Debut author Samantha Smirin would like her book to do well and reach as many people as possible. This is not because she wants to become famous or rich. “My ego is not activated in this,” she says. It is because she wants to raise awareness of the ravages caused by her illness, bipolar mood disorder, when it is not managed properly. Smirin was diagnosed with the disorder at 18 when she was in London and she was confined in a psychiatric unit. Her parents had to travel to the UK to help her get home. She tells her story with searing honesty in her book Life Interrupted  — A Bipolar memoir, which was published in April.

According to the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag), bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a physical illness marked by extreme changes in mood, energy and behaviour. “The person’s mood usually swings from overly ‘high’ and irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods of normal mood in between,” says Sadag. Over 4-...

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