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Shatterdays: Bipolar Lives is a riveting account of two young girls in their formative years of life, one grappling with deep depression, paranoia & hopelessness and the other selflessly trying to help her. This story is about love, relationships, and human endurance.
Susan suffered from bipolar type I with psychotic symptoms. During a manic episode, Susan became psychotic, difficult to control and dangerous to herself and others. Susan spent her teenage years taking an array of psychotropic medications and confined to psychiatric wards and other restrictive environments, achieving minimal success. Her mother Patricia's greatest fear was that her daughter would remain institutionalized for much of her life. Following Patricia's death, Melanie's dedication to Susan is intermingled with mixed emotions and self-doubts and fosters a sense of intimacy which creates in the reader a desire to want to reach out and help her.
Susan's story needs telling because it personifies the experiences of many ordinary families whose loved one suffers from a crippling mental disorder. Family intervention at the onset of symptoms, years of advocacy and a lifelong commitment to the local community mental health center, defined Susan's success.
Dr. Frank Shanty is a researcher, writer and published author. He holds a doctorate in international affairs and is the author of The Nexus: International Terrorism and Drug Trafficking from Afghanistan (Praeger 2011). He co-authored two published works on terrorism (DIANE Publishing, 2000, 2004) and served as general editor and contributing author for Encyclopedia of World Terrorism, Vol. 4 (M.E. Sharpe 2003), Organized Crime: From Trafficking to Terrorism (ABC-CLIO 2008) and Counterterrorism: From the Cold War to the War on Terror (Praeger 2012). Dr. Shanty also served as chief consultant and contributing author for Mafia (Millennium House 2009) and was a contributing author for The 9/11 Encyclopedia, 2nd edition (ABC-CLIO 2011). Melanie L. Shanty CRPC(R) is a financial planner and investment advisor who owns and manages a third-generation practice (40-plus years) in Towson, Maryland. She currently serves as a volunteer on the Board of Directors of the Harford-Belair Community Mental Health Association in Baltimore. She has been a board member and served in many other organizational capacities in this association for over 13 years including past president. Melanie is also a current CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer near her home in Harford County, Maryland. The CASA program helps connect court-appointed advocates to children currently in the foster care system due to abuse or neglect. She has been a volunteer in this capacity since 2007. She became involved with mental health issues in 1998 when she became primary care provider for her sister Susan, who required emotional and financial assistance throughout most of her life. Upon her mother's death in 1998, Melanie began serving as primary care provider and co-trustee of a discretionary trust for Susan, who passed away on October 6, 2011.