This book brings together a collection of writings from people who have experienced mental health issues and addiction. It contains twenty accounts from contributors from around the world. They tell us of their journey, good and bad. Links to music and particularly punk rock are the thing that connects the writers. The truth and pain in their words doesn’t always make for easy reading but the reader gets a small glimpse into a world that many will be able to relate to.
The book’s editor, Craig Lewis, has first hand experience of the mental health system in the USA. His aim in pulling the volume together is to allow contributors to tell their stories in a safe space. He has also worked for several mental health agencies. His warm introduction invites you in whilst telling his own story in a frank way.
The audience for this book is wider than one might think at first glance, it isn’t just for fellow sufferers and punks. There are many carers, both professional and family that will benefit from a reading. As an ex-nurse I wish I had read this as a student nurse (I also have a love of punk). These first hand accounts would have a real impact. Many of the accounts talk of support services that do not understand and for in-patient facility staff it make come as a sharp shock to realise what life is like on the “outside” for people. As most of us know, mental health issues have been on the rise during the pandemic whereas services have been more difficult to access. This is mentioned by several of the writers.
It’s hard to pick one account that had impact but Laurel Gene Roth writes of her bipolar summer playlist and links her health to the music of the Ramones. Her playlist contains some great music.
I’m not sure if there is to be a third volume but I feel the need for there to be another one. It’s not an easy read but one that might change attitudes and one that has helped the brave writers in the process.
You’re Crazy, Vol. 2, edited by Craig Lewis, is out now, published by Better Days Recovery Press – order here
Review by Carolyn Batcheler