Anyone who has ever battled with mental illness - and yes, it can be a battle - knows how difficult it can be to talk about your struggles. It can be excruciatingly brutal to sit in a room and bare your soul to one stranger - and usually that stranger is licensed and trained and knows how to deal with your particular brand of crazy. But to go out on a limb, and release a book that details the darkest and most vulnerable parts of your soul, is incredibly, and awe-inspiringly brave. That is what Tessa James is with this book - astonishingly brave.
That being said, this book is definitely not for everyone. In fact the author herself warns this on the first page. The book contains triggers and can be difficult to get through. I myself, who suffer from anxiety and major depressive disorder, found it a challenge - first to pick up, then to finish. It is raw and exposes James, like a beating heart that is pulled out of the chest cavity. What I found more telling than the stories and the poetry, which were revealing in different ways, was the artwork that was scattered throughout. Very personal - some of it macabre and deeply unsettling, but it really added to the overall feel of the book.
From a technical standpoint, some of the book was a bit rough around the edges - it could have used a bit of a refining hand. But, if you look at this as the published pages of a personal journal, the roughness does lend a more authentic feel. And I think that those who will get the most out of this book won't mind a few editorial snubs.
Tessa, thank you for having the gumption to release such a piece of work - for those of us who have not yet found our voices. You let us know that we are not alone and in fact, there is hope after all.