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(Don't) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health Paperback – Illustrated, October 2, 2018
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From the Publisher
|Here We Are||Body Talk|
|Also Edited by Kelly Jensen||Diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like.||"Together, [the] contributions not only emphasize acceptance and self-love but reclaim identities like 'fat' and 'disabled' and span across gender, gender identity, race, and other intersections." — Booklist|
“Jensen has brought together sharp and vivid perspectives concerning mental-health challenges. Featuring writers such as Shaun David Hutchinson, Libba Bray, Adam Silvera and Esmé Weijun Wang, this book asks questions and provides real-life experiences and hope for the future.”
—Washington Post, “Best Children’s Books of 2018”
“This (crucially!) diverse essay collection spans race, gender, sexual orientation, career, and age to hopefully reduce the stigma around mental illness.”
“Empowering . . . deeply resonant . . . With this diverse array of contributors offering a stunning wealth of perspectives on mental health, teens looking for solidarity, comfort, or information will certainly be able to find something that speaks to them. Resources and further reading make this inviting, much-needed resource even richer.”
“Lively, compelling . . . the raw, informal approach to the subject matter will highly appeal to young people who crave understanding and validation . . . This highly readable and vital collection demonstrates the multiplicity of ways that mental health impacts individuals.”
“Thought-provoking . . . Misconceptions about mental health still abound, making this honest yet hopeful title a vital selection.”
—School Library Journal, starred review
“This is a much-needed collection of writing about mental health and the impact it has . . . with mental health stigma unfortunately still being a serious problem, teens really need books like this right now.”
“The spectrum of voices and stories is wonderful to read. Not only that, but it mixes already published pieces as well as original memoir type stories. (Don’t) Call Me Crazy deals with the power of diagnosis/labels not being the same for everyone, and the inequality in the mental health discussion. It is an anthology that stresses individual experiences, support, and listening. If you want to read more about it, Jensen also includes a reading list. So it leaves you not only with more experience, but a jumping board of where to go next. It is equally hopeful, cathartic, inspiring and real.”
—Utopia State of Mind
About the Author
- Grade level : 9 and up
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781616207816
- ISBN-13 : 978-1616207816
- Dimensions : 7 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
- Publisher : Algonquin Young Readers; Illustrated edition (October 2, 2018)
- Reading level : 14 - 18 years
- Language: : English
- ASIN : 1616207817
- Best Sellers Rank: #185,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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With this in mind, you can imagine how ecstatic I was when I learned that (Don’t) Call Me Crazy would fill both of those needs.
“Crazy” is not a singular—or definitive—experience.
The first thing I have to rave about is the wide variety of representations offered in this book. Not only are there authors from so many different backgrounds—queer, trans, bi/multiracial, Latinx, and/or Native, to name a few—but there are so many important diagnoses and topics discussed.
There’s Dior Vargas’ discussion of how hard it is to be a person of color with a mental illness in a society that depicts MI as a “white” issue, S. Jae-Jones’ narrative of what it feels like to be the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, Mike Jung’s relation of autism (and the fact that it is not an illness to be cured, no matter what certain “activism groups” claim)… In fact, I’m just going to include a list at the bottom of this review.
Something else I loved about this collection is that there are so many different viewpoints on healing/coping. There are stories encouraging, others encouraging therapy or meditation, and even one I related very strongly to, where Heidi Heilig discusses feeling like “A Bad Crazy” for choosing not to medicate or to strongly pursue a “cure” for the time being. No writer ever vilifies another path to coping or healing; the general theme is that we do what we need to do in order to survive and pursue peace in life. The finishing piece from s. e. smith, “Call Me Crazy”, even talks about reclaiming slurs and hurtful terms, fighting back against stigmas, and being proud of ourselves—mental illnesses and all.
This may go without saying, but please practice self-care while reading this collection, as there are certainly quite a few triggering topics. There are discussions of sexual assault, abusive family members, eating disorders, hospitalizations, self-harm (including the comic by Yumi Sakugawa, which depicts a cartoonish character harming themselves), transphobia, racism, sexism, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, ableism, and more.
Finally, I just wanted to share a few of my stand-out favorites and the ones that meant the most to me on a personal note:
→ Ashley Holstrom’s thoroughness in branching off from a discussion of trich to describe its sister illness, dermatillomania, which I have dealt with literally as long as I can remember and have never seen depicted in a book, nonfiction or otherwise.
→ S. Jae-Jones’ commentary on how the romanticization of mental illness in women causes an environment that is not conducive to women seeking and receiving the help they need.
→ Heidi Heilig’s admittance that she considers herself “A Bad Crazy” for not seeking out a cure or treatment for her mental illness—I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this.
→ Amy Reed’s story of her struggles with addiction, in which she reminds us that healing is a forever process.
→ Jessica Tremaine’s history of her disordered eating habits and the desperate need for control that they stemmed from.
→ MILCK’s narrative around the combination of anorexia and depression—and just as notably, the underlying message that nothing is stronger than a woman who is brave enough to love herself in a society that tries to tear her down.
→ Emery Lord’s incredibly relatable piece on depression, numbness, and the general lack of desire to exist—I literally feel like Emery Lord and I are mental illness soul sisters after reading this, and I cried, a lot, because talk about feeling seen.
→ Victoria Schwab’s explanation for why she stays so busy. Her reasoning is precisely the same as my own need to constantly be doing something, even if it’s at the risk of “being present”—and her struggles with obsessive thoughts even began in the same way that mine did, by revolving around an all-consuming fear of losing her parents as a child. From another kid who grew up compulsively listening for the sounds of my parents continuing to breathe while they slept, I see you, Victoria. ♥
Those are just a few of the gems in this collection, though, and I think there is honestly something in this book for everyone and anyone who has any experience with mental illnesses of their own. I cannot recommend this collection highly enough, and hope that it will become a staple item in teen libraries everywhere. Between the stories of hope and healing, the resources offered, and even the uplifting comics and fun lists of movies and books with healthy rep, this is a fantastic resource and one that I will be recommending to friends and loved ones for years to come.
Representations—listed by author, in order of appearance:
Ashley Holstrom: trichotillomania, dermatillomania
Dior Vargas: imposter syndrome, borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Sarah Hannah Gomez: OCD, bipolar II
Stephanie Kuehn: misophonia/4S
Mike Jung: autism
Christine Heppermann: phobias, abuse
S. Jae-Jones: bipolar
Monique Bedard (Aura): erasure of MI in Native communities
Heidi Heilig: bipolar
Emily Mayberry: PTSD
Amy Reed: addictions, abuse
Jessica Tremaine: anorexia, bulimia
Reid Ewing: body dysmorphia
Susan Juby: alcoholism
MILCK: anorexia, depression
Libba Bray: OCD, anxiety
Emery Lord: depression, suicidal ideation
Gemma Correll: anxiety (multiple comics)
Clint Van Winkle: PTSD/PTS
Esme Weijun Wang: anxiety
Victoria/V. E. Schwab: obsessive thoughts
Kristen Bell: depression
Mary Isabel: PTSD, abuse
Lisa Jakub: anxiety
Meredith Russo: depression, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, body dysmorphia, experiencing transphobia
Yumi Sakugawa: self harm (comic)
Kelly Jensen: depression, anxiety
Adam Silvera: depression, suicidal ideation
Hannah Bae: paranoia
S. Zainab Williams: depression (comic)
Nancy Kerrigan: disordered eating
s. e. smith: depression, misdiagnosed BPD, “craziness”
NOTE: I took notes while reading, but apologize if I missed anything represented in any specific stories. I opted not to include the authors’ races or sexual/gender identities in most of these because I wasn’t familiar with all of the authors and did not want to make any assumptions or out anyone without their consent.