Sunday, February 27, 2011
Your Voice In My Head by Emma Forrest: A Memoir
Depression sucks. Plain and simple. It sucks away the hope. It sucks away your life. It sucks away the joy. It sucks away as it eats away at the deepest, darkest parts of yourself. Emma Forrest has battled depression for pretty much most of her life, and in this memoir, she chronicles her ups and downs with it, and she does it with prose that melts the reader into her words.
I first came across Emma Forrest via another blog site, where they made mention of a memoir and how the author writes about her relationship with Colin Farrell, so I read an excerpt out of curiosity, and I got sucked into her style of writing. I am not a Farrell fan. I've always thought he was kind of "dirty" and I understand a bit more why I felt that way about him, after reading this memoir. Although, he is simply known as Gypsy Husband, it's clear who she is writing about. He just happens to be a man she loved, and a relationship that ended in such a way to further trigger the depression. It wasn't the cause, as Emma is quite open about how long she's had depression, the manic parts of her personality, and the bad/wrong men she's been with. Although, I came to this memoir months ago out of that curiosity, not fully realizing the complexity of her story as it deals with depression, it wasn't until more recently that I was able to read the entire memoir, and got passed the hollywood hook and into the trueness of her story. And the special relationship she had with her therapist who died much too young, and the affect his life and death has on one of his patients.
I think everyone will come across depression at sometime in their life, whether it's a direct personal experience, or via a loved one. Depression is brutal, and can take no prisoners. And it is very hard to articulate, or describe to those who have not gone through it themselves, and Emma has found a way to do that, and has provided a bit of comfort for those who've lived in it, or are still living in it.
Her honesty is raw and gritty, and, at times, uncomfortable. She describes her suicide attempts, her cutting, her high risk sexual escapades, all of it. She lets us in. I believe she's experienced some backlash for her memoir/writing style, and has been described as a namedropper. But this is her life. These are her experiences, and some of them revolve around people who are well known in certain parts of the world. It's unfair to judge that part of her memoir, as it's her truth, and they are her experiences. What matters is the way she tells her story, and if it's relatable, or fascinating to read. And it is. And the most important part of this memoir, is what she learned from Dr. R. The doctor who taught her how to live with depression in a way that made her believe she could love and respect herself.
At the end of book, Emma still battles with depression, as it will be a life long struggle, but she has hope, and she has "his" voice in her head. Not a voice of past relationships, not the voice of sadness, but the voice of a kind doctor who gave her hope.