Books about mental health are a really interesting thing. Whilst often uncomfortable reads, they are ultimately very important pieces of writing, simultaneously educating and entertaining us. I’ve waxed lyrical about Matt Haig’s Reasons to stay alive, I adored Nathan Filer’s The shock of the fall and more recently Amy Liptrot’s the Outrun; all of which handle the difficult subject of mental health superbly. They don’t sugar coat it, they write honestly and I find it refreshing. Mad girl follows suit wonderfully.
I genuinely have no idea how I found the book, it just appeared on the reservation shelf for me (love it when that happens). Written by journalist, Bryony Gordon, the memoir maps her life from the age of twelve- from OCD (I had no idea just how debilitating OCD was. Shamefully I used to think this was just relentless hand-washing and counting…), to alopecia, bulimia and even alcohol and cocaine dependency. Lets be honest, this sounds totally miserable right? Wrong.
This statement sums it up perfectly:
“I’d had enough of the secrecy and the silence and all the fearful lying that I was fine, that we were all of us fucking fine when one in four of us will at some point absolutely not be fine, one in four being the number of people who experience mental-health problems […] So I decided I was not going to collude with this lie any more. I decided to tell the truth”
Bryony resolves to tell us, with brutal honesty, exactly what having mental-health issues means. She pulls no punches. I’m not going to lie, some of it is just grim. And yet the book is still wonderfully uplifting, packed full of black humour. It’s been a while since I laughed so much I felt the need to read bits out to my husband. Poor David Duchovny…
The ending genuinely brought a tear to my eye. I could not love this book more. Read it. #mentalhealthmates