Love Sick: Love as a Mental Illness
Finally, A Book on Love That Isn’t Self-Help, Sappy or Full of Stereotypes!
No one likes to admit they read self-help books. I sure don’t. And since I’m a guy, I’m even more reluctant to pick up a book concerning love. But what’s great about this book is its overarching academic tone that makes it much more accessible without feeling that guilt or shame of being a hopeless romantic looking to books for advice.
Have you ever been rejected by someone you really loved? Have you ever had to reject someone that really loved you? Very few escape it all-encompassing wrath. The book describes the experience of being in love akin to a mental illness – obsessive thoughts, erratic mood swings, weird impulses, delusions, the inability to concentrate – and I absolutely agree with his analysis. The roller coaster ride of ecstasy and despair, rapture and grief encapsulates my experiences with my ex to an uncanny degree. Why do we fall in love? What is love for? Do all cultures see love the same way? If you want to know the answers to these questions, I highly recommend reading this book. On the other hand, if you’re wanting to know how to fall in love or how to deal with people who are in love, you should look elsewhere. If you’re looking for answers to those kinds of questions, you won’t find them here.
Perhaps the most noteworthy part of this book is its last chapter. Psychiatrically speaking, love and its symptoms can be objectively classified as a mental illness. And while many authors tend to embrace a patronizing stance on the matter and prescribe their own “cure” for the “problem,” this kind of pejorative interpretation reflects nothing more than our own socially constructed attitudes. This author instead embraces love as a mental illness wholeheartedly as part of the human condition. Our extraordinary susceptibility to love suggests that it is somehow an adaptive trait. The author maintains that love, even if it’s categorized in modern times as a mental illness, it is an evolutionary advantage.
“Very good book. I can very much recommend this to two groups in particular; Those who love psychology and those in unrequited love. It will be of great interest to one and of great inspiration to the other.” – Graham
“This is a very well-written, thorough exploration of how romantic love has been experienced and regarded throughout history in different cultures. Drawing on an impressive store of knowledge of history, literature and psychology, the author makes a very persuasive case that romantic love is an evolutionary adaptation to encourage pair-bonding of sufficient length for the male of the species to participate in protecting and providing for offspring…” -INTJ