BOOK: All In Her Head
AUTHOR: Sunny Mera
PUBLISHER: She Writes Press
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ (3/5)
As a young girl growing up in the Midwest, Sunny experiences the shame and stigma of scandal when her father is banned from their church for having an affair with the pastor’s best friend’s wife. As Sunny grows older, she begins to build the life she’s always wanted: she marries, buys a house, enrolls in graduate school, and soon has a baby on the way. But when she experiences the psychological phenomena of orgasmic labor, it triggers a chain of bizarre events, and she gradually descends into a world of delusion and paranoia. As Sunny struggles to separate the real from the unreal, she relies upon friends and family to ground her in truth and love—and keep her from going over the edge into madness.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
To put it bluntly, this book broke my heart. Sunny Mera’s words had me fully engaged every time I picked it up. As a young woman I don’t have any personal experience with postpartum ailments that I could relate to, but the topic of mental illness is what drew me in. As a teenager, and even now as an adult, I have struggled with depression. When I was in Grade 11 I was recommended for antidepressants by my psychiatrist, but my Dad refused, wanting to treat me with more natural remedies. My Dad did not understand depression, he’d had no personal experiences with mental illness and didn’t know why I couldn’t just choose to be happier. My Dad and I had always been so close and the fact that I felt distanced from him because of what was going on with me was completely disheartening.
Sunny Mera is completely right when she says that it is comforting to read of others’ experiences, and although her illness is not the same as mine, there is still the comfort of knowing you are not alone. I am so grateful that my generation is becoming way more aware and accepting of mental illness and we are slowly killing that stigma that it’s “all in your head”.
“The idea was so deeply rooted in me, so much a part of me, that I didn’t know how to release the roots and repot it somewhere else besides my heart.”
Sunny writes this beautiful story of her journey through postpartum psychosis and her later diagnosis of schizophrenia that will make you laugh, make you cry. You’ll worry, you’ll hope, and you’ll reflect on your own journey. But perhaps, most importantly, this story will shed some light to those in the dark, and some hope for those who understand.