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The Rec League: Bipolar Representation


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The Rec League - heart shaped chocolate resting on the edge of a very old bookWe have a very special request from Brittni. Thanks so much for sending this one in:

About four years ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (type 2–yes, there are multiple types). I have been struggling with the illness since I was 12, and having a name for it, and medication to take, has been a blessing. However, the only representation I’ve see in the media of my illness is Kanye West and plots where the bipolar character is another character’s tragic backstory (my childhood was fucked up because I had to take care of my bipolar mother). I would love to read a romance novel with good bipolar representation. I’m specifically looking for a romance novel with a bipolar heroine, but I know I may be asking for the moon and the stars there. Any books that you can recommend would be greatly appreciated. I would, however, like to make a distinction between books that deal with depression or anxiety, and books that deal with bipolar. Yes, they’re all mental illnesses, but they are very different conditions, and I’m specifically looking for bipolar representation.

Lara: This request has kicked me in the nethers. I’ve had my bipolar diagnosis for about 15 years and I’ve never read a romance novel that shows that part of me. It never even occurred to me that bipolar could be just a characteristic and not a tragic flaw. Something to unpack in therapy!

Glitterland
A | BN
Shana: I may need to noodle on this for a bit. I really liked Glitterland by Alexis Hall (ed. note: Glitterland is being rereleased in the new year, so finding an ebook copy may be finnky right now) but it’s a m/m. One of the heroes is bipolar (type 1), and while it has its dark moments because he’s holding a lot of shame about his diagnosis at the beginning of the book, the romance is adorable, and there’s a lot of kindness from found family. (edited)

What Iiked about the rep in Glitterland is that the hero starts the book already having a diagnosis, meds that work, coping strategies, and a solid career. What’s hard about the rep is his deep internalized ableism, and how one of his friends has, in my opinion, caregiver burnout and says hurtful things.

Sneezy: I can’t think of any, but just wanted to send Brittni lots of hugs!

Can we think of some more titles to recommend?

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