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.