Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Was Supposed to Review Therese Borchard's Utterly Fantastic New Book, Beyond Blue, Today, But a Funny Thing Happened (and a Few Serious Ones, Too) ...

I thought I would have an easy time reviewing Therese Borchard’s terrific new book, Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression and Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes. You see, I already read an advance copy several months ago, so it wasn’t like I had to start from scratch. Just skim a few pages to refresh my memory, then get crackin’.

So I opened to:

There is a saint for every neurosis: St. Joseph takes care of those prone to panic attacks while traveling. For twitching, Bartholomew the Apostle is the dude. Those roaming the house in their sleep can call on Dymphna. The venerable Matt Talbot is the patron saint to those struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. And, of course, St Jude covers the hopeless causes. ...

Dang, this is interesting. Flick to something boring. No, wait ...

11 Ways You Know You’re an Addict: 1. You can recite the Serenity Prayer in three different languages. ... 6. When you look up dysfunctional in the dictionary, you find a portrait of your family of origin. ... 8. You accidentally feed your sobriety chip into a vending machine. ...

Crap, this is like potato chips. Can’t stop:

“Pretend that I am an editor with Ladies Home Journal,” my therapist said. “I walk up to you and say, ‘Hey, Therese! Good to see you? What have you been up to?’ What will you say?

“Oh. Nothing much. Just hanging out in the community room of a psych ward with Allen, an eighty-five-year-old who has slept with ninety-six women and wants to make it ninety-seven.”

“Try again,” she said. "You are still tutoring at the college, right?”

“Until the dean discovers a whackjob is teaching tomorrow’s leaders.”

Stop reading! You’re supposed to be doing a book review. Wait, you’ll enjoy this:

30 Ways Motherhood is Like a Mental Illness ... 6. Both feel like you’re being pecked to death by a bird. ...

But Therese also has a deadly earnest no-joke zone to her persona:

When Liz encouraged me to train my mind without drugs - to reach inside myself for the strength and discipline to do it without the crutch of medication - she spoke with no understanding of what it’s like to have your survival instinct completely dead, to have 99 percent of your energy going toward not pursuing one of five ways to kill yourself.

And ...

How can you possibly explain severe clinical depression to a four-year-old boy who wants a stable, cheery mom - one that can take him to the park without breaking into tears behind a tree, or miss his great karate achievement because she had to bolt to the restroom and let her body shake with anxiety like a woman with severe Parkinson’s.

Okay, it’s pretty obvious I’m not going to get to reviewing Therese’s book today. I’m otherwise engaged, so don’t bother emailing or phoning me, not even if you’re Angela Jolie telling me you’ve broken up with Brad and are lonely. You see, I’m re-reading a truly outstanding book.

Win a copy of Therese Borchard’s Beyond Blue. See: Calling All Mental Health Grunts.

Purchase Beyond Blue from Amazon

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