cover image Agents in My Brain: How I Survived Manic Depression

Agents in My Brain: How I Survived Manic Depression

Bill Hannon. Open Court Publishing Company, $33 (257pp) ISBN 978-0-8126-9346-1

Hannon is brave indeed to have written this memoir of his struggle with the manic depression which has afflicted him since high school. But bravery alone doesn't redeem the repetitive and unsophisticated prose that impedes his story. Until 1976 and his senior year in his Washington State high school, Hannon describes himself as ""still super-jock, super-brain, and super-smooth compared to now."" His mother suffered from manic depression from 1955 to her death in 1981, and Hannon believes his father's possessiveness (Hannon wasn't allowed to date) came from loneliness. Hannon goes on in detail about his life before the illness first manifested itself as an inability to concentrate and trouble swimming, followed a few months later by a manic episode while on a six-week trip to Israel. He was hospitalized there before being moved to another hospital in Seattle. Hannon's struggle lasted for years, and he often faults his early doctors for not prescribing antidepressants and for not discussing his illness with him. He succeeds in making them seem incompetent, but more background on the different pharmaceuticals that became available during the course of his treatment would have been both more convincing and more helpful. An afterword by a psychiatrist and a list of symptoms offer some background. (June)