Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Finding Power through the Pain: A Review of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor

One of the first gifts blogging gave me was my friendship with the wonderful, talented, and amazing Kathy McCullough, who I met through her powerful words and beautiful art at her (somewhat defunct) blog Reinventing the Event Horizon. You can now find her enjoying life and creating idiomArt while living as an ex-pat in Cuenca, Ecuador. Kathy is the first blogger I met in person, and am so blessed to count her among my friends.

[caption id="attachment_9000" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Kathy, Tori Nelson, Lisa and Thomas meet at Kathy and Sara's old home in Lexington, KY. Kathy, Tori Nelson, Lisa and Thomas meet at Kathy and Sara's old home in Lexington, KY.[/caption]

I mention Kathy here, because she was the first person who introduced me to the incredible beauty, energy and power that comes from people who survive and thrive despite mental illness. I will never forget reading her post entitled "Leaving the Seclusion Room (Some Not-So-Crazy Notes on Recovering From Mental Illness)"  In that post she wrote these powerful words:
"The world is still a staggeringly beautiful place, and those of us who struggle with psychiatric illness make it a richer place to live and love.  We hope big hopes.  We dream ever more enduring dreams. 

Recovery is possible." (Kathyrn McCullough)
It is because of those words that I was excited to receive an ARC of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor. While Kathy is not one of the contributors (although I hope she will submit for future anthologies) her example reminded me that the voices of those suffering from Mental Illnesses are voices that need to be heard, stories that need to be shared, and lessons that need to be learned. The only way to help those who suffer is to remove the stigma from discussing it.


The writers in SMITH share their stories with brutal honesty, vivid detail, intense pain, and sometimes reflective humor. Every story is not hilarious, and they shouldn't be because mental illness is not something to laugh at. However, each story offers insight into the wild variety of ways illness can manifest itself. Each story also touches upon feelings, doubts, emotions, and fears that I defy anyone to say they have never experienced. I'm not saying that we all carry the burden of mental illness, but I do believe we all can relate to the experiences of these people if we look at ourselves and multiply our own experiences times 100 or 1000 or  1,000,000. Most importantly, though, each of these stories offer a sense of possibility and hope--because they are from the voices of people who have experienced the darkest moments of their lives, only to come through more powerful, more creative, and with an important message to share with the world. "Recovery is possible."

Each and every one of these writers has a unique power that they aren't afraid to share with the world--the power to fight for their lives and their sanity and win. Buy your copy today, for anyone who needs to discover hope.


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