Terri Cheney seemed to have it all. She was a lawyer at a big law firm, lived in Beverly Hills and drove a Porsche. However, at times Cheney was crouched under her desk at her law firm unable to move. Other times she was deliriously happy, flying kites off the edge of a cliff in a massive thunderstorm.
Like 10 million fellow Americans, Cheney suffers from bipolar disorder, characterized by deep depression and manic highs. Like many people who suffer from bipolar disorder, she kept her illness hidden from her co-workers and many friends. Manic: A Memoir is the story of Cheney's horrifying yet hopeful fight against the disease that nearly took her life.
Manic: A Memoir is a shockingly raw story. Cheney writes openly and honestly about her life. She is not afraid to let the reader into her world of numerous psychotropic medications and their side-effects, relationships ruined and savings accounts dwindled. Cheney tells her story episodically rather than chronologically, which adds to the power of the events.
The incidents in Manic are not defined by time, but rather what mood Cheney was in. Manic? Hypo-manic? Depressed? Stable? In writing this way, the author shows the different mood swings a person with bipolar illness can go through and the dramatic effect this can have on his or her personal and professional life.
Cheney graduated from Vassar and then received her law degree from U.C.L.A. Working at one of the top entertainment law firms she represented Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, among others. Teri's dying father saw her as a drug addict because of all the medications she took in an attempt to stabilize her condition. Because of his beliefs he outrageously wrote her out of his will, a graphic example of how bipolar disorder can tear apart a relationship.