Book Review – How To Come Alive Again

At the end of 2018, I signed up to do two different reading challenges. I’ve mentioned them in passing here before; one is the Alphabet Challenge, and the other is a list of twelve challenges to complete. One of these twelve was “a book that teaches you a new skill”.

I must admit I was probably the most challenged by this one. What could I learn? What could I teach myself? I thought about expanding some of my already know skills but couldn’t think of anything new to go with. Until this book popped up on my Audible suggestions.

Beth McColl has done an amazing job, that’s the first thing I need to say. Some of the things she has managed to put into words are things I have been processing in my own head for years, with no idea how to express myself. Managing to put mental illness – illogical by nature – into words is an achievement far beyond the work of literary geniuses throughout the years.

“How To Come Alive Again” addresses mental illness in a non-judgemental state, simply expressing facts, the way we experience them. It speaks from a place of knowledge that is unattainable from study, and only from experience.

The book is the perfect blend of comedy, powerful statements, empathy and encouragement. It is not a textbook, nor does it aim (or claim) to be, but a guide to battling your monsters, and getting back to a place where life is liveable. It says things that other books are too scared or reserved to; what to do if you find you’re living in fifth, buy ready meals and takeaway, use baby wipes and dry shampoo. The biggest and most powerful thing this book does is accept the reality of being depressed.

I laughed through this book. I cried through it. I found realisations about myself and tips to help others understand my episodes. I found courage and felt the power of a community around me, simply knowing other people would be feeling all this too.

It is, in my humble opinion, the most important book to read in 2019.

Thank you, Beth.

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