September 09, 2011

Your Voice in my Head - Emma Forrest

Your Voice in my Head was probably a strange choice of reading for a day when I was home sick from my job as a mental health worker but I am trying to read a lot of memoir styles for my university work at the moment so I thought I would give it a try.
I had heard Emma Forrest speak at the Sydney Writers Festival earlier this year and I was really impressed and intrigued hearing her talk about the process she went through in writing this book - and the fall out from it being published.
Your Voice in my Head is Emma's story of her experience with bipolar disorder, depression and suicidality. Emma writes very openly and honestly about her experiences with alternating low moods and mania and the times in which things have become so desperate she has attempted to take her life. Following one serious suicide attempt Emma begins a therapeutic relationship with Dr R - it is a relationship that, as she states, will help to save her life.
This book is often self indulgent in its style and content - but I was expecting that from a memoir about such a deeply personal and affecting experience and in this case I think it only added to the genuineness and authenticity of the book. There are some lighter, and very funny, moments in the book too and this helped to break up some of the deep reflective segments. At the end there is a definite strong sense of hope - Emma continues to battle with her illness but she now has on board significant skills and resources to help her.

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