Linea Johnson and Cinda Johnson
St. Martin's Press
The Johnsons were a close and loving family living in the Seattle area - two parents, two incomes, two bright and accomplished daughters. They led busy lives filled with music lessons, college preparation, career demands, and laughter around the dinner table. Then the younger daughter, Linea, started experiencing crippling bouts of suicidal depression. Multiple trips to the psych ward resulted in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and it took many trial runs of drugs and ultimately electroshock therapy to bring Linea back. But her family never gave up on her. And Linea never stopped trying to find her way back to them.
Perfect Chaos is the story of a mother and daughter’s journey through mental illness towards hope. From initial worrying symptoms to long sleepless nights to cross-country flights and the slow understanding and rebuilding of trust, Perfect Chaos tells Linea and Cinda’s harrowing and inspiring story, of an illness that they conquer together every day. It is the story of a daughter’s courage, a mother’s faith, and the love that carried them through the darkest times.
Finally in August we all flew to Chicago and moved Linea into the nation’s largest student residence, home to over seventeen hundred students—a mammoth building on South State and Congress just blocks from Michigan Avenue. We moved her things from the rental car to the queue for the elevators that would take us to her "suite" on the seventeenth floor with a view of the Sears Tower. I couldn’t believe that our little girl, who lived her first ten years in an unincorporated village of fewer than three thousand people, would live in the South Loop of a city of more than
“Perfect Chaos is an open-eyed, sometimes raw, always astoundingly honest account of a family’s unanticipated battle with mental illness. Cinda and Linea’s awe-inspiring resilience and the sheer courage of their emotional transparency moved me to my core and deepened my empathy for all those touched by mental illness, including beloved members of my own family. It is about the fierce, transformative love between a mother and daughter and how they both learn to share their truths.” --Glenn Close, Actress and Co-founder, Bring Change 2 Mind
“Perfect Chaos is an important gift to those of us who love someone with a mental disorder. A daughter diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her determined mother take us on their often-painful journey to recovery, giving readers a penetrating look into what happens when mental illnesses strike. This inspirational book teaches us the importance of determination, resilience, love and HOPE. It is a testament to the human spirit that refuses to be defeated by a brain disorder -- a must read.” --Pete Earley, author of CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
“Perfect Chaos is a memoir of a daughter and mother working together to overcome the daily challenges of living with a mental illness. Through their trials and triumphs, their story provides encouragement and hope for individuals and their families affected by these illnesses."--Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, founder of the Carter Center Mental Health Program and author of Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis
“A remarkable story about remarkable women! Linea and Cinda brilliantly light a path to hope, understanding, and acceptance as they smash through the stigma of brain illness. Be inspired by the strong voice they give to patients, relatives, care-givers, and especially to those unable or afraid to show their wants, needs, hope.” --Patrick J. Kennedy, Former US Congressman and Co-Founder, One Mind for Research
“Perfect Chaos is as much a map as it is a memoir, a powerful resource for families and individuals navigating the confusing and painful world of bipolar and mental illness. The dual-narrative of mother and daughter allows for twice the insight and inspiration. From the giddiness of mania, to the crushing depression and yearning to end it all, Linea captures the experience of being bipolar with raw honesty and a fresh voice. Cinda's passages illuminate her life on the sidelines, alternately feeling determined and unshakable or heartbroken and helpless. Her refusal to give up on her daughter, and Linea’s will to live, resulted in Perfect Chaos, a brave and realistic, yet life-affirming message of hope to families and individuals living with mental illness.” --Claire Fontaine and Mia Fontaine, authors of Come Back: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey through Hell and Back
"PERFECT CHAOS is the definition of mental illness. I read most of Cinda and Linea's words with tears in my eyes. Living with bipolar disorder myself I didn't find one untrue word, not one exaggeration in this exemplary book, only the truth. This brave and honest book will educate people who have little understanding of mental illness and allow those who live with mental illness a knowing that they are not alone. I have a feeling I'll be buying PERFECT CHAOS by the case to distribute to those who don't understand." --Jessie Close, Co-founder, Bring Change 2 Mind
"A simultaneously painful and inspiring page-turning.” --Kirkus
“The journey for Linea and her family is a moving and hopeful one, as they better understand how she reacts to the illness, and realize that being bipolar is only a part of someone’s life, not the whole.”
"Lyrically written with razor-sharp honesty, Perfect Chaos is the story of Linea’s day-to-day fight with bipolar disorder and her astounding efforts to piece together her life and achieve her own stability and independence." --SheKnows, Parenting