Title: How Not to Fall Apart
Author: Maggy Van Eijk
Genre: nonfiction, self-help, mental illness
Is this part of a series? No.
Published: September 4th, 2018
Summary from Amazon:
Maggy van Eijk knows the best place to cry in public. She also knows that eating super salty licorice or swimming in icy cold water are things that make you feel alive but, unlike self-harm, aren’t bad for you.
These are the things to remember when you’re sad.
Turning 27, Maggy had the worst mental health experience of her life so far. She ended a three-year relationship. She lost friends and made bad decisions. She drank too much and went to ER over twelve times. She saw three different therapists and had three different diagnoses. She went to two burn units for self-inflicted wounds and was escorted in an ambulance to a mental health crisis center. But that’s not the end of her story.
Punctuated with illustrated lists reminiscent of Maggy’s popular BuzzFeed posts, How Not to Fall Apart shares the author’s hard-won lessons about what helps and what hurts on the road to self-awareness and better mental health. This is a book about what it’s like to live with anxiety and depression, panic attacks, self-harm and self-loathing–and it’s also a hopeful road-map written by someone who’s been there and is still finding her way.
I found this book last week at the library when I was at the lowest point I had been in over a year. I have depression and anxiety. I take meds and basically tell myself that it’s not so bad. I am taking care of it. I am “better off than a lot of people”. Bottom line? I don’t deserve more help than this and no one wants to hear about it, so I put on my big girl panties and move along. Until I can’t. Until every tiny mistake or bad conversation replays like a broken record. That check you messed up on? That right there is what’s going to get you fired. When you misspoke or read an interaction wrong… well you lost that person. And this moment… this one right here? That’s going to be how you lost your husband. (It was only after I was spiraling for weeks and loosing sleep until I made myself physically ill that I accepted that my meds might not be working for me; and that maybe I needed to add other things to my mental health bag of tricks. And then I found this book.
Maggy lays herself bare, but in a way that rarely seems shameful or embarrassing. While I don’t self-harm, I understand the self-image issues, and the anxiety and depression. Just having her talk to me about her own experiences helped me come to terms with mine, the the point where I was able to talk to some trusted friends and my husband and get a support team going. Warm, wise, and sometimes ridiculous she still helped me to understand my issues- and let me know that it was okay to have and acknowledge them. So often we feel like we can’t speak or let people in. It’s shameful, they’ll see us as weak, they won’t understand…. they won’t care. Maggy allows you to see that you aren’t alone while giving helpful hints and lists on how you can help yourself when it gets to be a lot. For me, this book was a godsend and it came just in time.
It isn’t just for people with mental health issues, though, when you think about it. Out there are a million people who have someone they love- a friend, significant other or family member- that deals with depression and anxiety and doesn’t know either what it’s like or how to help. Maggy’s here for you too. I saw myself and my own frustrations with a dear friend who was going through things I could not understand, reading these words and wondering… is that how C– felt? Would these suggestions have helped that instance? Seriously, I loved this book. Even though she talked about really heavy issues I left the last page feeling hopeful, uplifted, ready to get extra help as needed and with a lot of great ideas and a lot less self loathing. Five stars all the way.
On the adult content scale, there’s language, talk of self-harm, drinking and questionable-maybe even triggering- sexual conversations. I won’t say don’t give this to your older teen- they might seriously need to know they aren’t alone. Just…. proceed with caution. I give it a five.
The book is out! Have you read it?
Link to book: