“There’s so much more to a book than just reading.” -Maurice Sendak
My life has revolved around books, in some way, shape, or form, for as long as I can remember, and so when I came across this quote today, it struck me as especially true. Books have been my self-medication, that drug I turn to, reading until the pain is numbed or the anger faded; my anchor, helping to keep me calm in stormy seas; my inspiration, showing me that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t neccessarily a train (and if it is, teaching me how to avoid being run down!). Books continue to show me that I am not alone, and for that reason alone, I will never give up reading.
I am still fighting darkness, and this week, a book gave me some words I desperately needed. I began reading
Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother’s Son
by Joe Pantoliano, the actor best known for his role on The Sopranos (although I remember him primarily as Guido in Risky Business, this is how old I am!). I haven’t made it past the introduction yet, and already, I’m reading parts of this book to family and friends, and writing a post about it. This man, who has struggled his entire life with depression, ADHD, and for years never knew what was really wrong, has put my feelings into words so eloquently, so perfectly, I can’t talk about it without crying. As he discusses his brain disease, and the battles against the stigma of mental illness, he writes this, which is where I began to bawl:
“Louis B Mayer once said ‘The most important thing about acting is sincerity….Once you learn to fake that, you got it made.’ That’s what my depression felt like- like I was faking it. Faking sincerity. Faking serenity. Faking life.” (p. 224) Faking it is what I’ve been doing my entire life, it seems, but Joe finally put it into words.
There is much, much more to this book, and I know I’ll have a whopper of a review for you all once I finish it. But right now, I just had to say that I have never been so glad I chose a book at the time I did.
By the way, I am beginning a new antidepressant tomorrow, (saw Dr Jeff today), and have a referral to a therapist, so with any luck, we’ll get some of this darkness cleared away for good. Or at least find a nice storage facility for it.