Bipolar disorder in children

Terri Cheney, the author of the best-selling 2008 memoir Manic kept being asked one question by concerned parents. What possible signs of the disorder could they look out for in their own children?  Getting wind of this, Terri Cheney's  publisher asked her to write a memoir about her earliest experiences with the illness. The result was The Dark Side of Innocence which I've reviewed at

Always pushing herself academically, Cheney became a highly successful entertainment lawyer, but not without a great deal of turmoil. The Dark Side of Innocence describes her earliest struggles with the disorder. She describes how she was always competing with her brother for her Dad's attention, how she was accepted to college early, and some of the early dangerous preoccupations (e.g. cutting herself)  she has had.  She coins a name for the mental disorer, "the Black Beast" since she has constant odd desires and cravings.

Terri who is a cheerleader has up and down moments. She missed the game when she is seized by a writing frenzy. When she does go to the game, she is preoccupied and doesn't hold her end of the cheerleading pyramid up.

The cheerleaders are furious at her, especially the one that fell off the pyramid. Later, though, the essay she wrote in the moments before the game, becomes a kind of early "viral" hit. Everyone at the school, popular and unpopular, is talking about. That's when Terri first realizes how thrilling writing can be and how it can help control the beast. 

This is an eye-opening look at a frightening disorder. Terri is a survivor and a mental health advocate. 

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