It’s official. Bryony Gordon is my spirit animal.
Mad Girl is a brave, honest and hilarious, yet heart-wrenching and thought-provoking account of what living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be like. Bryony opens up completely about the devastating effects of her OCD and the perils of low self-esteem, her fight with bulimia and drug reliance. From someone who also suffers with OCD, she brilliantly conveys the repetitive, terrifying and unstoppable thoughts on each page.
Bryony writes with such fearless honesty and raw emotion about such dark and shocking periods of her life, whilst maintaining a sharp wit and a classic British, self-deprecating humour.
Mad Girl is a shining example of how to champion that mental illness is normal. Bryony tackles the stigma of mental health in such a blisteringly blunt fashion, ensuring her memoir will break down the barriers in such an ignorant world. She is not shy to admit she had a privileged upbringing, with a nice house, a supportive family and private education. This is why she reiterates that people with mental health problems do not necessarily suffer because of a difficult childhood or a traumatic event. Sometimes, there is no reason at all, and that does not make you some kind of fraud. Bryony emphasizes that happy, professional, successful and sociable people can suffer too.
“Mental illness does not always fit the binary, black and white terms given to it in the media, books and films. This is also why it is such a bastard. It is good at hiding, evading capture, putting on a show. It is the world’s greatest actor.”
Bryony Gordon is a wife, a mother and an established writer for The Telegraph and I am in awe of her. It must have taken balls of steel to share most of the things she did in this book, including intrusive thoughts that even I cannot admit to yet. Her words inspire me to keep fighting and to never lose hope. Horror stories can have a happy ending.
I recommend this book to anyone who suffers with mental illness or are close to someone who does. Not only will Mad Girl provide you with the comfort and relief that you are not alone in your illness, but it will give you hope; something we all crave. As she states at the very beginning, this book is for the one in four. The We.
This is a raw and candid depiction of the realities of mental illness, with Bryony’s wonderful, courageous, comedic tone that carries her audience thought her bleakest moments. In describing her depression, it’s never a depressing read and I found myself laughing out loud throughout the commentary of her journey. I am full of admiration for her courage, her determination to beat OCD and help others to do the same.
She writes in her prologue: “Only by talking about our own mental health will we start to be taken seriously. We need to tell as many people as possible about what goes on in our heads. So no, this is not a self-help book. It is just my story. My only hope is that by reading it, you might feel able to share yours, too.”
Amen to that.
Buy your copy of Mad Girl here.