Define Functioning has something like a book club, except we don’t always read the same things at the same time and you don’t have to have read the book in order to discuss its major takeaway themes. The Reading Room is a place to find out what other forum participants are currently reading, find out what we’ve read (with links to what those books made us think about), and find out what others write on their personal blogs.

If you’re reading something pertinent to the discussions on Define Functioning or write a blog and would like to include either in the Reading Room, please send ∃ an email at definefunctioning [at] gmail [dot] com.

What We’re Reading Now
Alan Smithee is reading Alice Miller’s Drama of a Gifted Child.

Erinire is reading Madness: A Bipolar Life by Marya Hornbacher.

Jess is reading When Rabbit Howls by the Troops for Truddi Chase.

Meredith is reading Symphony of the Brain: The Evolution of New Brainwave Biofeedback by Jim Robbins.

∃ is going big and slowly plugging away at Michel Foucault’s History of Madness.

Books We’ve Read
Carlat, Daniel. (2010). Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry — A Doctor’s Revelations about a Profession in Crisis. New York: Free Press. [Reading Response Post: 1]

Gray Sexton, Linda and Lois Ames, Eds. Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters. New York: Mariner Books, 2004.

Shannonhouse, Rebecca. Ed. (2000). Out of Her Mind: Women Writing on Madness. New York: The Modern Library. [Reading Repsonse Post: 1]

Simon, Lizzie. (2002). Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D. New York: Atria. [Reading Response Posts: 1 2 3]

Vonnegut, Mark. (2010). Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir. New York: Delacorte Press. [Reading Response Posts: 1 2]

Whitaker, Robert (2010). Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. New York: Crown Publishers. [Reading Response Posts: 1 2 3]

Blogs We Write
Thisiht: A Little Bit of Coffee with Your Morning Meds. Brought to you by Erinire.  In her own words:

To say that I’m an early-30s divorcee who spent 11 out of the last 12 months unemployed makes things seem so hopeless. To say that the other month out of the 12 was spent in a mental hospital makes things seem worse. And if you add in that spent most of 2010 living with my parents, well, shit, like, why are you even READING this, anyway? But the truth is that I’m relatively happy, a little cracked, and moving not just onward but upward. I love Korean food, cheap beer, short skirts and black tank tops. I’m addicted to Diet Coke, Camel Lights and caffeine. My humorous anecdotes are worth at least five bucks apiece. Lucky for you, I don’t charge.

The Daily Bipolar. Meredith Linden [twitter] describes herself thusly:

After being medicated for 6 years, this bipolar has begun decreasing and deleting meds (with doctor’s approval), all in the hopes of being unbipolar. She’s finally found a place for herself even if it changes periodically. Art is her passion, writing her need, and connection her desire.

Suicidal No More: Choosing to Live with Schizoaffective Disorder written by Jennifer, described here:

My name is Jennifer, and I live with Schizoaffective Disorder, formerly diagnosed as Schizophrenia. This blog, created in 2005, is about what goes on inside my mind. It is about coping, living, and advocacy. You will find information on what psychosis, delusional thoughts, and suicidality are like, by a person who has had those experiences. Most of all, you will find a story of hope. If you have a mental illness, know you are not alone.

Bipolartude:  A Personal Daily Blog on Recently Being Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder by JT who describes his journey thusly:

bipolartude (jt) began his blog not long ago and on the first day of his diagnosis of BP.  Previously, he was coping with MDD since 2008.  The trigger for the MDD was an experience of sexual harassment in the workplace that led to recovering  repressed, traumatic memories of childhood sexual abuse. He was briefly institutionalized after two suicide attempts.  While in recovery, he was the target of a hate crime the very next year.  This 1-2 punch brought back the MDD full force.  At this point, desiring to be free of all meds, jt experienced severe depression with a delusion.  In late 2010 and early 2011 he was basically  functioning until recent life events caused a full blown manic episode.  Although present, the cycles of hypomania/melancholia had been previously undiagnosed all his life.  The traumatic events of the past three years exacerbated his symptoms to where jt finds himself in the new world of MI.

Thoughts of Jess.  Jess says…

I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder in 2004.  I experienced months of depression and days-week long manic episodes. I haven’t had a depressive episode in a year and a half.  I am currently getting my Masters in clinical mental health counseling, and my blog first discusses my history with depression and mania, and now discusses my current life situation intermixed with my thoughts of various topics in psychology.