MH@H Book Reviews

Book Review: I Will Not Be My Mental Illness

Book cover: I Will Not Be My Mental Illness by Karina Pommainville-Odell

I Will Not Be My Mental Illness: Let’s Recover Together by Karina Pommainville-Odell, a fellow blogger, is an invitation for the reader to join the author in working on a better life with mental illness.

The book’s tone is friendly and encouraging, and positive in a realistic rather than over the top way. Chapters are short and easy to read, and it’s very interactive, with exercises for the reader to do and questions to promote reflection. It’s not diagnosis-specific; rather, it addresses common issues that come up across diagnoses.

The author describes herself as a failed perfectionist, and offers suggestions for dealing with perfectionism. She admits that things haven’t always gone well, and shows a willingness to laugh at herself: “it’s important to note that much can be learned from someone who’s made nearly every mistake in the book. It’s also helpful because we can go through the process together instead of me acting all professorial and perfect. News flash โ€“ Iโ€™M NOT!”

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) concepts are incorporated in several of the chapters. The author uses personal examples to illustrate concepts like cognitive distortions and reframing self-limiting beliefs.

There are also several chapters on emotions, including one that addresses being able to separate yourself from your emotions (and your illness, hence the title).

I Will Not Be My Mental Illness is a hopeful look at the recovery process that also freely acknowledges that hiccups can occur along the way. It’s also a reminder that we don’t need to be perfect; trying works just as well, and this book offers a friend to join you in that.

I Will Not Be My Mental Illness is available on Amazon.

Visit the author on her blog I Will Not Be My Mental Illness.

You can find my other reviews on the book review index on MH@H or on Goodreads.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: I Will Not Be My Mental Illness”

  1. Great review! I love the attitude and tone of the book! Indeed we can’t be perfect!! We must learn together! I like that concept a whole lot more than I like the concept of therapy!!

  2. I’ve talked about it on my own blog once or twice but if you ever have time, you should read The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz and let me know what you think. The name is a bit deceiving as he’s not saying things like depression don’t exist but more that we treat them incorrectly as diseases which can be treated with pills rather than social problems that require a lot of training and reflection. It was written quite a while ago so I think our approach has begun to change toward what he’s talking about but we still rely on drugs too much, I feel. Books like this one in your post seem to somewhat address the issues he brings up in his own book.

    1. I haven’t read The Myth of Mental Illness, but I’ve read about some of Szasz’s work, and the impression that I got was that he veered in a sufficiently extreme direction from mainstream psychiatry that he threw out the baby with the bathwater. His cuddliness with Scientology and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights that he co-founded with the Church of Scientology are definitely turn-offs. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

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