author: Bryony Gordon
It’s hard for me to review or write about books concerning mental health because it’s a topic that’s so personal for me. Especially books concerning OCD which Bryony Gordon has suffered from since she was twelve- years old. I almost always find something I relate to and understand even if it’s only one thing.
Gordon, whose a successful columnist, (never heard of her before this I have to admit) writes like one. The book is fast and witty and chockfull of personal information. Quite frankly more than I would have expected or thought necessary. I could not relate to the drug use or the constant partying but the OCD stuff…
I get that.
I appreciate her pointing out that OCD has different spectrums so someone saying they’re OCD about their desk as an offhanded remark is going to come off a little, let’s say odd, to someone whose brain is telling them constantly that their going to die or that someone they love is going to die or they’ve hurt someone and don’t even remember it.
It is a snake in the brain as she calls it. Amongst other things my OCD tells me constantly that I’m going to die. Hell, even if there’s nothing physical to set that off (and it can usually find something physical to do so) it will convince me that things are going to well. That I’m to healthy. Naturally I’m going to die. That plus a mass of other fun ones has led to (at times) depression and insomnia. So a lot of the “side effects” where also something I could relate to.
Gordon does talk about how despite everything she was fully functional and even successful though as she points out she was more of a party/social/ good time girl columnist. Partying and drinking does tend to help. But she kept deadlines and continuously rose in her field.
She’s British so I’m not familiar with her health care system but there are interesting tidbits about how that helps and in many more cases hurts. Despite the differences there’s a lot there that I’m sure people can relate to. Note to the Doctor that saw me as a teenager: I did not grow out of it.
Gordon also talks a lot about how privileged she is and was. Which is also a nice thing to talk about that people don’t necessarily need to suffer from childhood or any kind of trauma to suffer from a mental illness. Actually one of my nitpicks about this book especially in the beginning was how much she mentioned privilege. I was kind of rolling my eyes at one point, “I get it. I get it. You have stuff.”
The opposite end of the spectrum on that I noticed reviews on Goodreads that called her out for her privilege and one that also said she was stigmatizing people who suffered trauma in an attempt to appeal to the masses. Which I guess just goes to show that you can’t win or please everyone even when writing a highly personalized memoir of your life and struggles with mental health so you may as well just be honest.
Recommend: Yes. Especially for anyone suffering from OCD.