electroshock therapy to bring Linea back. But her family never gave up on her. And Linea never stopped trying to find her way back to them.
Perfect Chaos is the story of a mother's and daughters journey through mental illness towards hope. From initial worrying symptoms to long sleepless nights to cross country flights and the slow understanding and rebuilding of trust, Perfect Chaos tells Linea's and Cindas harrowing and inspiring story, of an illness that they conquer together every day. It is the story of a daughters courage, a mothers faith, and the love that carried them through the darkest times.
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