Guest Blogger: Update from Martin Baker on Bipolar Disorder and Friendship

High Tide, Low Tide: A Very Human Condition

by Martin Baker

Click here to read Martin’s first guest post on his book High Tide Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder. 

In my last post for Bipolar Happens,  I described how the book I wrote with my American best friend Fran Houston came about, and the four year journey that brought our dream to fruition. I’d like to thank Julie for inviting me back to talk about how our book is changing lives.

“High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder” was published last September. Four months on, it is doing well and attracting positive reviews. We believe it has the potential to appeal not only to friends, but also partners, parents, and adult children keen to help those they love. Julie has also highlighted its relevance to siblings. “There is a great need in my work for such a book,” she wrote recently. “There is nothing out there for them.”

We’ve had interest from Mental Health First Aid instructors, and professional groups such as Online Events (www.onlinevents.co.uk) and The Counsellors Café (www.thecounsellorscafe.co.uk). A retired clinical psychologist with forty-five years’ experience wrote:

“All professional and pre-professional care-givers and those who suffer with illness can learn much from this collaborative memoir, and medical schools, graduate schools, hospitals, and other institutions that educate practitioners in the fields of health care would be wise to include it on reading lists.” (RZ)

One reader recommended it to his support worker, who bought it for his organisation’s resource library. Another is purchasing a copy for her therapist. Knowing our book is making a difference to people moves us profoundly.

“The vast range of emotions you will experience while reading this book might surprise you even if you have never experienced mental illness.” (MC)

“Anyone who has suffered from any form of depression, however minor, can relate to this book and will gain strength and reassurance that it is ok to feel the way they do.” (DB)

“The symptoms of mental illness can make it hard to maintain friendships; the stigma and shame around mental illness make it even harder. This book shows us that it’s okay to admit it’s hard, and it’s okay to struggle, but that it’s so worth it in the end.” (SL)

It might be surprising a book like ours has general appeal, but people find the strategies and approaches we describe directly relevant to their lives— even where no illness is involved.

(Hi, It’s Julie. I really believe this book can help siblings who grew up with a brother or sister who has bipolar disorder. Sibling relationships are often like friendships.) 

“Not only are they [the authors] helping us to understand invisible illness, they are helping us learn in this world of technology and instant gratification that we can use technology to enhance and deepen the relationships we have currently in our lives.” (L)

“But what surprised me most about this book was not the elegant writing, or the brutal honesty of the subject matter, but the fact that not only could I relate to it, but that I found so much in it that touched me at a personal level. Fran and Marty’s story, as unique as it is, could be anyone’s story. There will be moments as you read this book where you will recognise yourself. Thankfully, the strategies, and painful lessons they learned can be applied to our own lives and our own relationships.” (AG)

Such responses confirm our belief that “High Tide, Low Tide” is not really about me and Fran, or even mental illness. It is about being there for someone, and accepting each other for who you are. Ultimately, it is not about medical conditions, it is about the human condition.

“High Tide, Low Tide: The Caring Friend’s Guide to Bipolar Disorder” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and selected booksellers.

Click here to view High Tide, Low Tide on Amazon in the US. 

Click here to view High Tide, Low Tide on Amazon in the UK. 

Click here to view the book on the Barnes and Noble website. 

 

About the Author

Living in the north-east of England, Martin Baker is an ASIST trained Mental Health First Aider and Time to Change Champion. A member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mind, and Bipolar UK, he is primary caregiver and lifeline to his best friend and coauthor Fran Houston. Passionate about making invisible illness visible, Fran lives in Portland, Maine.

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