Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi
Penguin Group (2013)
I purchased this book myself. This post contains affiliate links.
Melody Moezzi was born to Persian parents at the height of the Islamic Revolution and raised amid a vibrant, loving, and gossipy Iranian diaspora in the American heartland. When at eighteen, she began battling a severe physical illness, her community stepped up, filling her hospital rooms with roses, lilies, and hyacinths.
But when she attempted suicide and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there were no flowers. Despite several stays in psychiatric hospitals, bombarded with tranquilizers, mood-stabilizers, and antipsychotics, she was encouraged to keep her illness a secret—by both her family and an increasingly callous and indifferent medical establishment. Refusing to be ashamed, Moezzi became an outspoken advocate, determined to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and reclaim her life along the way.
As a fellow Bipolar sufferer, I was excited to read this book as I am to read any memoir of someone with Bipolar. It’s nice to read how others experience the disease. In general, the book was good, the story of her Bipolar told well.
I did have one thing I didn’t like though. A lot of the book is about her life while she was physically sick, not mentally. I think the point is to compare how people treated her when she was physically sick compared to mentally sick (as mentioned in the summary) but it was WAY too much. I wanted to read about mental illness.
One interesting thing I found out was that Melody Moezzi was featured in a Bipolar documentary on PBS called Ride the Tiger. I know it was her because she mentioned the same story of hula hooping for peace for hours.
Another interesting thing is that Melody is Iranian. I’ve read lots of books about bipolar including memoirs but this is the first one from a Muslim and it was interesting to see how her religion and lifestyle affected her experience with Bipolar.
If you are only looking for the story of her Bipolar, either skip the book or just be prepared to skip Part Two or read it anyways, whichever you choose. However if you want to know what her life was like in general, Bipolar and all, you’ll really enjoy the read.
Buy Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life from Amazon.com