Perfect Chaos

Every so often SheKnows invites you to meet a fascinating new person by reading a buzz-worthy memoir or biography.

Cinda Johnson wants what all parents want for their children: that they be happy, healthy and loved. Perfect ChaosWhen her younger daughter, Linea, started to have emotional trouble in high school, Cinda was supportive and concerned but thought the teen's behavior was normal and understandable. It was only after Linea went away to college that Cinda realized her daughter needed professional help.

In Perfect Chaos, the harsh reality of living with bipolar disease is unveiled from alternating viewpoints. What makes this story unique is that Linea has been a lifelong journal writer, so the insider's view is not told from retrospect but from the moment. By bravely sharing the good and the ugly from her personal diaries, Linea is able to help us understand what it's like to live with a debilitating psychological illness. The outsider viewpoint is written by Cinda who is equally frank in describing her fears, frustrations and reactions to her daughter's horrific experiences with misdiagnoses, failed therapies and hospitalization before she found stability.

Some of the lessons to take away from the Johnsons' memoir are the importance of supportive, loving friends and family and the role stubborn determination plays when recovering from and living with bipolar disease. Although Cinda had the education and resources to help her child, she offers hope for everyone who wants to help a troubled loved one. Linea is currently able to lead a full life and has become an advocate for mental health issues, but she makes it clear that vigilance of her emotions is a daily chore — she constantly safeguards against sliding back into chaos.

Don't miss this fascinating dual-voiced memoir of living with mental illness.

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Comments on "Red hot memoir of the week: Perfect Chaos by Linea and Cinda Johnson"

Chrisa Hickey May 07, 2012 | 8:25 AM

Having met these two amazing women in person, and being a parent of a child with a mental illness, I can't adequately express how important this memoir is. Navigating the waters of the mental health system in America is at best daunting and, at worst, fatal for many families. This book sheds an important light on the fear, confusion, despair and, eventually, hope and recovery that can be had after a mental health condition diagnosis.

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