Thursday, October 11, 2018

Book Review - Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

Even now, with my teenage years so far behind me, sometimes I have to remind myself to shut my brain off, to tell it where to go. Sometimes I have to tear my eyes away from the mirror. Whenever I get depressed, it’s usually because something has been marinating inside me for a while, and the asshole side of my brain has had its way with it. I have to make a conscious effort to switch the kind, nurturing part of my brain to the forefront. I make it tell myself nice things. I make it tell me to just live, do the day-to-day, take things as they come, and not dwell too much on my faults…not an easy task for a writer who is used to examining and over-thinking things. But hey – is it any wonder so many writers are depressed? They’re sensitive, inside their own minds a lot, turning things over and trying to make sense of things. Sometimes I have to just not be a writer. To not analyze. To tune out shocking news headlines and celebrity gossip and politics and CSI and be blissfully ignorant to it all.

I’ve made peace with myself now. I’m never really pleased with what I see in the mirror. But I don’t obsess (much). I don’t dwell (much). I don’t wake up at four anymore to get ready and I don’t tell myself I’m worthless.

You’re not either. I promise.

Life Inside My Mind (edited by Jessica Burkhart) consists of 31 powerful essays about authors’ personal struggles – with depression, anxiety and other similar issues around mental health for the authors or their loved ones. I really loved reading it, but I did have to break it up and read less heavy things in between.

Official synopsis: 
Book Review - Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles
Your favorite YA authors including Ellen Hopkins, Maureen Johnson, and more recount their own experiences with mental illness in this raw, real, and powerful collection of essays that explores everything from ADD to PTSD.

Have you ever felt like you just couldn’t get out of bed? Not the occasional morning, but every day? Do you find yourself listening to a voice in your head that says “you’re not good enough,” “not good looking enough,” “not thin enough,” or “not smart enough”? Have you ever found yourself unable to do homework or pay attention in class unless everything is “just so” on your desk? Everyone has had days like that, but what if you have them every day?

You’re not alone. Millions of people are going through similar things. However issues around mental health still tend to be treated as something shrouded in shame or discussed in whispers. It’s easier to have a broken bone—something tangible that can be “fixed”—than to have a mental illness, and easier to have a discussion about sex than it is to have one about mental health.

Life Inside My Mind is an anthology of true-life events from writers of this generation, for this generation. These essays tackle everything from neurodiversity to addiction to OCD to PTSD and much more. The goals of this book range from providing home to those who are feeling alone, awareness to those who are witnessing a friend or family member struggle, and to open the floodgates to conversation.

Participating writers include E.K. Anderson, J.L. Armentrout, Cyn Balog, Amber Benson, Francesca Lia Block, Jessica Burkhart, Crissa Chappell, Sarah Fine, Kelly Fiore, Candace Ganger, Meghan Kelley Hall, Cynthia Hand, Ellen Hopkins, Maureen Johnson, Tara Kelly, Karen Mahoney, Melissa Marr, Kim McCreight, Hannah Moskowitz, Scott Neumyer, Lauren Oliver, Aprilynne Pike, Tom Pollack, Amy Reed, Cindy Rodriquez, Francisco Stork, Wendy Tolliver, Rob Wells, Dan Wells, Rachel Wilson, and Sara Zarr.

If you’ve ever wondered what is going through someone’s head during a panic attack, or how someone continues functioning with depression or bipolar, these author’s stories may help you to understand. If you already know, finding out how someone else deals with it may give you hope and make you feel less alone. Given the subjects being discussed, there are plenty of triggers, so please think about that if it may influence your appreciation of the book.

This was a beautiful and timely book. The stories are each as unique as the authors and their lives. What they all had in common was the message that you are not alone, and you are worth the effort to make it through your struggles. As the dedication reads, “May you find comfort and strength through the experiences shared in these pages.”

Overall, I’d give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s not a book for everyone, and is only recommended for those ages 14 years and older.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley loves Funyuns, Cherry Coke, and Chewy Sprees for fuel when writing, and comfort food when reading. You can find her at


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