There will be lots of quotes from the book. Beware. But I will try not to spoil it.
A must read for everyone who wanna enter into the mind of a bipolar patient. Tabitha Suzuma really knows her subject. When i was reading the book, I doubted if Tabitha is herself a patient. Books are that much direct on describing brain-work of Flynn. One of the realest work in mental illness case study books.
I would give anything to escape myself, Flynn thought, just for a day, just for a minute even. Just to know what it was like to think differently, to feel differently, and to not be me.
There are two books in the series. A note of Madness talks from the POV of Flynn, a bright pianist in a Royal College of Music. Flynn secretly love Jennah and Harry is his best friend. Rami is his brother.
One night he feel very energetic, he started running, make music, do wonder in piano playing, the same night. But next day, energy die awfully and he just fall on ground and unable to even come out of bed. Rami, his brother, after an event, take him to psychiatrist, where he diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Medication start with lithium but soon Flynn realise that lithium is making him dull. He do not have energy nor he want to rest. He is in middle of depression and maniac, which is dreadful bad level for a young pianist in a competition of Royal College of Music. He decides to leave lithium which make him sometime depressed and sometime maniac. He does things which he does not want to do. He fights with his friends.
Go Rami, he silently implored him. You can’t help me, nobody can. You’ll never understand. You have no idea what it is like to be inside my body, my brain, my mind! Trying to describe my life and feelings to you is like trying to describe colours to the blind, or music to the deaf. It’s simply not possible. We may exist side by side, we may share the same blood, the same upbringing, but our minds exist in different worlds. You exist in the world of the rational, the world where every problem has a logical solution, every question has an answer. Can’t you see that none of my problems have solutions, my questions can’t be answered? Nothing in my irrational brain can be solved by your common sense, none of my pain can be shared by your structured emotions? In my world black is white, one and one never makes two and agony and ecstasy lie irrevocably intertwined. The only way to understand it is to share it and I would never wish this existence upon anybody, not even my worst enemy. You may try and sympathize, help and care with all your soul, but you will never, never understand.
Here is a power of Tabitha Suzuma. She had written it so well that the troubles of Flynn feel real to reader. I was not reading it, I was experiencing all of it. The depression of Flynn, the up and downs of his thoughts and energy.
I feel as if someone close to me has died, or as if I’ve suffered some terrible loss. Yet nothing bad has happened and there is no reason for me to feel this way. A few days ago I believed I could write an opera, I was a musical genius and playing was effortless fun. I loved my friends, I loved my life. But now, just existing is pure agony and all I want is escape. Escape from this world, escape from this life, escape from myself.
This book mainly say how the person feel and what he thought when he is a bipolar patient.
While the second one “A Voice in the Distance“, focus on the effects on the family and friends a mental illness patient have. Flynn’s mother, father, girlfriend, brother, brother’s wife, Harry, Harry’s girlfriend. They all suffer. Harry, Rami, Rami’s wife and Jennah are very supportive BTW.
“What the hell’s going on?” Rami demanded.
“They won’t let me go!” Flynn yelled. “Get them off me, Rami, get them off me!”
“Hold on, old chap. What on earth’s going on, Harry?”
Whispering voices. “Get off me!” Flynn raged.
More whispers. Then Rami’s hand on the back of his head, Rami’s face leaning down, wide-eyed, sweaty, a little out of breath.
“OK, listen mate. I’m going to ask them to get off you on one condition. That you sit up and only sit up, not stand. If you stand up then both Harry and I will knock you to the floor and we’ll have to start all over again.”
“Why?” Flynn yelled. “Why?”
“It’s for your own good. …”
This book is from the POV of Jennah and Flynn, but Jennah get long chapters. Story continues from the end of first book. Flynn is in medication and doing well in college. He already has concert orders. He is popular.
Everything is fine. And then a serious maniac attack comes and Rami take him to his house. Suddenly the Flynn found himself in whirlpool of depression, maniac, anxiety and competitions. Flynn detached himself from Jennah. Then he tries to kill himself, but failed. He starts medication again, but this time lithium make his hand tremble. He want to participate in a competition. He lies to Jennah that he is taking lithium but Jennah found out and leave the house.
They say that depression makes you see everything in a negative light. I disagree. It makes you see things for what they are. It makes you take off the fucking rose-tinted glasses and look around and see the world as it really is- cruel, harsh and unfair. It makes you see people in their true colours- stupid, shallow and self-absorbed. All that ridiculous optimism, all that carpe diem and life-is-what-you-make-of-it. Words, just empty words in an attempt to give meaning to an existence that is both doomed and futile.
The consequences of Flynn’s illness do not remain to Flynn but it make life difficult for people who is attached to him. Flynn does not have control, ofcourse, but that is what story tell. How a illness make mess of talented person and most of the time he was a victim and he was also a cause everyone is suffering.
It’s just this pain, this unbearable mental pain – often it’s your body too, and every part of you hurts. But you don’t really care about your body, it’s your mind. Every thought hurts like hell. Everything you see is awful, twisted, pointless. And the worst – the worst of it is yourself. You realize you are the most ghastly person in the world, the most hideous, inside and out. And you just want to escape, you just want to get rid of yourself, of your suffering, of the pain inside your head. You want to shut out the world and yourself, for ever. A-and death is the only option left because you’ve been through this time and time again, thought and thought about trying to change yourself, the way you think, the way you behave, the way you live. Yet it always comes back to this – the fact that you just d-don’t want to be alive—
Characters, story, plot and theme, you will not put down the book. Harry, Rami and Jennah does not only provide support for the story, but they were fantastically moving the story.
“Oh God, Harry, I just don’t know what to do.”
“Have you ever thought..?”
“What?” I ask hopefully.
Harry hesitates. “That maybe there’s nothing you can do?”
It is not the answer I’m expecting. I stare at him.
“I mean, maybe – maybe this is what it’s going to be like when he gets ill,” Harry continues doggedly. “He’ll have an episode – either of mania or depression – his meds will be tweaked, therapy will be stepped up, and everyone will wait for it to pass. Which, of course, it will do.”
“And so – you’re saying I should just weather the storm?”
Harry nods slowly. “I think so, yes. Otherwise you’re going to wear yourself down, trying to help him, trying to make things better, when it’s basically out of your control.”
I look at Harry. Somewhere, at the back of my mind, I think he might have a point. But I don’t want to admit it. Not yet.”
A deep knowledge of depression made these books a success. In the end he give biggest sacrifice of his life.
I see a familiar figure lurking at the edge of the crowd. A long dark coat, tousled blond hair, a gaze so piercing it hurts. He smiles slightly and then steps away, steps back, turns away. No. The figure is moving, moving away across the street. As he reaches the other side, he turns back and looks at me. Raises his eyebrows and nods as if to say well done. Then he leaves, walking quickly down the road. I am going to burst. I am going to burst with disappointment, sorrow and pain. I scan the street desperately with my eyes. He does not come back. He does not come back.