"Diet, sleep, exercise, relationships, med compliance, etc. They all roll into a ball of mental health balance that is crucial to staying on the healthy side."

Part bipolar disorder diary, part reflections on God, part sampling of poetry, and part self-help memoir, Melcher’s wide-ranging and honest exploration provides a unique perspective into the life of a man who, it seems, was born to write. “This is a conversational, journal-style, reflection-oriented book,” writes the author. “It often reads more like a conversation… basically, it is meant to chronicle my spiritual walk of thought, prayer and personal experiences.” The reader comes to know well the inner thoughts and poetic ponderings of Melcher, who grew up the youngest of nine in a Catholic family. He is very open and forthcoming about having been diagnosed, at age 17, with bipolar disorder and provides numerous examples—at times humorous—of how the highs and lows have impacted his life through college, in the church, in relationships, with his family, and more.

Melcher’s chronicle is not only a highly interesting book by an author who obviously has a gift for writing, but it also serves as a baseline source of information about bipolar disorder, both for the patient and in the lives of those close to him. “We all have our ups and downs, ins and outs,” writes Melcher. “It’s just that, with bipolar, the chemical imbalance can make these shifts more pronounced, destabilizing and longer-lasting.” But lest one begin to believe this book focuses solely on this specific mental disorder, there is just as much material here dealing with the author’s spiritual journey, as well as a plentiful helping of poems, a few photographs, and drawings, all of which lay bare for the reader the innermost ruminations of a man with a most interesting story to tell. With mental health issues meeting memoir, this hodgepodge of insights, personal stories, and religious commentary inspires with its poetry and poignant optimism.

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