MODERN MADNESS: An Owner’s Manual & MANIC: A Memoir--Terri Cheney

August 27, 2021
Hosted by Diane Dewey

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Episode Description

COVID-19 has launched a second pandemic: a mental health crisis in America. Since the lockdowns started, calls to suicide prevention hotlines have gone up 1000%; in a recent Census Bureau questionnaire, over one-third of U.S. adults self-identified as clinically anxious or depressed; and experts have predicted that 75,000 additional deaths may be caused by coronavirus despair. There has never been a time in our history when an immediate and in-depth focus on mental health issues was so necessary, or so urgent. Yet despite these alarming statistics, mental illness remains a clouded topic in our society. What does it look like? What can we do about it? In MODERN MADNESS: An Owner’s Manual (Hachette), Terri Cheney provides the answers and clarity we need, now more than ever before. In her celebrated New York Times bestseller Manic, Cheney depicted her harrowing double life as an elite entertainment attorney suffering from bipolar disorder. Now she once again uses her compelling narrative gifts to flip mental illness inside out, exposing the visceral story of the struggles, stigma, relationship dilemmas, treatments, and recovery techniques she and others have encountered. Using the familiar framework of an owner’s manual, MODERN MADNESS brilliantly imposes order on a frightening and forbidding topic. Cheney’s juxtaposition of conventional clinical language with real, lived experience unpacks the myths and realities of mental illness. With a combination of the tongue-in-cheek (“The World’s Worst Party Guest”) and the all-too-real (“The Rules of Suicide”), Cheney’s stories are by turns gritty, brutally honest, slyly funny, and always revelatory. She takes readers to the far reaches of reality, and back again. Her unusual ability to translate madness will forever change how you look at mental health—and mental illness. Not just for readers with a diagnosis, MODERN MADNESS will be invaluable for anyone trying to understand the complexities of the mental health issues currently confronting our nation. This week, we'll also hear firsthand how Terri, a highly competent lawyer transitioned to being an esteemed writer -- what is her approach to writing? What is her process? What are the implications of mental illness on the discipline of writing? How does one develop a second professional proficiency while coping with mental illness? You'll hear it here. Please do Drop In with us!

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Diane Dewey

My most pressing question has always been about identity: Who am I? Growing up near Philadelphia with my adoptive family, my genetic identity was hidden. Then, my Swiss biological father, Otto, contacted me when I was age forty-seven in 2002. I’d been told by my adoptive parents that my biological parents were dead, supposedly to protect me. Meeting Otto upended my life. Through him, I met my German biological mother’s family to discover that her story too, had been changed; that she’d not wanted to surrender me and she’d searched for me all her life. Finding my truth was essential.

Based on my experience I am excited to talk to people about their own search for identity. My education includes a BA from Villanova University, a certificate from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. I’ve worked for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The SoHo Partnership and the National Academy of Design and have studied writing through New York University’s Continuing Education program. As an entrepreneur, I founded my art appraisal business, The Realization of Art in 2006. My non-fiction writing has been published in Shared Space, a monograph, and in Artes online magazine. Writing workshops worldwide have given me the chance to learn and hone my craft. My first book, “Fixing the Fates,” was awarded the National Non-Fiction Author’s Association Silver Medal and the Living Now Award.

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