In her midtwenties, Shirley was diagnosed with manic depression-now called bipolar disorder-and lithium was prescribed as the treatment. Her doctor delivered a prognosis that read like a death sentence. She did not believe it. Shirley refused to accept both the diagnosis and treatment, and for three and a half years lived symptom free. Then came the second episode. The reality of the original assessment struck her a forceful blow as she realized she had no explanation for the woman she became in these episodes. So who was she? Shirley became determined to know and understand how she developed this illness and what needed to change in order for her to enjoy soundness of mind all the time. A Rose in the Desert is based on the true-life story of a woman who believed there had to be a way to be well and when she found it would share it with others.