A Life Spent Running From MadnessBook - 2015 | First edition
From Library Staff
Great read about extremes and adventures in mental health, a very exciting read, I was hooked from the start.
vpl_informationservice Jan 28, 2016
A struggle with manic depression led Suzy Favor Hamilton from life as a fiercely competitive Olympic athlete to work as a high-end escort. Eventually, she was able to reclaim her life and triumph over her mental illness.
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First things first...if you're looking for a book about running, then this is not your book; you should definitely check out Suzy's other, earlier publication, called Fast Track: Training and Nutrition Secrets from America's Top Female Runner. I've read it and it's really good, too. This book is the story of Suzy's real life, the one she didn't even recognize until she'd been able to step away from it and realize that she, like others in her family, suffers from mental illness; specifically, bipolar disorder.
That's not to say that she doesn't discuss her running career; she has made a connection between the way her running career, unintentionally, fueled her illness and she certainly had to find other ways to express herself, to find her "high," after years of training and racing at the elite level. In this book, Suzy is brutally honest; she discusses topics that could be difficult for some readers, like her sexual promiscuity and her penchant for putting herself into dangerous, nonsensical situations. In context, none of that should be too shocking; what's shocking is that it is often, still, so difficult for individuals to receive the correct diagnosis and the treatment they need for their unique symptoms.
I've read a lot of "judgy" reviews of this memoir and, while everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, the reviews I've read by people who also suffer from mental illness are the ones that were the most impactful. This isn't a piece of classic literature, it's not going to answer everyone's questions about why or how or whatever, but it's Suzy's story and I respect her for choosing to share it in an attempt to come to terms with her illness, the things she's done in her life because of that illness, and with the hope that it might allow others to discuss their experiences and ask for help.
If you have a tendency to be judgmental about the stories of those who are dealing with things that you may not be able to understand, then this book will not be useful; I found it to be illuminating and a great way to gain better insight into the world of those who struggle with mental illness.
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