New in from Trigger Publishing: My Review of 'Shiny Happy Person'*
2018 is turning out to be a year of really getting into mental health-based autobiographical(ish) books, and I never thought it would be. Trigger is an independent publishing company that produces mental health books across the globe. I had no idea that such a company existed until they got in touch, but I'm so glad one does! They kindly asked if I would like to review a couple of books from their 'Inspirational series' and I just couldn't pass up the chance to give it a go.
Shiny Happy Person is the one I was most excited for, so naturally the one I've read first. The cover is fab (and totally reminds me of Dorkface aka Jemma's #shinyhappybloggers on Instagram). Most importantly though, it's nice and short, coming in at just over 150 words. Although I don't *usually* pay too much attention to how long a book is, I find that mental health books can be a little draining, and so the idea of a shorter one is much more manageable and appealing to me. I'm firmly in recovery at the moment, and doing well with it, but reading about mental health problems that resonate with me can be tough and triggering, so having something that isn't too intense, or too lengthy for me is a must.
Shiny Happy Person is written by Terri Cox who grew up in Hull with four sisters. Being a third of a set of triplets (how epic), Terri was never alone growing up. However, this didn't always make things better: bullies picked on Terri and her sisters, and she felt as if they always stood out like three sore thumbs.
As she descended into adulthood, Terri stopped being the 'shiny happy person' everyone knew her as. Coming back to the UK after a year abroad to study languages, Terri struggled to settle back in to life. Withdrawing from people, snapping at her boyfriend, and constantly berating herself, Terri reached crisis point. Her boyfriend broke up with her and everything came to a head. But, with the help of a strong support network and a variety of different therapy methods, things started to get better.
I loved this book, and absolutely blazed through it. Terri managed to narrate her struggle with depression, anxiety and panic attacks without making you feel so integrated that some of the emotions were passed over. The book was realistic, and, whilst she didn't gloss over the truly low points, Terri didn't dwell on them, dragging the book out.
My favourite part of the whole book was probably the last twenty pages. Whilst recovering myself I came to realise the hard way that recovery wasn't as straightforward as I'd ever believed. Terri talks about her own recovery, offering stellar advice and noting that there will always be set-backs and relapses, but they don't have to set you all the way back to square one. Even recognising that you're in recovery means that you're not at that first square, and I think that's a message a lot of us need to hear!
*Although this book was gifted to me for the purpose of a review, all content and opinions in this post are my own*