Book Review: Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor: An Olympian’s Journey with Mental Illness

Last Updated: 29 Aug 2019
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Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor is the heart-wrenching story of an Olympian’s struggle with and eventual triumph over the terrifying highs and lows of the bipolar disorder.


A small-town childhood, a close-knit family, a successful career, and an Olympic athlete–this was Amy’s life…until it wasn’t. That’s the thing about mental illness, it doesn’t care where you grew up, how smart you are, how many awards you’ve won, or how much money you make. It’s an equal opportunity destroyer. From the earliest signs, to the denial, the manic highs, and despondent lows, bipolar disorder has the power to affect every aspect of a person’s life. It derailed Amy’s athletic and corporate careers, ruined relationships, and caused a whirlwind of chaos within her family. But now she’s ready to tell her story. Ready to share the darkest parts of her life in hope of showing those diagnosed with mental illness that there is a way to overcome this world of uncertainty–a way to live and thrive in the midst of this life-altering disease. This is Amy’s story…

“Bipolar Disorder, My Biggest Competitor is the heart-wrenching story of an Olympian’s struggle with and eventual triumph over the terrifying highs and lows of the bipolar disorder. Through scenes of astonishing visceral and emotional power, Amy takes us from the successful team handball Olympian to the darker side of bipolar disorder. With remarkable honesty and humor, Amy shows the effects of this illness on the mind, body and soul of those who suffer with it. However, despite the struggles, this is not a book that brings the reader down, rather a road map for wellness and a vastly informative yet entertaining guided tour of bipolar disorder for those who don’t understand it. This memoir is an excellent guide to a painful and difficult yet treatable illness. Amy’s courage in sharing her experience is impressive and commendable. It will help others struggling with this illness feel less isolated and more hopeful.”   –Maura Andronic, MD Psychiatrist

Editorial Review

“Amy Gamble is a champion for mental health, advocating for awareness, improved care and the removal of stigma. In her book, she painstakingly describes the details of her own battle with bipolar disorder that led her from the U.S. Olympic team to a prosperous career for a top Fortune 500 company to a small jail cell in Montana and — eventually — to recovery. Amy’s firsthand experiences with the obstacles of our own health care and justice systems are chilling. And just when you think her nightmare has to be over, it starts all over again. You come to understand that mental illness truly levels the field: No amount of money, prestige or physical strength can protect you from it. But her survival instinct, her faith in God, and the work ethic she developed growing up on a West Virginia farm and honed as an Olympic athlete kept her trudging onward through her darkest days. The book is in part a cautionary tale — a “what not to do” — for the health care industry, as well as for families of those who are mentally ill and sick individuals themselves. Above all, it is a story of Amy’s redemption, a reclaiming of the life she thought she lost and the emerging of a true champion who dares to dream again. Mental illness won far too many battles in Amy’s life, but through her own education, proper care and sheer determination, she won the war. By sharing her story, she has ensured that her struggles were not in vain and many people will benefit from her victory.” Betsy Bethel, Life Editor, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

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