Book Review: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar

I just finished reading “Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar” by Natasha Tracy.  I first heard of this book by listening to an episode of the Psych Central show, “Discussion with Award-Winning Bipolar Author and Blogger” (if you have not listened to the Psych Central Show, I highly recommend it).  In the beginning of the book, the author admits to there being contradictions in various chapters.  This was something that I did find to be true, but only one time did it really stand out.

Lost Marbles taught me some terms in relation to mental illness that I had not heard before.  On page 85 Tracy discusses psychomotor agitation, and makes mention of psychomotor retardation.  I found this to be particularly interesting and did further research about psychomotor retardation.  Also in her book, Tracy talked about depression and sleep, and how the exhaustion of trying to police one’s thoughts, along with the relief of sleep, can contribute to the exhaustion often experienced during depression.

In addition to discussing depression, Tracy talks about hypomania in Lost Marbles.  On page 146, Tracy states: “I know it’s tough to admit one is hypomanic because many people enjoy parts of hypomania and don’t want it to go away, especially considering some of the alternatives.  People want to believe they’re just feeling ’good’.  Really good.  Which would be nice.”  This is a sentiment that I myself have felt and tried to explain to others.  This also shows one of the best parts of this book, Tracy herself has been dealing with depression/bipolar for decades, so in addition to her knowledge through research, she brings the reader personal examples and experiences.

By far, the most helpful part of Lost Marbles for me was on page 190, in which Tracy discusses the difference between a sick brain and a mind.  For so long I have felt that I am my brain, and therefore if my brain is sick, then I, as a person, am flawed.  Tracy’s distinction was such an “aha” moment for me, that I felt a sense of peace immediately after reading it.

The only aspect of this book that I found less than perfect was the excessive use of the word “one”.  I know that proper English does dictate using the word “one” instead of words like “you”, however, there were times in which I found it to be a bit distracting.  This could have simply been a result of the editing process, and I find that this being the only negative I can say about Lost Marbles, speaks highly of the quality of the information, thoughts, and ideas expressed.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about their own or a loved one’s illness, and feel confident that people with varying levels of knowledge will benefit from this read.  I have a link below to this book on Amazon.

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