November 5, 2018 • Cee • Reviews

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health edited by Kelly Jensen • October 4, 2018 • Algonquin Young Readers
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Who’s Crazy?

What does it mean to be crazy? Is using the word crazy offensive? What happens when such a label gets attached to your everyday experiences?

In order to understand mental health, we need to talk openly about it. Because there’s no single definition of crazy, there’s no single experience that embodies it, and the word itself means different things—wild? extreme? disturbed? passionate?—to different people.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy is a conversation starter and guide to better understanding how our mental health affects us every day. Thirty-three writers, athletes, and artists offer essays, lists, comics, and illustrations that explore their personal experiences with mental illness, how we do and do not talk about mental health, help for better understanding how every person’s brain is wired differently, and what, exactly, might make someone crazy.

If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or know someone who has, come on in, turn the pages, and let’s get talking.

myreview

I received this book for free from Algonquin Young Readers for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “We all have thoughts, feelings, and internal struggles.”

I needed a book like (Don’t) Call Me Crazy when I was a teenager.

I didn’t have somebody to talk to about mental health—I don’t remember being taught in school about the different illnesses people may experience (outside of depression) and taking care of your mental health.

A teenage Cee would never have been able to identify what she was feeling—anxiety. I never found people who felt and experienced what I did; it just wasn’t talked about. I would obsessively worry about little things outside of my control or I’d feel sick and dizzy when I tried conversing with classmates or speaking in front of a class because I had this overwhelming dread of being embarrassed or saying something that’ll be judged. I avoided it anyway I could. I didn’t know how to identify these feelings, and everybody I knew told me I was being silly—that I needed to get over it (or that I will), but I never did. I felt ashamed.

But mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

People like these authors in (Don’t) Call Me Crazy may seem like they’re put together, but you don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. When you pull back the curtain, you get people who face different mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, body dysmorphia, and anxiety. These authors—writers, actors, athletes, artists—write about their own experiences with their mental illness, and it’s so damn powerful. Read about Shaun David Hutchinson not letting his mental illness define him; S. Jae Jones on her bipolar disorder and not being this manic pixie dream girl; Reid Ewing and his body dysmorphia; and Gemma Correll’s art on her anxiety (very relatable). They also provide you with lists of recommended books dealing with certain illnesses and resources to get help.

This book lets everybody know that hey, if you live with any of these illness these authors write about, you’re not alone! And it did make me feel that I wasn’t—that others felt what I felt when I was a teenager. Everybody experiences different things, and (Don’t) Call Me Crazy shows that.

Should you read (Don’t) Call Me Crazy? YES!!!! If you’re looking for a book that gets the conversation started about mental health, (Don’t) Call Me Crazy is an excellent start. Let’s continue to get rid of the stigma about talking about mental health! It’s so important to start that conversation. Take care of yourself.


 


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