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Recommended Books


An Unquiet Mind, A Memoir of Moods and Madness
by Kay Redfield Jamison
This is the first book that I read after the loss of my daughter, Ally, on 7/6/06.  Her medical records showed that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 20 years old, however, she did not disclose this information to her friends or famiy.  This book was helpful to me because the author has bipolar disorder and writes from the perspective of someone with the illness.  It clarified in my mind how my daughter must have been feeling the day she took her life. I recommend this book to anyone who has a loved one with bipolar disorder, with depression, or if you suspect that they may have it, but you're not certain.

No Time to Say Goodbye, Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One
by Carla Fine
This book was written by a woman who lost her husband to sucide after being married to him for many years.  This book was not as helpful to me as
An Unquiet Mind but it still contains a lot of information from the perspective of someone who lost a loved one to suicide.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who lost a spouse to suicide.

Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD
by Robert O. Friedel, MD 
In Ally's medical files, a doctor had noted that she might have bipolar disorder with additional borderline personality traits.  In my quest to understand what BPD is, since I had never heard of it before, I read this book.  The author of this book lost his sister to choking on a piece of meat in a restaurant.  Throughout her life, she had suffered from severe depression, alcoholism, and suicidal thoughts.  The doctor has dedicated his life and career to researching and treating BPD.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a loved one that suffers from mood disorders or drug or alcohol addiction.

Silent Grief
by Christopher Lukas and Henry M. Seiden
This book was published ten years ago and I think that it's a bit outdated; however, there are several points that it focuses on that other books miss.  Christopher Lukas experienced the trauma of suicide when his mother died by slashing her throat when he was a young child.  His family kept her suicide a secret from him.  It wasn't until later in his life that Lukas discovered the truth about his mother's death.  He wrote Silent Grief in an attempt to educate people about the importance of talking about suicide.  He uses case studies and his own experience to demonstrate how dangerous silence can be.  He explains how to talk about suicide and how to listen to people that are grieving over the death of a loved one.  This book is worth reading if you need help learning to communicate about your loss.

Dispatches From the Edge - A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival
by Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt and Wyatt Cooper.  His brother, Carter, who was 2 years older than him, committed suicide at the age of 22 years old by jumping from the 14th floor balcony of his mother's penthouse.  This tradegy, plus the loss of his father when he was 10 years old, greatly impacted Anderson's life.  Anderson built a successful career as a news correspondant. However, this book tells another story - one of pain and loss, unanswered questions and feelings of guilt.  Feelings that suicide survivors typically experience.  I highly recommend this book to anyone that has lost a loved one to suicide because it demonstrates that suicide has no boundaries. It impacts people from all walks of life - rich or poor, famous or not.  Anderson offers inspiration by his candidness and his determination to tell the stories of people who have suffered and are in the midst of suffering.

Darkness Visible - A Memoir of Madness
by William Styron
William Styron, an award winning author, one of his most remarkable books being Sophie’s Choice, documents his decent into darkness. In the 1980’s, during the peak of his fame, he suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. William did not ever attempt suicide but was admitted into a mental health hospital where, after several months, he fully recovered. I think this memoir is worth reading for anyone who has lost someone to suicide because William leads the reader through his thought process of mental anguish. He describes his inability to sleep and his feelings of worthlessness, even though he had just won prestigious writing awards. He discusses his attempts at getting help from a psychiatrist and his numerous trials of a menagerie of medications – none of which helped. This story helps to explain how flawed our mental health system is and it displays that the system lets many people down – even those that are affluent.