Pros: Incredibly moving and visceral account of what it can be like to deal with a serious mental illness
Cons: Not for people who will never comprehend how difficult it can be to have a mental illness
Rating: 5 out of 5
Disclaimer: Violet Wilson has been one of my closest friends for nearly 20 years. I can’t claim to be objective or unbiased, although I can say that if I didn’t honestly believe this e-book was good, I wouldn’t write about it here. This is my take on what she’s written, not an attempt to review as usual.
No, Violet Wilson isn’t her real name, so if you’re one of my friends who does know her real name, please don’t post it here. I figure it’s up to her where she shares that. I expect she used a pseudonym because Slices: A Memoir-in-progress is an intensely personal and unflinchingly honest memoir. Her friends of course know she wrote it, but I can understand why she might not want random strangers looking her up.
Mental illness is still a taboo for many people, even though we’ve known for decades that many mental illnesses have a physical or even genetic basis, and that even those that don’t can physically or chemically affect our brains over time. By now we also know that many people can be helped to some extent or another with medication and therapy. Yet still, the behavior of people with mental illness is scary. It’s “other.” People don’t understand how someone could possibly act that way, so they look down on them or pity them, make fun of them, ridicule them.
It might help if more people like Violet shared their experiences so openly. She’s a highly precise and visceral writer (with a wonderful level of editing you rarely see in self-published e-books) who effectively communicates why some people use cutting as a release from the unbearable feelings of their illness, or how it can feel to realize you don’t know what you were doing for the last few minutes. She deftly allows the reader to experience the shame and guilt the mentally ill often feel, knowing that they aren’t functioning at the basic level that the people around them expect.
Violet will take you through the ups and downs of an imperfect mental health profession, what it’s really like to stay in a mental hospital, and how hard it can be to navigate obstacles that seem inconsequential to most people. You’ll experience the isolation and disconnect many mentally ill people feel, even when they’re surrounded by well-meaning people.
If you have any desire to better understand those who suffer with a mental illness, I hope you’ll read this. If you’ve found out you have a mental illness and want to know that you aren’t alone, I hope you’ll read this. It might help you to know that there are others out there like you, who do understand what you’re going through.