Erika Nielsen knew that her real language was music—her truest voice, the cello—by the time she was three years old. She knew she would become a professional musician by the eighth grade. But she could never understand why sometimes she felt as if she was floating on sparkling clouds, enchanted by her own brilliance, while at other times she huddled in a dark, wretched place, sobbing and overcome with her inadequacy. At age 27, she finally found out: she was mentally ill.
In this frank and courageous memoir, Erika confronts the shock of her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and chronicles how, step by step, day by day, she walked herself to a place of stability and health. Containing wellness tips and coping strategies to live creatively, productively, and healthily with a mental illness, Sound Mind is a story of hope, healing, and transformation that reminds us that it is not only possible to function with a mental illness, it is possible to thrive. By promoting education, awareness and de-stigmatization of mental illness, Sound Mind helps write a new narrative around mental health and wellness.
"Erika Nielsen has done what few others have achieved in the ever-widening bipolar disorder literature: combine a first-person account with an instructional guide for self-care. She tells the story of how she discovered her bipolar disorder and learned to live with it, continued to make use of her musical talents, and learned to achieve her goals within the limits the disorder imposes. Readers will appreciate her insightful recommendations for managing the disorder on a day-to-day basis. This book will be especially helpful to those who learn by example."
David J. Miklowitz, Director Integrative Study Center in Mood Disorders, UCLA Semel Institute and author of The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide.
— David J. Miklowitz
About the Author:
Erika Nielsen is a Canadian cellist and writer based in Toronto. Erika has a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, collaborative artist, orchestral player and educator, with a musicianship that spans from Baroque and Classical traditions to contemporary and popular genres. She has had the privilege of performing with artists such as Grammy-winning Kanye West for both MTV Canada and Live at the Concert Hall series, and with Juno-winning Johnny Reid for Canada's Walk of Fame. Erika is a blog contributor to BPhope.com, a magazine for people with bipolar disorder. She is also the author of wellness and mental health blog www.soundmindbook.com. A passionate educator, Erika maintains a busy private studio and is on faculty at National Music Camp of Canada. She is also a visual artist, and lives in Toronto with her husband. www.celloerika.com