"'The Third Sunrise' gave me a strange addiction, one to the book itself. Switching back and forth from feeling giddy and happy, to being sick to my stomach with anxiety, but then moments later laughing out loud. I could NOT stop myself from reading but I would force myself to, to ensure I'd have more for later. Once put down, all thoughts were on picking it back up. Natalie's writing is so intimate and honest, it makes it impossible not to care for her and be in awe of her strength. Definitely a book that punches you in the gut but then wipes away your tears, and in my opinion, a must read for anyone." Maggie R. Via Amazon.com, 2012
"The Third Sunrise" makes you grateful for everything you have in your life. Natalie endures a path that makes you want to reach out to her, yet it shows you that her strength is beyond words. If you're wondering how it is to live a life that involves: addiction, bi-polar, anorexia, bulimia, depression, and feeling alone then this is the read for you. Once I started reading, it was impossible for me to put her book down. Her words are so powerful you begin to feel how she is feeling. To accomplish what Natalie has sends a message to all of those struggling people with no hope that anything is possible. This is a must read for everyone who likes to read, I look forward to her next book!" -Sasha Bowes, Amazon.com, 2012
"Natalie's honest portrait of her life is refreshing and intriguing. This book is the perfect read for anyone wanting to look inside the mind and world of someone dealing with addiction and bipolar disorder. Natalie serves the reader well by not holding anything back. It's a gritty, real look into this world that many find themselves in. Having dealt with these issues myself I found this book to be just what I needed to read. It mesmerized me the many things that we shared though our journeys were different. I found it comforting to see someone dealing with the same issues, yet thriving in the end. Don't feel like you need to have bipolar or an addiction to read this book! It's a great read and should not be passed by!" Kimberly via Amazon.com
"There are many bipolar memoirs on the market but none are quite like this one. Natalie exposes unique aspects to both mental illness and addiction. She speaks of what it's like to be a bipolar child - with interjections from her family - and to grow up plagued by many mental health issues such as an eating disorder in addition to bipolar disorder. She then goes on to detail how she was driven to addiction to deal with the suffering she felt from her mental health issues. Her relationships with others also elucidate her own mental state. The Third Sunrise follows in the footsteps of Hornbacher's Madness: A Bipolar Life but charts its own path in the words of a younger author. I would recommend this book for those wishing to see a glimpse into what it's like living with mental illness or addiction issues. They will find it compelling and a book they look forward to picking up."-Natasha Tracy, Aug 2012 Amazon.ca
"This book is an extremely well written narrative of a young woman's battle with early onset Bipolar Disorder and Addiction. I found it to be compelling and contemporary. It is a biographical journey that takes you through the thought processes of a young woman trying to find her way through mental illness, substance abuse and eating disorders. What I like is that it is brutally honest and very introspective. It chronicles the feelings of despair, hope and shattered dreams as Natalie tries to overcome her battles with Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse. I feel this book would be both beneficial to someone with mental illness as well as a friend or parent whose lives intertwine with those afflicted with either an affective disorder or dual diagnosis. I can also appreciate that it does not offer advice or a therapeutic cookbook on how to best deal with these afflictions. I think it is an upbeat book that takes a firsthand examination of a very troubled existence. I look forward to reading more from this articulate young author." -Mark Braun, MS RPhAug 2012 Via Amazon.com
"Natalie Jeanne Champagne's memoir, The Third Sunrise, is a brave and remarkable achievement. With searing, heart-rending honesty, Champagne's imaginative prose lays bare the reality of severe mental illness and addiction. What's more she does so without seeking sympathy or masochistic scorn. The Third Sunrise is a tale of suffering and desperation but it is sprinkled with spunky, caustic wit and beautiful moments of simple humanity.
Champagne's pre-teen diagnosis of bipolar disorder, after previous misdiagnoses of “family issues” and ADHD, puts her in a minority for a condition that more commonly presents in a person's early twenties. We are given a graphic, unflinching account of her despairing bouts of depression and her unhinged manic episodes as a child- a child who has barely reached puberty but is already forced to cope with almost unimaginable suffering. “I am twelve years old the first time I am hospitalized,” we are told. “My father drives me to the emergency room because he doesn't know where else to take a child who is threatening suicide and hiding knives in her room.”
The author describes the utterly opposite states of a bipolar sufferer so powerfully and skilfully that the reader finds themselves experiencing the peaks and troughs with her and yearning for some balance. Champagne invites us openly to see what agony life can be and how lonely and self-destructive severe mental illness makes a human being.
The author's cruelly truncated childhood and severe symptoms take a heavy toll on her caring yet powerless family. Her parents are left at their wit's end as Champagne is forever in and out of psychiatric units, takes to self-harming, chases her siblings around the house with a knife and begins to depend on heavy drugs and alcohol from a very early age. “This is why I have become an addict,” she tells us. “The realization that I could not be healthy has tainted my soul.”
Champagne, however, is by no means forever the victim of the piece. We see different sides to her as she grows up, aspects of her which she has trouble distinguishing the source of- “what is Natalie and what is The Illness?” She can be cunning and manipulative when in hospital and cutting and cruel in her dealings with staff and fellow patients. The infantilising and dehumanising nature of the mental health system, and indeed of mental illness itself, play a large part but it is Champagne's biting humour and strength of character that most stays with you.
As intelligent and self-knowing as Champagne clearly is, you sometimes feel that this only serves to make her illness worse. She must cope with the impossible guilt of knowing what her illness is doing to her loved ones but nevertheless feels powerless to stop it or even know why she is the way she is. Champagne simply can't accept the instructions of a nurse or doctor if she doesn't respect their intelligence. She must question everything and everyone around her as she already questions herself and her own life. You have that much more ammunition for self-attack when you know where you are going wrong but still can't break the cycle.
Some readers may be shocked to hear the uncensored inner monologue of an angry and hurt young woman who regularly ponders suicide and who is left reeling by multiple addictions and compulsive self-harm. This is our culture's mistake. We want people to suffer in silence despite the widespread prevalence of mental disorders. This is the painful reality of severe mental illness and addiction, a reality difficult enough alone without the persisting stigma that envelops it. The way to tackle that stigma is for brave, honest writers like Natalie Jeanne Champagne to share their experiences and force society to recognise the seriousness of the problem.
The candor of this memoir will undoubtedly help those who have been affected by bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, sexual assault and self-harm as well as their families. It is this and the author's once seemingly impossible, yet now flourishing recovery of which she should be most proud.
- Michael Richmond Author of "Sysyphusa "