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Welcome to the Jungle: Everything You Wanted to Know about Bipolar But Were Too Freaked Out to Ask

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  445 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Bipolar is one of the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric conditions among teens and twenty-somethings--yet there are very few books out there written specifically for young people experiencing mental illness for the first time.
"Welcome to the Jungle" (Conari Press, May 2010) fills that gap with its upfront, empowering approach to the challenges of being diagnosed with bi
Paperback, 203 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Conari Press (first published 2010)
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Jun 07, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I consider this book to be the "missing link" in the bipolar genre. It is frank and witty, and does not shy away from any bipolar-y issues. I admire the author's ability to tackle tough subjects (hospitalization, meds, suicide) with humor and compassion and without trivializing or over-clinicalizing them.

I did have one beef with the book and that's why it got 3 stars instead of 4. There is a section about how to take a "break" from your medication. Encouraging this struck me as a tad irresponsi
Kristen Adkins
No real answers. I am three years into bipolar diagnosis, and I am probably not the person this book is intended. If you want serious information about Bipolar Disorder, I would suggest The Bipolar Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz or Psychology Today: Taming Bipolar Disorder by Lori Oliwenstein.
Apr 26, 2014 Cedricsmom rated it really liked it
Hilary is hilarious. Shes done her homework and she has the credibility. Good writer, too. This book is good for anyone with questions about bipolar disorder, not just those who have it. Its informative, well researched, authentic and fun.

But I took off one star because Hilary wont come clean about drugs and bipolar, recreational drugs, that is. She wont straight up tell people that recreational drugs need to be off limits if you have bipolar, and that includes pot. Shes on the fence about it. L
Liz Miller
Jan 06, 2011 Liz Miller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended
This book is informative (in matters pertaining to Bipolar Disorder), witty and easy to read. It doesn't include many statistics, which is actually a bit refreshing. I recommend it!
Terri Patrick
Apr 14, 2012 Terri Patrick rated it it was amazing
This goes beyond Bipolar

As Ms. Smith states on page 158; "Your friends and family might know less about bipolar than you think, so explain it to them...Most people who don't have one are fascinated by mental illness. They've never experiences mania or psychosis and would love to hear your stories." Ms. Smith also advises lending them books, or buying them books - "How about this one?" I totally agree!

I did not read this book to learn about Bipolar. I read this book because I like Hilary Smith as
Amberle Heath
Jan 21, 2013 Amberle Heath rated it it was amazing
If you've just been diagnosed with Bipolar, this is one of the first books you need to read. It's written like you're talking to a friend; Hilary gives the facts, but does it in a humorous and down-to-earth way, often making fun of herself in the process. The only drawback of this in my opinion, is that Bipolar NOS isn't talked about at all; she only mentions Bipolar I, II & Cyclothmia, and I really feel NOS needs just as much attention as any of the others on the spectrum. At any rate, this ...more
Ian Reynir
Nov 05, 2012 Ian Reynir rated it it was ok
I found this book to be very typical of "coping-based" strategies. Most of the information is accurate for the younger crowd and the writing is good. I am concerned with those who take the "strictly coping" approach. Overall, this book was ok, but Marohn's book and Ian Reynir's book has more depth for people who are higher functioning bipolars.
Jan 15, 2012 Quinn rated it did not like it
Though I commend the open, unbiased way this book looked at several topics related to bipolar disorder (like the prospect of taking psychedelic drugs, for instance) I was really put off by the humor. Normally I'm all about the humor, I guess I just found this more frustrating (and condescending at times) than funny. I might just feel that way because I've been around the block a few times and none of this information was new to me, but I couldn't take the information or the humor seriously, unfo ...more
Mar 21, 2011 pri rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
meh. i was hoping this would be an antidote to a lot of stodgy heavy writing on the subject. but it was a little too disney parade "hey! come along with me and clap your hands! are you ready now! let's go!" so... not helpful.

quote: "At the end of the day, only you can decide if being on meds and stable is worth the loss of your old self. But don't make a false god of that old self; chances are that hindsight has bumped it up a few notches from how it really was. And you can never stay the same w
Sigrid Ellis
As author Hilary Smith says in her introduction, most books on mental disorders seems to be written for the stressed-out family who are at their wit's end. Or they are confessional tell-all memoirs. This book, then, fills a gap -- it's a straightforward, humorous examination of what life with bipolar is like, written by someone with a bipolar diagnosis for others who have been recently diagnosed. The book is wry, sarcastic, and genuinely informative. I quite liked it.
Jan 20, 2014 Hanna rated it liked it
a pretty good introductory book about bipolar disorder for teens and young adults. it's not very informative for someone who already has a grasp on things like myself. but ten years ago, this book would have been great. the writing style is very conversational, making it easy to understand and relate to. only reason it really gets 3 stars from me is bc sometimes clinical explanation and advice is needed (within the wit) to give a book about bipolar disorder an authoritative air.
Sep 02, 2016 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I've read on Bipolar Disorder. It's not only informative, but also written from a standpoint that is completely relatable. The author's voice is amazing and put me at ease, it was like talking to a friend. I highly recommend this for anyone that has BD or anyone that has a friend or loved one that has been diagnosed.
Jan 01, 2017 Felicia rated it really liked it
It is, unfortunately, hard to find books about Bipolar disorder that aren't overly clinical, very obviously outdated and wrong, and/or condescending. This book manages to be informative, funny, humanizing and easy to understand. It also doesn't promise to be more than a way of looking at and thinking of bipolar which I loved. The author doesn't make any big conclusions about it. She states facts and gives you ways of thinking about bipolar and tells you how she deals with. Basically she reminds ...more
Nov 23, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it
This book is wonderful in that it addresses a serious subject with some humor. It's not easy to be diagnosed with bipolar and Ms. Smith does a great job in talking about what to expect. She also offers ideas for working through potential issues.
May 08, 2012 Allison rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to know more about bipolar
Seriously, I think it's the best book I've read so far this year. Granted, if I had no interest in mental illness, I seriously doubt I'd feel this way. Also, if I didn't have a good sense of humor, Smith's style of writing could be considered offensive. However, having wrestled with depression for 35 of my 44 years to-date, if there's one thing I've learned it's to not be deathly serious about it or about anything. Humor is our friend.

Welcome to the Jungle has great advice on dealing with the da
Mar 30, 2016 Lori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, life, nonfiction
LOVED IT. My husband was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and this is the first book I've read (of several) that made me laugh out loud. Much of the advice given is the same as in the more technical/clinical books but in a way more approachable and humorous way. I feel like the section on going off your meds was well-written; it seems like a given that people with bipolar disorder (like others on powerful meds) will try to go off them sometimes. Smith's advice is to really really think a ...more
Obitelj Maravić
Jun 28, 2014 Obitelj Maravić rated it really liked it
Simple, but no stupid. Guide through bipolar terminology without banalising the subject.
I liked examples how person diagnosed with bipolar can feel/act and what options are there to feel/act better. If you do not where to start this is a definitely good one. Try and experiment until you find what works for you.
Also, it handles how to talk with your dearest and nearest about bipolar.
Overall, very good book. If you've been diagnosed or know somebody who is and want to understand what's going on .
May 08, 2013 Norelle rated it it was amazing
Soooo funny!I had a great laugh every single section. I especially loved the 8 ways to prove you are not bipolar , the diagnosis being like a snake eating a unicorn tattoo analogy and the I'm not manic ,I'm just hypy ...such a laugh.
Hilary does a brilliant job describing Bipolar Disorder, it left me feeling better about life on this rollercoaster.This is THE book to give to people who need to understand how Bipolar affects everyday most people out there could benefit and I ca
Debbie Hoskins
Oct 12, 2011 Debbie Hoskins rated it really liked it
This is a funny book. It has a lot of very practical advise and will get you laughing. Of course if your in that all I'm going to do is read books on bi-polar and not go to the grocery store. This is not what you should be doing.
The chapter on eating healthy was good though I was refusing to eat that day, but then I did eat healthy the next day.
The chapter on insurance dates the book, so if Hilary wants this to be a classic she would have to update the book. However this chapter is helping a lot
Tom Franklin
Aug 19, 2010 Tom Franklin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is exactly the book I wish had been written 10+ years ago when our son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I would have ordered two copies--one for him and one for us.

Hillary Smith writes as someone who has lived with bipolar disorder for many years. She's lived the ups and downs, the cycling, the desire to get off of her meds and all of the mental and lifestyle changes that come along with the diagnosis. She's honest, to-the-point and, all the while, presenting her information in a friend
May 21, 2011 Kara rated it it was amazing
This book was awesome. It's lighthearted and more directed at teens/college kids than adults, but I think ANYONE who has bipolar disorder should consider reading it. There is great, practical advice, including a section about "what to do if you go off your meds," which NO ONE ever addresses, and is common among sufferers of bipolar. (FTR, the author doesn't recommend it, but has great practical advice for how to keep yourself balanced if you do, and what to do if the wheels come off while you're ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
Presented information about bipolar disorder in a lighthearted fun way. Intended for young adults and especially recently diagnosed people. I got most of the jokes expressions and people she used to frame the facts about bipolar, but not all. Guess I am a little too old. Don't get me wrong I thouroughly enjoyed the book and it contained well researched facts and was very useful. I am glad I purchased it.
Blame Bipolar
Feb 25, 2012 Blame Bipolar rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Twenty-somethings w/ Bipolar
This was the first book I read after I was diagnosed, and I appreciated that the author was close to my own age because she focused on how bipolar disorder affects young adults. It covers situations such as the basics of the disorder, dealing drugs & alcohol, college, work, dealing with friends, etc. The author does all of this with a sense of humor and sarcasm, which fits my personal taste and is comforting because it takes away some of the darkness of living with bipolar disorder.
Dec 09, 2015 Jackie rated it it was amazing
This book is written from a view and in a manner that you can immediately relate to, which makes it easier to accept the advice, or at least consider it. I took a composition book FULL of notes. She gives source recommendations - websites, books, organizations. And I trust it because so many of her experiences match my own. No, they're not exact, but they're similar enough that they resounded in me, gave a new level of understanding. Great book.
Mar 12, 2013 Craig rated it really liked it
I hope you do not need to read this book. But if you, or someone you know, is bipolar, you should read it. Those not bipolar will gain greater understanding, and those that are will learn that they are not alone.

I would have given it a higher rating, but I found its treatment of recreational drugs and "medication holidays" just a little too frivolous for such a serious topic.
Feb 17, 2014 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I was planning on eventual long writing a book about bipolar disorder that was both informative and fun. However, Hilary Smith beat me to the punch and wrote a book that's incredibly hilarious, irreverent, and made me feel completely at ease with my illness. She's a bit of a potty mouth, but its definitely worth the read.
Apr 06, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book!!!

This book is wonderful for a person that has just been diagnosed with Bipolar. I enjoyed Hilary Smith's personality as she described her diagnosis. If you are looking for a book that is straight to the point and without all the confusion found with medical terminology than this is the book for you.
Sharlene Boyd
Mar 19, 2013 Sharlene Boyd rated it really liked it
Just finished reading, excellent book I totally pissed myself laughing through most of it the only draw back is the american content but that is because things are handled diffently in the states than in Australia.

Feel like I understand the condition better know, great to know people think the same way I do

Thanks Hilary
Danie Tanaka
Nov 13, 2011 Danie Tanaka rated it it was amazing
The best book about bipolar for other bipolar people OR people that love and care about them. Written by a bipolar woman who really shares her perspective and NAILS IT! If you suffer from bipolar or know someone who is, some insight into who they are and who they they suffer--MUST READ!!!!!
Maria Halliday
May 11, 2015 Maria Halliday rated it really liked it
An easily-accessible book for those who have bipolar and can (or need to) take a break from overly medical information. I especially enjoyed chapter 10 kindle version, anyway) about alternative help. It doesn't offer anything better than meds, but some interesting. Ideas that were definitely new to me.
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“if you have bipolar disorder, your life is going to include some periods of crushing depression, some periods of whacked-out mania or hypomania, a whole lot of meds, perhaps a psychotic episode here and there, and maybe a hospitalization or two (or ten). You can experience all those things and still have a fun, meaningful, productive life.” 2 likes
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