Modern Madness

An Owner's Manual


By Terri Cheney

Formats and Prices




$34.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around September 8, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Terri Cheney ripped the covers off her secret battle with bipolar disorder in her New York Times bestselling memoir, Manic. Now, in this “stigma-buster” and “must-read”, she blends a gripping narrative with practical advice (Elyn Saks).

Cheney flips mental illness inside out, exposing the visceral story of the struggles, stigma, relationship dilemmas, treatments, and recovery techniques she and others have encountered. Sometimes humorous, sometimes harrowing, Modern Madness is the ultimate owner’s manual on mental illness, breaking this complex subject down into readily understandable concepts like Instructions for Use, Troubleshooting, Maintenance, and Warranties.

Whether you have a diagnosis, love or work with someone who does, or are just trying to understand this emerging phenomenon of our times, Modern Madness is a courageous clarion call for acceptance, both personal and public. With her candid and riveting writing, Cheney delivers more than heartbreak; she promises hope.


Getting Started


I WAS SITTING NEXT TO Michael Jackson, admiring his feet. Michael Jackson had surprisingly big feet—farm boy feet, with some heft to them. They didn’t match the rest of him: the delicately chiseled nose, the whispery voice and waif-like persona. I was mesmerized. I kept picturing him defying the laws of gravity and motion, sliding up and back and off the floor like he was wearing invisible ice skates, ice skates with wings.

Looking back, there was indeed something extraordinary in that room, only it had nothing to do with Michael Jackson’s feet. It was the mere fact that I was sitting there as one of his attorneys, representing him in a big, messy lawsuit involving one of the most successful albums of all time. That was me, all right—counselor to the stars. The voice of reason and restraint, in a gray Armani suit and a gorgeous white silk shirt I’d bought especially for the deposition, because it had these long, elegant French cuffs that would just about hide the virulent red slashes across my wrists I’d acquired from a recent suicide attempt.

Hiding had become an art form with me. I covered up the damning signs of depression with a thoroughness and frenzy that is painful to remember: pleadings prepared by flashlight in the dead of night, so no one could see how ravaged I looked; prolonged disappearances due to increasingly fictional ailments; lies piled upon tottering piles of lies. But the mania was a different story. The mania was always on full display.

I thought faster, I wrote better, I could argue the devil out of his soul when I was manic. I was glorious, bionic, at the top of my game, and I knew it and used it against anyone who came too close. Sex was mine for the asking, money and influence, too, and I owed it all to mania—including my proximity to Michael Jackson and his like. But no matter how lofty and impervious I appeared, depression could swoop in and lay me low without a word, without warning: the devil demanding a rematch.

Then it was back to hiding all over again.

Bipolar disorder wasn’t a familiar term back then. It was still called manic depression, and it was something someone’s batty old uncle once had. Certainly no one admitted to it by choice, and I wasn’t about to start. Nobody knew what was going on with me—for a long time, I didn’t even know myself. I just knew that something was terribly wrong; that something had always been terribly wrong; and that the world wasn’t ready to find that out.

It took a whole lot of horrible to bring me to truth: serious run-ins with the law, immense amounts of alcohol, multiple suicide attempts, demolished relationships, financial ruin (mania’s costly gift), and all the other detritus that accompanies a severe mental illness. I finally grew desperate enough to seek help, and after nearly a decade was awarded a diagnosis. But that did little to stop the entropy. I wound up in a mental hospital at UCLA, for three unimaginably long years and multiple rounds of electroshock therapy. That’s when everything really started.

It was a frightening, at times mournful and demoralizing place: gray walls, gray faces, the omnipresent sound of doors being locked. I remember looking around me, wondering why nobody seemed to be getting well. Even the brightest, most impressive patients struggled, often in tears, to describe their pain. The less advantaged simply lapsed into a zombie-like silence. I felt suffocated by all the things that weren’t being said, especially by me. Then one day it dawned on me. It wasn’t the patients’ fault. They simply didn’t have a vocabulary for their illness. Why should they? Mania, suicide, psychosis—such things were hardly the stuff of polite conversation. None of us knew how to express ourselves because mental illness was a long, inarticulate howl. It needed a voice. It needed words.

And so, to save myself, I started to write. I wrote down everything I knew about bipolar disorder: the symptoms, the treatments, the various theories of origin. I read everything I could lay my hands on, even attended Grand Rounds lectures with the doctors. Then I threw away all the clinical stuff and wrote what it felt like inside my own body, how the illness skewed my view of the world. Seven years later, I emerged with a book called Manic.

Never in a million years could I have expected how favorable the response to Manic would be. It catapulted to the New York Times bestseller list within a month. It was optioned by HBO for a TV series and translated into eight foreign languages. I was deluged by messages from people all over the world, asking me for advice, inviting me to speak, begging me for comfort, and always, always, telling me their own stories. During those proverbial fifteen minutes, I was the poster child for bipolar disorder. For the very first time in my life, I was no longer hiding—I was out, in a very big way.

But my story doesn’t end there. I didn’t stop being bipolar, just because I’d tasted some success. For sanity’s sake, I’ve had to make some sweeping changes. I’ve stopped practicing law to write full time and act as a mental health advocate, in order to satisfy my need to do something worthwhile and lessen the stress that had kindled my illness into full flame. But the biggest change by far has been my willingness to accept that I have a condition that isn’t yet curable, and that may require a lifetime of treatment.

I don’t always see this as a liability. I recognize the tremendous impact bipolar disorder has had on my life, for richer or poorer, and there is a surprising amount of richer in that equation. Without it, I doubt I would possess those qualities I truly like in myself, like creativity, empathy, and an outsider’s eye. It gives me great joy to say this: after all these years, all this suffering, this incandescent struggle, I’ve finally reached a point, not only of acknowledgment, but of ownership. This is what happened to me. This is my truth.

My story is bigger than bipolar disorder, though. I’ve come to realize that I belong to a much vaster community: the mentally ill. Regardless of the particular diagnosis, we are all dealing with divergent experience, a life beyond the norm. Stigma encompasses all of us, as do pressing issues with relationships, coping strategies, etc. That’s why I’ve aimed this book at the broader target of “madness,” a word I know may be controversial, but that I frankly adore. It assumes a spark of genius, a familiarity with things not quite of this commonplace world.

I recognize, from the countless heartfelt stories and questions I’ve been privy to over the years, just how complicated and frightening mental illness can be, for everyone concerned. We all need explanations, illustrations, analysis, instructions on how to build a better life in the face of exceptional challenge. Hence, this owner’s manual—and I hope it can provide some of that for those who are seeking solace. This includes not only individuals with mental health issues but also the people who love and sometimes want to strangle them; the health care professionals trying to help; and the millions of other people whose lives are affected by mental illness in one form or another and don’t understand what it is, or more important, what the hell to do about it. I offer this book to you.

The biggest advantage I can claim as a storyteller is that I’ve been there and I know the terrain. I write what I know, and I know I’ve been lucky. I should be dead a dozen times over, yet something has conspired to let me act as a witness to my inexplicable survival. But then, I’m no stranger to amazing events; I’ve met quite a few on my travels.

Take the phenomenon in that long-ago conference room. The wonder isn’t how Michael Jackson could dance like an angel on farm boy feet. It’s that I’m still alive to write about that moment, all these many years later, with some degree of compassion for the young woman who sat at that conference table, tugging at her shirt cuffs to hide her scars. There was a lot of peculiar talent in that room, and not all of it belonged to Michael Jackson.

The time has come to own it.

System Overview


“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

The latest edition of the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM-5”), describes mania as “a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently goal-directed behavior or energy.” Clinical symptoms include

• Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity;

• A decreased need for sleep;

• Pressured speech or talking more than usual;

• Racing thoughts;

• Flights of ideas;

• Distractibility; and

• Engaging in risky behaviors, like unrestrained buying sprees and sexual indiscretions.

Mania used to be defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “excessive involvement in pleasurable activities…,” which sounds fabulous, until you get to the end of the phrase: “that have a high potential for painful consequences.” That’s one of the problems with mania—it starts out feeling so great, you never think about how it might end.


Only Monday, and already it was a lost week. The piles of important and neglected papers on my desk had copulated in the night, producing even more piles. My house was a shambles—how long since I’d cleaned it?—and I was too tired to snap to and take charge. I went to bed cranky and frustrated. But when I woke the next morning I felt it—that dazzling surge of energy that makes me long for a project, any project, to devour. I ripped through the tedious papers, making brilliant observations and uncanny deductions, signing my name with a flourish. True, my handwriting was on the verge of illegible, and the words just kept coming and coming at me till I had to scream to make them stop—but still. The whole mess was over and done with, in less time than it takes to squish a gnat.

Then I turned to the house. Not a speck of dirt or dust could escape my darting eyes. I Lysoled and Windexed and Pledged and Febrezed until the entire place reeked of ammonia and pine. Such a heavenly scent—proof positive that whatever else may be wrong with me, I am irrefutably clean. The rewards began to diminish, of course, when the whole house was so spotless I couldn’t find anything else to polish or dust. That’s when I got out the Q-tips, so I could get to that last tiny crevice inside the microwave. That’s when I found the magnifying glass, so I could kneel down on the bathroom floor and inspect the grout between the shower tiles. That’s when I ripped off my rubber gloves and scrubbed everything I’d already scrubbed with raw bleach, until my knuckles were bloody.

That’s when clean began to feel dirty.

I had to get dressed and get out of there, away from the suffocating fumes—some place big enough to let me breathe. I’d stripped off all my clothes long ago because they constricted my movements; and I wasn’t quite high enough to go outside naked, although it made a lot more sense to me than putting on something I’d only have to remove again later. My tousled hair was up in a ponytail, my face and body covered in sweat. But my mirror lied as sweetly and smoothly as a best friend.

“You look so beautiful,” it cooed. “You look better now than when you were thirty. Any man would be lucky to get you.” So in lieu of my normally clean-scrubbed looks, I lavished my eyes with thick black mascara, swiped on a vampier lipstick, a bolder blush. I painted my toenails in Pirate’s Blood red, then showcased them in the cruelest pair of stilettos I own. Jeans I’d bought two sizes ago were somehow slithered into. The woman in the mirror gazed back at me with complete and absolute approbation.

I shudder to think what I must have looked like, all dolled up for the kill. I live in L.A., so I’ve seen my fair share of women who refuse to acknowledge their age. It’s never pretty. Nor am I, when I look this way and act like a tigress on the prowl. It’s embarrassing, and it isn’t me, except it’s wearing my face and fingerprints—which means I’m ultimately responsible for any havoc that may ensue.

That didn’t deter me. I got in my car and sped down to the Sunset Strip, which may be the only place in town where I truly belong when I’m manic. It’s even gaudier than I am, and the flashing throb of the neon signs is music to my heart. I cruised the Strip looking for diversion, feeling the energy shimmer up like heat from the road. I started to drive faster, weaving in and out of the heavy traffic, ignoring the horns that kept honking at me. I opened the windows and let the hot night air flow through my car. It ruffled my hair, so I stopped to smooth it in the mirror, and a car slammed into me from behind.

I was livid, until I saw how handsome the driver was. He was very angry—“What the hell do you think you’re doing, stopping right in the middle of traffic like that?”—but I summoned up my most dulcet voice, confessed that it was all my fault, and would he like to join me for a drink while we exchanged insurance information? The Chateau Marmont was just a block away… He looked surprised, but agreed. I can’t remember what happened several dirty martinis after that, only that I woke up somewhere in the Hollywood Hills and my manic bravado had completely deserted me. I looked at his sleeping face on the pillow and wondered who and how and now what?

Quickly tiptoeing out, I found my way back down to the Strip and eventually back to my house. My fickle mirror didn’t welcome me this time. I looked just like the mess I was: mascara smeared around my eyes, hair a rat’s nest, clothes rumpled—what remained of them. My underwear was missing, or had I even worn any that night? Once again, she—that harridan who steals my face—had triumphed, leaving me feeling small and lost and terrified.

I tried to recall exactly what had happened, but it all blurred together in a messy montage. The only reliable evidence I had was my car’s mangled bumper and a Chateau Marmont cocktail napkin in my purse, bearing some indecipherable manic squiggles. Not much, but it sparked my memory. Bits and pieces slowly came back to me—his lips, my purrs, those elusive panties—and I burned with shame. Maybe a shower would help, I thought. As I stepped in, I noticed how immaculate it was: crystal clear glass, gleaming chrome, shining tiles. But it didn’t matter. No matter how hard I tried—and I try awfully hard, every time—I just couldn’t scrub myself clean.


When I accepted the offer, I was perfectly sane. It seemed like an excellent opportunity, a career building block, although the prestige far outweighed the money. I’d been asked to speak to 350 federal judges in Oklahoma about mental illness and the law. I knew a lot about mental illness, but as a lawyer I’d limited my practice to the very narrow field of entertainment and intellectual property. So I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I had to say about the topic. But the conference was over a month away, and I figured if I could prepare for trial in a month, I could handle this.

For a brief, uneasy moment I remembered what high-pressure trial prep always did to me. But I was so much better now and besides, I was thrilled to be invited. A lot of my cases had been in federal court, and I was in thrall to its mystique. Federal judges are the rock stars of the judiciary. Unlike state court judges, they’re appointed for life, so they operate in a realm beyond censure or esteem; they can be as nasty, or as nice, or as eccentric as they damn well please. But for all its perks and glamour, this tenure comes with an awesome responsibility: they hold the Constitution in their hands.

For the next two weeks, I walked around in an ambient glow of anticipation. I treated myself to a new black suit in a more conservative cut than I already owned. I liked how professional it made me look—it erased all the years of mental hospitals and suicide attempts and multiple DUIs and electroshock therapy. In that suit, I had no sordid history. I blended in with the rest of society—better yet, the serious and sober part.

Ten days before the conference, I finally overcame my deeply engrained habit of procrastination and buckled down to research. The first night, I worked until midnight. The next night, until 2 a.m. The next until 4 a.m., and then I just stopped sleeping. I didn’t worry that this would make me manic. I felt fine. Better than fine—I felt fabulous. In fact, the loss of sleep didn’t hurt my performance at all: with each successive hour I grew more and more creative. Thoughts bloomed like roses; I simply had to reach out and pluck them.

The central thrust of my speech was about the increasingly urgent need for diversion programs and mental health courts. Normally, I wouldn’t find this very scintillating, although I knew it was an important and worthy subject. But I was so enmeshed in my beautiful words and facts and figures, I couldn’t imagine anyone not being moved to tears by what I had to say. I thought it was surely the best speech ever written on the subject, and was certain to rouse the judges to action. Why, who knew what impact I’d have on the nation?

With the speech out of the way, all I had to do was pack. I pulled the black suit out of my closet and shuddered with revulsion. Seriously? I was going to wear that? It looked like I was attending the funeral of somebody I didn’t like very well. Emergency action was required—I needed edgy, radical styling that shouted “success.” Simply put, I needed Barney’s.

When I’m not manic, I never go into Barney’s. I don’t even look at the windows. It’s so high-end it both awes and repulses me. But I quickly found my desire: an Ozbek original, the saleswoman said in a hushed tone as she gingerly handed it over. I didn’t know who Ozbek was, but the suit was certainly original. It was silvery black with long, swooping sleeves and a plunging neckline and narrow pants that were notched at the ankle. It looked sexy with nothing on underneath, but I bowed to the occasion and bought a wisp of white shirt.

I had a mild coronary when the saleswoman told me the price. My entire wardrobe wasn’t worth that. But what was money? I’d always make more. After all, 350 federal judges were eagerly awaiting my wisdom, and who knew where that would lead? I walked out of Barney’s on a cloud of confidence.

Somewhere high over Arizona I got a headache. The lack of sleep was beginning to prey on my nerves. I took two Benadryl, hoping they would soothe my throbbing head and knock me out, but they did just the opposite: they made me wide awake, wired, and angry. Angry that the judges were putting me through such an ordeal: all the angst, the preparation, the anxiety, the expense. Who did they think they were, anyway?

I thought back to the federal magistrate who had handled all the pretrial issues in my big Michael Jackson case. I constantly had to appear before him, usually to defend Michael’s inability to attend some legal proceeding. He’d rip into me in front of opposing counsel and the rest of the courtroom. “Look, Little Missy,” he’d say. “I know your firm, and I’m sure they wouldn’t approve of such B.S.” It was hard enough being the only woman amongst all the male attorneys; “Little Missy” made it almost impossible.

The gall of them, that murder of crows, to call me “Little Missy” and then expect me to meekly bow to their demands. They wanted me to opine on mental illness and the law? Fine. I jettisoned diversion programs on the spot. Instead, I’d give them a rip-roaring example of how the law—their precious, high-minded, beautiful law—had cruelly trampled on the rights of the mentally ill. In short, I’d tell them the story of me.

I spent the rest of the night drafting a new speech, ignoring any qualms about changing the topic without notice. Then I showered and tried to camouflage my pallor and the purple bruises under my eyes. I pulled out the new suit and poured myself into it. It looked a whole lot funkier in Oklahoma than it had in Beverly Hills, and I felt a twinge of concern, but only a twinge. I figured I could get away with anything so long as I told them I used to practice entertainment law.

The conference hall was echoey huge, and cold as court. It was odd, I’d expected the judges to be wearing their robes, but they weren’t and that disturbed me. I was nervous when I started to speak but quickly warmed to my story. I told them how I was jailed for driving under the influence of prescription medication. I told them about my repeated requests to take my dangerously overdue psychiatric drugs and to contact my attorney and psychiatrist—all of which were blatantly ignored. Then I told them about the guard’s reaction when I lost my temper and demanded a phone call:

“She was all over me, all two hundred pounds of her. She forced my head to the floor. It was sticky with what I later realized was my own blood. She jammed one knee against my back, and started hitting. Not with her fist, with the club that hung by her side. I was shaking so badly I don’t know how she managed to land a solid blow, but she must have been thoroughly trained because my ribs were exploding, one after another, a most thorough and systematic attack… Nothing has ever been the same for me since that endless moment on the cold stone floor. Nothing ever will be again. I know now that I am touchable, that I am not immune.”

I implored the judges to appreciate the consequences of such treatment on an extremely vulnerable population. I told them about my own resulting suicidality, and how difficult it’s been for me simply to stay alive since. To my surprise, I started tearing up. It had been hard, harder than they could possibly know. It suddenly seemed very important that these highly influential people understood the struggle of all those like me. I stopped being worried about changing my speech. This was the story I needed to tell, and maybe even the one they needed to hear.

I folded up my pages and let my final words linger in the air. The judges were eerily silent. Then it began in the back, a ripple that quickly spread through the room and grew louder with each passing second. It couldn’t be, but it was: applause. To my astonishment, people began to get to their feet, until the entire room was standing. The last thing in the world I ever expected was a standing ovation.

I fielded questions from all sides—good questions that showed the judges had really listened—until the next session was due to start, and the auditorium was almost clear. Then a tall man with a craggily handsome face came up to me and took my hand. “I want you to know how much your speech meant to me,” he said. “I tried to kill myself five months ago, and it gave me hope to hear that you’ve been suicidal, too. As a judge, I don’t get to talk about it with anyone. Now I don’t feel so alone.” I’m sure I was breaking protocol, but I reached out and hugged him until I could feel his trembling stop.

The federal judges would be the first to say it: Sometimes justice is served in the oddest ways. Mania can bring such strange gifts with it—in this case, a genuine passion that ignited minds and moved people. But obviously, it all could have gone sideways; one can never really predict what the impact will be. It was a thought to ponder at great length someday… But at that moment, what I desperately needed was to lie down on crisp cotton sheets, order room service, and absorb what had happened. Then maybe, finally, to sleep.


A few weeks ago, for no cause at all, I found myself elated, enraptured, and obviously manic. Terrific, right? But here was the hitch: I had plans to meet a former boss for lunch, and I wanted to pass as “normal.” I’d done my best to hide behind a tightly clenched professionalism back when I used to work with him, and I wasn’t sure what he knew about the real me. Even if he did know I have bipolar disorder, I wanted him to think it was well under control. Ten years had passed, and I was still trying to hoodwink him with my aplomb. It’s funny how our poses cling to us.

So rather than the flashy colors and big bold prints that were begging to escape my closet, I wore a classic uniform (classic, at least, for L.A.): a tailored black jacket, white shirt, and jeans—not skanky skinny jeans, either, just a clean tapered cut. On my way out of the house, though, I grabbed a pair of neon cats’ eyes shades, to satisfy my lust for self-expression. But I took them off when I reached the restaurant. Such amazing self-control, I thought. I’d have no problem at all with lunch.

Then again… I’ve been found out before. No matter how hard I work to keep my mania a secret, people who know me well often guess the truth. I hate this. It’s deeply humiliating to be told that I’m manic, just as bad as being told I’m drunk or sloppy or out of control. And then it starts: the hovering, the unspoken disapproval, the buzzkill.

Until recently, I never understood how my friends saw through my facade. But then I saw the film House of Games, about confidence men. It seems con men know how to read their marks because they watch them closely for “tells.” We all have tells: unconscious movements or facial expressions or subtle tics that give away what we’re feeling. Apparently, my friends have learned my tells.

But maybe if I camouflaged them really well


  • "Terri Cheney's unflinching commitment to telling her own truth on her own terms moved me into a new place of compassion. Hers is an unparalleled--and deeply necessary--voice."—Anne Hathaway, Academy Award-winning actress
  • "Terri Cheney paints a compelling picture of the mind of someone with mental illness, helping us to understand what it must feel like and causing us to sympathize with, not fear, those who suffer. Her book is a real stigma-buster -- and a must-read."—Elyn Saks, author of New York Times bestseller The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, 2009 MacArthur Genius recipient
  • "This book is for everyone: people struggling with mental illness, their family and friends, and all those on the front lines of the U.S. mental health crisis. To be truly effective, today's advocates need a better vocabulary that captures what it means to live with mental illness, to struggle, to survive, and to take ownership of one's life. Modern Madness provides that unique vocabulary by illuminating something that touches all of us."—Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum, author of A Common Struggle
  • "In Modern Madness, Terri Cheney does something much more than simply reveal the struggles and challenges of those who have bipolar--she provides a menu of concrete, actionable steps that both those with bipolar and their family and friends can take to manage the inevitable ups and downs of this disease together. She aptly depicts the ways in which suicidal thoughts can silently stalk sufferers, and she rages passionately against us accepting the alarming acceleration in the number of suicides in America. This is a moving and insightful book that will make a meaningful difference."—Suzy Favor Hamilton, three-time Olympian and New York Times bestselling author of Fast Girl
  • "Modern Madness is not just a psychological roller coaster; it's a story of determination, self-efficacy, and hope. A great read for anyone grappling with bipolar illness and a must-read for anyone who loves someone with bipolar illness."—Thomas Insel, MD, Former Director of National Institute of Mental Health, Co-Founder Mindstrong Health and NEST Health
  • "I heartfully recommend Terri Cheney's smart and eloquent book Modern Madness to anyone who has the disorder, has a friend or relative who has it--or just wants to know about this extraordinarily common challenge. Terri is a compassionate and engaging writer as well as an important truth teller."—Sheila Weller, author of Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge and Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation
  • "I've read dozens of books and articles while researching my documentary about bipolar disorder, "Of Two Minds." Nothing illustrates the humanity of someone living with a mental illness like Terri's stories -- all told with warmth, humor, exquisite language, and unwavering honesty."—Lisa Klein, director, Of Two Minds and The S Word
  • "Terrifically real. Cheney opens a window to the reality of living with bipolar and gives us hope. Like with her first book Manic, I often felt I was peeping into Cheney's soul when reading the book. It's hard to watch, but impossible to look away. "—Julie A. Fast, author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder and Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder
  • "With taut and witty prose, Terri Cheney takes us on an unblinking tour of the actual experience of bipolar disorder. Each chapter allows us to experience the daily joy, terror, resolve and compassion of a mind bargaining with itself. This is not just a recital of clinical symptoms, this is a journey into the human psyche. It is a stunning addition to the literature on mental illness and should be required reading for all medical students and mental health professionals."—Louisa Benton, Executive Director, Hope for Depression Research Foundation
  • "Darkly funny, painfully optimistic, and full of smart advice about things most people won't even admit are things. An engaging, evidence-based thrill ride for people with these disorders and those who love them."—Stephen Fried, author of Rush: Revolution, Madness & the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father and co-author, with Patrick Kennedy, of A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction
  • "Whether you have a mental health condition or love someone who does, this insightful, poignant narrative is for you, providing practical guidance and lessons learned."—Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • "This is a book for everyone...for friends and family, for policy makers and for pharmaceutical companies. A must-have bedside table book for anyone who lives with a mental health diagnosis and for their loved ones who want to help but are not sure how to do so."—Lauren Slater, author of Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds and Prozac Diary
  • "...this important and timely book. Modern Madness should be required reading for anyone impacted by mental health matters"—Shelf Awareness
  • "A lawyer and mental health advocate describes recent skirmishes in her decades long battle with bipolar disorder and offers advice on managing the condition. Cheney offers 65 swiftly moving essays that suggest the rapid cycling through moods that her disorder causes."—Kirkus Reviews
  • Praise for Manic

    "Cheney's chilling account of her struggle with bipolar disorder brilliantly evokes the brutal nature of her disease. Manic . . . has heart and soul to spare."—People
  • "Cheney's book is a gut-wrenching ride."—Los Angeles Times
  • "With evocative imagery . . . Cheney conjures life at the mercy of a brain chemistry that yanks her from 'soul-starving' despair to raucous exuberance, impetuous pursuits to paralyzing lethargy . . . More than a train-wreck tearjerker, the memoir draws strength from salient observations . . . startlingly lucid descriptions."—Publishers Weekly
  • "[A] gritty, vibrant, memoir brings this chaotic frenzy to life...through disaster and despair to end in hope. "—Peter C Whybrow, MD, author A Mood Apart
  • "Filled with gorgeous writing...Echoes of William Styron abound."—Demitri F. Papolos, MD and Janice Papolos, authors of The Bipolar Child
  • "Once again, Terri Cheney has written an educational but bittersweet book that moved me deeply."—Muffy Walker, MSN, MBA, President, International Bipolar Foundation
  • "Rewind the life of any adult with bipolar and you will find a childhood we would all desperately like to forget. Terri Cheney unflinchingly long last, someone with the courage to break the silence."—John McManamy, author of Living Well with Depression and Bipolar Disorder
  • "As the father of an adult son with a severe mental illness, I found myself choking with emotion as I read Terri Cheney's riveting and illuminating account of her childhood growing-up with bipolar disorder. What did I miss as a loving father? Were there signs? Could I have saved my son? Cheney provides us with important insights from the eyes of the most innocent among us--our very own children."—Pete Earley, New York Times bestselling author of CRAZY: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness
  • "Her story is a sound first step toward understanding your child's pain and finding solutions."—Publishers Weekly
  • “The book is a superb stigma-bashing exercise in revelation--one packed with cleverly rendered, narrative-driven advice and knowledge that will inspire sufferers to seek help, and aid those who are not members of our cursed club in understanding a disorder that is all too common across our country and across our world.”—Edward Renehan, Medium

On Sale
Sep 8, 2020
Page Count
288 pages
Hachette Go

Terri Cheney

About the Author

Terri Cheney is the author of the New York Times bestseller Manic: A Memoir, which was translated into eight foreign languages. Terri’s writings and commentary about bipolar disorder have also been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, NPR, and countless articles and popular blogs, including her own ongoing blog for Psychology Today, which has over one million views.

Once a successful entertainment attorney representing the likes of Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, Terri now devotes her advocacy skills to the cause of destigmatizing mental illness. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics at USC, and the Honorary Board of Directors of the International Bipolar Foundation. She also served on the Community Advisory Board of the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Learn more about this author