Thirty-one authors write about the impact of living with mental illness—their own or a loved one’s.
Depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, eating disorders, addiction, PTSD, and bipolar disorder are among the challenges addressed in essays ranging from gorgeous (particularly some stellar pieces on suicidal ideation) to mundane. Most discuss the author’s constantly evolving treatment program, including such mainstays as medication, therapy, exercise, sleeping well, mindfulness, and pragmatic acceptance of what is possible. The contributors vary in their approaches: Francisco X. Stork is adamant that his bipolar disorder doesn’t make him more creative, while other authors see a silver lining to their struggles. All, however, are anti-stigma and pro–self-care and speak to the benefits of seeking professional help. Given the different racial, cultural, and gender-based barriers around mental health, it’s deeply unfortunate that the contributors are overwhelmingly white and female. Still, the exceptions stand out even more brightly for that, including Tom Pollock on his bulimia and Cindy L. Rodriguez on the Latinx community and depression. Readers will also learn about the impact of genetics and environmental factors, curing vs. managing mental illness, and the underdiagnosis of high-achieving girls.
Teens may be unlikely to seek out this collection on their own, but it is a valuable read to put in the hands of those who need it. (Memoir/essay. 14-18)