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Stop Paddling/Start Sailing [Paperback]

Roger Smith
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Jun 2004
Stop Paddling/Start Sailing is an amazing book. The concept was born out of a period of hypomania when the author, unable to sleep, imagined a very different way of looking at his life and life in general.

These imaginings give rise to the central theme of a journey on the river of life. The main story is overlaid on the fantasy journey, bringing real people and events in, to tell of times spent in and out of psychiatric wards.

Roger makes no attempt to write an autobiography detailing each and every high and low - mania and depression. He instead focuses on 3 of the episodes that landed him in hospital during the year before and after his diagnosis. You may be surprised to hear Roger say that being diagnosed Manic Depressive or has he now refers to himself, a Bipolar Person, was one of the best days of his life. He says this because, after two decades of no-one being able to put a name to his psychological problems he could at last focused on understanding and self-managing the disorder.

This book has been described as a gentle introduction to bipolar disorder. It goes some way beyond this as it also gently introduces the idea of using memetics (a bit like genetics but relating to thoughts) as a tool that can be used alongside other self management techniques. This is a big step away from the wisdom of a few years ago when psychiatrists would tell patients it was all about finding the right combination of drugs.

It is suggested that memetics can dispel thoughts & feelings such as, "it all depends on me" and the other extreme "I can't do anything about it" and thus be one more idea for reducing the likelihood of future mood swings.

There is a brief mention of self management training from MDF the Bipolar Organisation for which the author continues to be grateful.

This is a book designed to be read more than once, passed around friends, perhaps relatives and health professionals who may benefit from seeing bipolar from the survivors' perspective.

Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: PublishAmerica (12 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141372020X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413720204
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,272,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


...an intriguing weaving together of anecdote, science, popular song, memory, poetry etc. I hope it reaches a wide audience. -- Senior Social Worker, Oxfordshire

...not just informative but life altering. Everytime I sit down and reread it I pick up on more new ideas... -- Personal and Family Counsellor, Alberta, Canada

I found your book extremely interesting and uplifting: the mixture of personal experience, story and plain advice...
-- Teifion Davies, Senior lecturer in community psychiatry, London, England

From the Author

It is very pleasing to hear about Stop Paddling / Start Sailing being read as far away as California and Australia. Book reviews continue to be sent in and we now have quite a collection on our stoppaddling web site.

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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring 12 Jun 2004
I have read Stop Paddling three times and have to say it is a truly amazing book. I was afraid it would be depressing considering it is the story of a lifelong manic depressive but there was no dwelling on the bad times. Although my own journey through life has been smoother than that for the author I can easily relate to the boating analogy of the main story. But the cleverest thing I found was how he explains about "memes", which previously I had not understood at all. His ideas of there being something other than paddling and other than drifting through life are inspiring. I highly recommend this easy to read book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for all 21 Jun 2004
A life-book that has guided to a self realisation that any problem or task can be overcome, with the right mindset and tools. This book is a joy to read and offers a rewarding finale with a fresh approach to managing difficulties anyone may encounter in life. A helping hand along the journey of life, to wherever you want to reach. A definite must on everyone's shelf or coffee table.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars now it makes sense 6 Nov 2007
By reklaw
This book is well written and easy to read, either in one session or a few short 'bites'. Being married to someone with bipolar meant that before reading this I could never quite understand what was going on. Now the book has made everything so real and easy to relate to. I can now be more tolerant, and hopefully understanding, when i need to be. This book has changed my view of bipolar forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a paddler learning to sail. 2 July 2004
A most interesting and insightful read. Although I was unfamiliar with the theory of memes before, I have heard of similar theories, and this book brought them together beautifully. I believe that more detail and information about memes and how they work would have been ideal, but that is the only (and very minor) shortcoming of this book.
Having suffered from MD myself for a number of years, I recognised and identified with a lot of the experiences and feelings that the author was going through. One good point about this book is that it informs the reader about an episode of mania or depression accurately but without being melodramatic or ploughing into unnecessary details.
As well as being an enjoyable read, this book was very informarive. For example, I have never seen the mood chart mentioned in this book before but I found it fascinating. Overall, I found this book intreguing and helpful, and I would certainly read it again.
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