But it doesn’t work like that for everyone” (31).
Anna Spargo-Ryan is a time traveller. Moving through memories of illness and anxiety, this is memoir explores the way that mental illness resides in our bodies, the experiences of the medical field and how she holds her own.
I resonated with Spargo-Ryan's anxiety, her inability to stop, and the constant reliving of experiences. Sometimes I think that my actions are normal until I process them through a narrative such as this one, or through a conversation with a friend. Spargo-Ryan understands this. She navigates mental illness and sharing it with a touch of humour, with care, and honesty. It's what drew me to her Twitter in the first place.
"Telling someone about your mental illness feels like a lot of things. It’s partly confessional: You don’t know the whole truth. It’s partly catharsis: It feels good to tell you, I need you to know. It’s partly apology: I tricked you into loving me” (199).
I think what I liked the most about this memoir, is that it's not a self-help narrative. Spargo-Ryan doesn't tell you how it's going to get better. She tells you how she makes peace with herself every day and every minute. I respect that so much.
And she advocates for other people with chronic health conditions, reminding them to use their words and carve their narrative. Even though they shouldn't have to. It is a terrifying reminder of the state of our health system.
"If an explanation doesn’t exist, we have to find the energy to create it ourselves. All chronic illness has this in common: you can learn to self-advocate, or you can get worse” (134).
But there is hope. In sharing, in testing ourselves, in each little step and every flip flopping thong.
Graphic: Death, Chronic illness, Self harm, Suicidal thoughts, Suicide, Panic attacks/disorders, Mental illness, and Schizophrenia/Psychosis
Moderate: Grief, Drug use, and Pregnancy
Minor: Sexual assault and Stalking