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Changing My Mind [Hardcover]

Margaret Trudeau
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 12 2010

In this deeply moving memoir, Margaret Trudeau speaks with candour and insight about the illness that silently shaped her life -- a life lived often in turbulence and in the public’s fascination. Plagued since childhood by extreme moods, Margaret was ill-prepared for the high-profile role into which she was cast at age twenty-two, as Canada’s youngest first lady. Captivated by her high spirits, youth and beauty, Canadians fell in love with Margaret, just as they had with her charismatic husband, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, three years earlier. When their first son, Justin, was born on Christmas Day and their second son, Sacha, on the same day two years later, this couple seemed almost enchanted.

But away from the cameras and the public appearances, and increasingly isolated at 24 Sussex Drive, Margaret struggled with a growing depression offset by bouts of mania. Her behaviour seemed inexplicable to many -- including to herself -- and two years after the birth of their third son, Michel, the marriage broke down. Gradually, though, a fragile stability took hold, as Margaret found happiness in work as a photographer and in her marriage to Fried Kemper. But the tragic death of Michel Trudeau, closely followed by Pierre Trudeau’s own passing, caused her to spiral into suicidal depression. Finally accepting the diagnosis of bipolar, she sought medical treatment.

Under intense international scrutiny, Margaret Trudeau has survived remarkable highs and devastating lows. Since regaining control of her life, she has brought her formidable passion to helping others, be they Canadians suffering from mental illness or families living without access to water half a world away. A recipient of the Society of Biological Psychiatry Humanitarian Award, she now offers her journey of recovery, acceptance and hope, and generously shares with us many previously unreleased photos, in one of the most important memoirs to come out of this country

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"A powerful, important and profoundly sad book"
- Montreal Gazette ()

About the Author

MARGARET TRUDEAU was born in Vancouver, Canada. Theformer wife of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, she is also the author of twoprevious memoirs, Beyond Reason (1979) and Consequences(1982). Margaret now works with WaterCan, a registered charitydedicated to providing clean drinking water to the world’s poorestpeople, and speaks across the country on mental healthissues. She lives in Montreal.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Other Side of the Story Nov. 26 2010
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Till now, I have been very unsympathetic to the plight of Margaret Trudeau as a poor, sometimes spoiled and often benighted flower child of the sixties, suddenly thrust into the national limelight as the wife of one of Canada's most influential politicians. However, her latest autobiography may go a long way to changing that view. At sixty-one, Maggie has finally come to grips with the demons of her past as she enters her senior years. What she reveals in this book helps to explain, but not excuse, those troubling moments of the past: tantrums, the 'quicksilver' impulses of weird revelation, and the incessant desire to be a rebel with a cause. It took four decades of her life - two failed marriages, the loss of a son and some disturbing moments of erratic behaviour - for her to accept the very awkward fact that she was manic-depressive. To recount her journey to that ultimate moment in early 2001 when her life spun out of control, the author takes her readers through a very colorful chronicling of her personal life as a student, a mother, a wife to a very controlling father-like husband, an aspiring photographer and grandmother. Through most of these chapters of her life, I got a very distinct impression that Margret Trudeau was seeking an identity just beyond her grasp. She was someone else's handmaiden and could not for the life of her figure out how to be herself. Margaret's redemption came when she sought and found the critical medical treatment for her depression. The last several chapters of the book add that most important signature to the story of a woman who finally secured the elusive happiness in later life in her family. Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saying the unsayable Jan. 16 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"All my adult life, I have suffered from a mental illness".

With that very public announcement at a press conference in Ottawa in 2006, Margaret Trudeau told the world how she had suffered from bipolar disorder, and saying the "unsayable" she not only "survived" (p.322) but triumphed.

In "Changing My Mind" Ms Trudeau has written a powerful and forthright account of the ravages of bipolar disorder.

Ms.Trudeau writes freely and candidly. She confirms much that was speculated about her life with Pierre Trudeau during the heady days when he was Prime Minister of Canada.

Ms. Trudeau has made an important contribution to the education of the public and professionals about the inner experience of bipolar disorder. She quashes the obsolete but pernicious belief, still held by some, that mental disorders are not "real" illnesses. Quite to the contrary Ms. Trudeau illustrates the profound and devastating effects such illnesses can have. Bipolar disorder is a life-threatening condition. Suicide rates are high and can occur when the person is in the depths of despair or is overtaken by the frenetic dysphoria and agitation of a mixed state of mania and depression combined.

Ms. Trudeau describes her loves and losses; her two marriages; her deep attachment to her children and the heartbreaking death of her third son Michel.

The book is an outstanding educational resource for the general public, journalists, physicians and mental health professionals. It will help to combat the appalling stigma that still surrounds mental illness and which is the product of ignorance and fear. It will reinforce the view that psychiatry must be practiced with a humane blend of psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.

Alan Eppel

Sweet Sorrow: Love, Loss and Attachment in Human Life
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Read Changing My Mind Nov. 16 2010
By Torra
A moving and revealing portrayal of Margaret's life with bi-polar disorder.
I now understand more fully the struggles and challenges of this illness and really admire Margaret and anyone else that fights to regain some form of balance in their lives.
This book held my interest from beginning to end and was easy to understand.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is unlike many others in that the author is the one who writes about an illness for which the stigma associated with mental illness makes many want to keep it a hidden secret.

Within the pages are personal details that many families who have a loved one diagnosed with mental illness will be able to relate to. The book is written for an easy read with just enough detail to bring the events and consequences caused by the illness into proper perspective. Our family member diagnosed with a mental illness who read the book, took much wisdom and hope from the writings.

The book also contains useful overview of what medications were helpful in the recovery and debunks many myths that are often associated with the administration of medications for pregnant mothers.

Madame Trudeau should be congratulated on an excellent book that very accurately portrays the trials and tribulations of those having a mental illness and it's effect on family members. Thank you for taking us beyond the "One Flew Over the Cucoos Nest" fiction based account of mental illness and treatment to the new "recovery based" treatment that will allow many to lead normal life's outside of perverse mental asylums and treatments no longer prescribed.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book!
I could not put the book down until I finished it. I bought it for a birthday gift for someone too. I have always loved Margaret Trudeau. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Love
I had no idea what this lady went through!!!!

Love it!!!! I found it very hard to put it down, I still have a hard time finding another book like it.
Published 12 months ago by grace akrivopoulos
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
received very quickly in good condition, cost was good and
I started reading it.
Thanks would recommend anyone to read this book
Published 19 months ago by Car Pin
5.0 out of 5 stars A great memoir
This is a very thoughtful and touching memoir of her life. Her love for her kids and for both Pierre and Fried is genuine, and her journey to discovery of bipolar disease is... Read more
Published on April 10 2012 by Wendy
4.0 out of 5 stars great
she talks about her life her divorce with former prime minister trudeau and more . interesting since margaret has not written anything for a long time before this
Published on Feb. 24 2012 by Gilbert Michaud
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult life
After reading the book, I first wondered if Pierre Trudeau knew about Margaret's state of mind when he married her But one thing is certain, they very much loved each other. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2011 by alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Changing my mind
This book was very easy to read. Didn't strain the brain yet kept me interested all the way to the end.
very enlightening into the world of bipolar disorder.
Published on Feb. 17 2011 by baygirl
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
After reading this book I can understand why Margaret did some of the things she did. It is too bad she wasn't diagnosed earlier and she would have been more understood by those... Read more
Published on Feb. 6 2011 by Sharyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Candour and compassion
Few people evoked more visceral responses in Canada during the 70s than Margaret Trudeau. She was a subject of scorn and ridicule for her erratic and sometimes embarrassing public... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2010 by Roger O. Thornhill
3.0 out of 5 stars easy read
I personally found this book easy to read,simplistic in style and in substance.A lot seems to be left out. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2010 by babygrace
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