Friday, July 10, 2015

Twisting my Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love

My 1st autographed copy from a writer!

There is a writer in my neighborhood, who I met at the neighborhood book club, that I want to connect with and pick her brain about how she handled her book launch. This seemingly mild mannered, soft spoken lady messaged me back and told me she was dropping off her book on my front porch.

It sat in my kitchen for two days. It's not that I didn't want to read it - the reviews were great coming from both Amazon and the local book club - it was the subject that I generally tended to stay away from. Possibly, I am looking at this from my Asian pedestal and beliefs that tend not to talk about and see mental health as an issue. Another possibility would be that I would find some answers and familiarity in the pages about my sister's own mental state that for the past seven years, I (and along with the rest of my family) choose to ignore with the hope it "goes away on its own."

The Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Twisting my Kaleidoscope offered some uncomfortable insight into what life is like to live with these delusions and psychosis. I applaud Shannon Love on the courage to look at her mental break and fight it with words. Words she penned to find what was happening to her and around her. Words to access what was real and what was not. Words to focus on. Words to conjure up images of her loved ones and fight for them.

I could not put this book down, except of course for usual 'toddler' cravings and antics that needed my attention. I have gotten sentimental as a mother and I honestly cried at parts involving her children and those that love her. To see a person you love with depression fighting internally and rejecting those around them - as the viewer, my first instinct was to shake them. As if shaking them would somehow dislodge whatever hold their internal powers had on them and bring them back to reality. I had chosen to believe that the stronger ones are the ones that fight the war they waged themselves in head-on and the weaker ones were the ones that "tapped out" and attempt the "easy way" of death.

I know each person handling their own mental warfare is much stronger and tougher than I have ever given them credit for.

I cried for the shame and embarrassment that I know her children and husband must have felt and then cried for the helplessness you feel of seeing someone become a hollow shell of who they used to be. There was far more tears in this book than necessary and I think I may have scared the toddler.

Shannon Love took what she knew: her psychosis, how her world changed, how her family and friends changed and painted a picture of what it is like to be sick. Diseased. Seemingly separated from the "realities of life." But it is how she choose to handle the life that was suddenly different than the one she was accustomed to, that begs to be read almost as much as I'm guessing willed the writer to pen this book. I could not put this book down because I wanted to know what (and I'm going to be blunt and impolite here) a "crazy" person thought about during a delusion.

Seeing her in person and reading her words is such a powerful contradictory. This quiet, thin, beautiful woman who carries her mental illness with grace and steely determination is a stronger force than meets the eye.

And 'they lived happily ever after'
I recommend this book to anyone curious enough to see how people with psychosis and delusions look at and deal with life. To say it was an "eye opener" would be an understatement. While it certainly opened my eyes to her world, I would say I walked away with a little more knowledge and compassion for those who have to live their life at a standstill some days. I will also point out that what I loved most about this story- and where most of my tears stemmed from- was how her husband choose to love and show his love to a woman who was slipping away from him. What a beautiful testament to how married couples should be toward one another. Instead of yielding to the damsel clearly in distress, the knight fights for their marriage, their love and showers his bride with patience, courage and a brave front for the family and most of all, prayer. Like any self respecting southern damsel, she takes charge of her fight and meets her knight halfway.

And yes, I understand that there may not be "living happily every after" with people who have mental illness but there is this beautiful hope that somewhere in this kaleidoscope, one can find some semblance of happiness and I am so so thankful to have read this book. I take my own "normal realities" for granted and could not imagine what would happen if my world shifted into a "different reality."

Twisting My Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love available on Amazon.

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