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All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 ratings  ·  185 reviews
A reporter chases the biggest story of her life -- her husband's descent into mental illness.
Even as a reporter, Sheila Hamilton missed the signs as her husband David's mental illness unfolded before her. By the time she had pieced together the puzzle, it was too late. Her once brilliant and passionate partner was dead within six weeks of a diagnosis of bipolar disorder,
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published October 13th 2015 by Seal Press
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Jan 27, 2017 rated it did not like it
Do you ever read the introduction of a book and it spoils it for you? This one just has for me. In order to dramatise her book, the author wrote, "More than half of people with bipolar disorder commit suicide." Really? That would make it one of the most dangerous illnesses in the world with a 50% mortality rate. There are about 5.7 million people in the US with Bi-Polar disorder and about 1 million suicides (from all causes) per year. So I looked up this 50% figure

The sites I looked on said that
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a survivor of suicide (someone who's lost a loved one), it often feels like no one understands. Suicide isn't like other deaths - you go through the same process that you would grieving a regular loss, but with the added bonuses of guilt, shame, abandonment... I could go on.

I've never sought a book like this. It seemed pointless - why open that back up? I already know what it feels like. When the opportunity to read an advanced copy appeared, something told me to give it a shot. So,
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio, abandoned
I have always read fiction for entertainment, to travel in my mind to places I could not possibly go and sometimes to distract or quiet my sometimes chaotic and unsettled mind. But I began to read memoirs several years ago for a completely different reason. In this world that feels too busy, sometimes fake and often superficial, I have found that memoirs help me make a personal connection for a time to another REAL human being. Life can be incredibly challenging and often difficult and memoirs ...more
Rene Denfeld
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeously written, thoughtful book on losing a loved one to mental illness. I highly recommend it for anyone dealing with mental illness in the family, suicide losses, or just concerned and wanting to become educated on mental health issues.
Esther Gierman
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
As a professional who works with people who suffer from mental illness this is a moving read. As a woman who suffers with depression, it's enlightening and kind of fascinating. As the child of a man who has had suicidal ideations, it's horrifying and heartbreaking. Mental illness is REAL, and it is not talked about nearly enough. Break the stigma that is attached to it and let's start talking.
Coleen (The Book Ramblings)
A courageous and riveting read, All the Things We Never Knew is about the impact mental health has on individuals and their families, vulnerability, love, loss, and healing. Sheila Hamilton has shared a compelling and bold memoir with everyone who can relate in multiple ways, whether living with mental illness, or knowing someone who is. It is brutally honest, but humbling, and heartfelt. It’s beautifully written, and well composed.

I did take my time reading this memoir, because it is heavy and
Linda Lipko
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A successful TV/radio producer, Sheila Hamilton fell in love with an attractive, outdoorsman. When she met his parents, she sensed a mercurial temperament of his father, and a sense of coldness by his particularly attractive mother.

At the wedding, her sister mentioned that she thought her soon to be husband was very out of it and distant, non interactive on a day when he should have been very happy.

Soon after their marriage, Sheila became pregnant. Throughout the years, it was their daughter
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I missed much of the unfolding of my husband's mental illness. By the time I'd pieced together the puzzle of who David actually was, he was falling apart.

All the Things We Never Knew is the powerful true tale of Sheila Hamilton's struggle to understand and cope with her husband's mental illness and suicide and its effect on her family. With the brutal benefit of hindsight, Hamilton walks you through their tumultuous relationship in its entirety and into the difficult years following David's
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, favorites, 1, 2016
A deeply personal account by veteran reporter and on-air TV and radio personality Sheila Hamilton of her husband's struggle with mental illness, his diagnosis of bipolar disorder and his sad demise by suicide. An engaging and vibrant person, David was to all intents and purposes successful, happy and had a wonderful family - Sheila and daughter Sophie. But unbeknownst to anyone, including Sheila early on, and below the surface of his "I've got my act together" facade he suffered terribly from ...more
David Quinn
Overall this a solid and readable book about a heavy subject (mental illness/suicide). The author’s account felt honest and I liked the post scripts that ended each chapter. (The chapters followed the author’s experiences and each chapter concluded with a separate one or two page point relating to mental illness or suicide. Such sections were entitled “Stigma”, “Early Treatment”, “Signs and Symptoms” and so on. These sections augmented the book very well.)

I would like to rate the book higher but
Bonnie Brody
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it
When Sheila Hamilton first met David, it felt like love at first sight. She saw David as powerful, adventurous, creative, and extraordinarily sexy and handsome. For the first time in her life, she thought of having children and what it would be like to raise them with this man. David had some quirks but none that truly concerned Sheila. Sheila's sister Diane was wary of David and, even on their wedding day, warned Sheila against marrying him. She told Sheila that there was something wrong with ...more
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book relates a fascinating and scary narrative about the author's unusual ten-year marriage to a man with bipolar disorder and his ultimate death by suicide. It is a gripping story, marred only by clinical notes she inserts between each chapter of narrative, which leaves you on a cliff top and then gives you two or three pages of boring clinical description about bipolar disorder, how to spot signs of it, how many men/women get it, how many of them it kills.

I would have given this book five
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
I learned a lot from this book, and that is humbling and a bit scary as my job is to provide primary care to patients with serious mental illness. I work in a community mental health center, and most of my patients do not have the ability that the author's husband did, to function despite their illness. And, as a primary care physician, I have seen almost ubiquitous prescribing of anti-depressants, and considering how it harmed the author's husband, it's a significant wake up call. My patients ...more
Lee Weinstein
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written, insightful, sensitive book about mental health's impact on individuals, families and descendants. KINK-FM News Director not only shares the journey her ex-husband went through, but also new information about treating brain disorders. This is a highly sensitive, personal book, written by a journalist (so it's a lovely read also). Highly recommend.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on []sucide card4.25 Stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Books about suicide aren't fun reads by any stretch of the imagination.
But they are necessary.Over 41,000 people commit suicide every year. It is a silent epidemic as the families and friends left behind generally feel lost and alone in their grief. All the Things We Never Knew is
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have two distinct reactions to this book: one, the scientific information supported by empirical data is invaluable to people suffering through mental illness and for the people who love, live and work with them; two, there was way too much use of the word "I" in the storytelling.

I get that this is a memoir of sorts but Hamilton is not a sympathetic narrator. She comes across as shallow: "his Italian leather shoes", "his Italian slacks", "his Italian suit", "his Range Rover", "his red Columbia
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A tragic story of mental illness, suicide, and loss, yet Sheila Hamilton is able to build something meaningful from her grief. She tells her story with unflinching honesty and emotion, while also providing valuable information and resources for those struggling, or know someone who struggles, with mental illness. A necessary book to help erase the stigma and enable people to get help and begin healing.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I almost never give 5 stars, but this one earned it. I read it cover to cover this afternoon- I couldn't have put it down if I tried. Bipolar disorders runs in my family, and I've seen firsthand what can happen of it is left unchecked; I truly felt like I was in the author's shoes while reading this. The book does an excellent job of educating the reader about mental illness; it is SO important to be able to pick up on the signs that a loved one may be in need of help.
Kim Ess
Jun 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I started out really liking this book but I got a little tired of the author going on and on about her child. She just went a little too overboard on the loving mother scenes and they came off as too sappy for my taste. I couldn't make it through the last few chapters. I read up to funeral and had to stop because I just got bored with it.
Anne Martin
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
How many troubled persons do you know? yes, I mean people with mental issues. None, I know the answer. All your friends and their families are normal, this is obvious. Think a bit more, dig a little... really no one? what about the kid with trisomy you see regularly at the mall, or the husband of your friend who sounds a bit off, or the neighbor who moved away and had an institutionalized kid who came sometimes for a day, or the depressed friend who needs help, or... so many possibilities! In ...more
Rebekah Crain
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mental illness isn't anything new, but it's becoming a more recognized epidemic. As the author points out, the brain, like any other bodily organ, can fall victim to disease. Mental illness, in all its varieties, is just that- a disease. Unlike cancer, CF, or MS mental illnesses tend to traditionally be dealt with more privately and in fewer public spotlights. While being no more or less damning than any other disease, people tend to shy away from publicly acknowledging the existence of a mental ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I read this in preparation for an author visit which was unfortunately cancelled due to family illness. I saw this author at the PNBA last year and I'm excited to host her whenever she can make it out to the Peninsula.

The book is approachable and understandable. Relatable. The author writes about her family experience, and between each chapter is a short section-- a page or two, three at the very most-- that is more researchy: it has statistics or support group resources or some other
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Newswoman Sheila Hamilton didn’t know David Krol all that well when they married- they were married and she was pregnant within a year of meeting- but many couples commit to each other that rapidly. So it’s not like she knew nothing about him when she committed her life to his. And it was several years into the marriage before she realized David had something wrong with him. She felt he had quirks, but she trusted him. He was running his construction business while she was doing first TV and ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A courageous remarkable read "All The things We Never Knew: Chasing The Chaos of Mental Illness" authored by Shelia Hamilton recalls her battle against the mental illness that claimed the life of her husband David, as she struggled to maintain her own sanity and care for her young daughter. With one in five Americans developing mental illness during their lifetime, a suicide occurring every 13 minutes, Hamilton raises awareness that more must be done to overcome the stigma of mental illness that ...more
A truly moving memoir, written by the wife of a brilliant and exciting man who died at his own hand, only months after his bipolar diagnosis. I appreciate the details the author included because they accomplished her spoken goal in writing this book: to educate loved ones of those with mental illness, so that they can recognize the signs and no how to respond. And to fight for improvements to the mental health care system in our country, which truly is appalling at this point. Between each ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Heartbreaking. I was very moved by the candor of Hamilton sharing her life story from her falling in love with David Karol, their marriage, the birth of their daughter Sophie, his intelligence, the mental decline, mental illness and mental demons of David, the stresses placed on their marriage, his lies, his infidelities, and his suicide. My heart broke for David, Sheila and Sophie. David was a good man.
Bipolar disorder and its demons are in the genetic makeup of my husband's family. His mother
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sheila-hamilton
Very interesting read. Good perspective from someone who experienced the after affects of a suicide. I don't think those in the state of mind that they want to end their life are able to comprehend how their decision will affect the people they leave behind. They are focusing on ending their pain. In the book, the authorities that found Michael stated that he looked at peace when they found his body. There are probably so many people walking around in this world living in pain. It sounds as ...more
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sheila Hamilton tells her family's personal story with honesty, compassion for those who might have acted in other ways, and vulnerability, interweaving it with short summaries of what she's learned about mental illness and best practices in caring for those who have the condition. I find it especially interesting that children who are not able (refuse to) engage in counseling when they have been abused,lost a love one, or encountered some other trauma, are calmed and able to self-soothe by ...more
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 16 - Adult
All the Things We Never Knew is a heartbreaking and inspirational personal account of loving someone with a serious mental illness. Journalist, Sheila Hamilton, tells her story in a sparse, candid, poignant style that is easy to read, but hard to forget. Along with her story, Sheila Hamilton shares the shameful facts about the dismal state of mental health care in the U.S. and the desperation and frustration of families desperately seeking help for a loved one. Most importantly, she uses her ...more
Jaclyn Day
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This brutal, compassionate look at mental illness is one of the best books I’ve read on the topic. Hamilton’s background in news lets her switch between her personal story and the bigger story–of mental illness in this country more generally–and that’s so important to include. Hamilton’s raw reactions to her husband’s decline, and her constructive, thoughtful assessments in hindsight show how someone can talk about the complexities of mental illness without resorting to shaming. I think Hamilton ...more
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“If David had been diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, members of his family, school, and church would have undoubtedly mobilized support. His caregivers would have communicated his need for dietary changes, exercise, and/or insulin. This was not the case when David exhibited the earliest signs of depression. The myth persists that mental illness is a character flaw. It is my hope that one day disorders of the brain will be treated with as much care, compassion, and tenacity as diseases of any other organs in our bodies.” 2 likes
“Of all the research I've read about breakthroughs in mental illness, this message resonates most loudly. We need one another to lead healthy lives, and when faced with the prospect of illness, be it mental or physical, we need to believe others can help us through to the other side.” 2 likes
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