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Blanche Belljar is a pen name that only a literature major like myself would have invented since I talked about Blanche Dubois from "Streetcar Named Desired" and about "The Belljar" by Sylvia Plath in my first book, "Surviving and Thriving with Bipolar Disorder: Tips From a Survivor." For years, my family and friends have urged me to write books about my experiences with having bipolar disorder. “Maybe you can help other people who are going through the same thing,” they suggested. I was first diagnosed with this disorder in 1985, so it is like “an old friend” to me. I had put off writing about it for many reasons: it was too depressing; too weird; too embarrassing; and too strangely humorous. I finally started writing about it after my brother died. One of the most helpful coping mechanisms my brother had ever taught me was to try to see the humor in some of the distressing things that have happened to us in our family. Ultimately, my books are about hope: you will get better after you are first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My books are also about accepting your illness and how to cope with it; not just for yourself, but also if you have a loved one who is having a bad manic episode and you are trying to help them without going crazy yourself.