Eleanor sets the scene of her book by taking the reader down her ancestors' memory lane. I feel Eleanor has done this to help shed light on how understanding your past can help you as an individual but also as a family navigate your life in the present.

Parental depression

Eleanor goes on to describe a fairly idealistic childhood that makes me reminisce on my own. However, I find when she talks about her dad getting ill this rings true to what I went through as child. For anyone who hasn’t experienced a parent going through depression or any other illness for that matter, I can wholeheartedly say it is tough going on a child as you feel helpless.

I like how Eleanor’s dad describes going into a depression as “like I’d fallen off a cliff”. This is very accurate as the depression can come on so suddenly. Yes you can see yourself start to spiral but then you just fall and before long you’re in the belly of the whale in the dark with no light.

I found when Eleanor describes her experience at school identical to mine and probably quite a lot of people’s. Being bullied I find seems to be an unwanted rite of passage that a lot of people go through at some point in their life. That loneliness you feel is indescribable at times. Children, I find, seem to have this special ability to know how to really get to the heart of your insecurities.

Dealing with social anxiety

Throughout the book Eleanor highlights to readers the powerful hold social anxiety can have on you. It’s hard to realise the full extent of how crippling social anxiety can be, but Eleanor does a spectacular job at describing it and how it can have such a hold over your life. I love how Eleanor describes bipolar as having “two yous” that really is how it can feel. It’s like you have two people inside of you fighting for attention. It’s unnerving when you don’t know who’s going to show up. When Eleanor talks about how beneficial therapy is, it makes me question why I stopped going.

At points in Eleanor’s story I find it quite painful to read as it evokes memories of my own hospital experience. It’s hard for anyone to appreciate or understand what it’s like in a psychiatric ward without going through it. As Eleanor describes when you have bipolar you are constantly in this state of fear of when your next episode is going to occur.

What I love about 'Bringing me to Light' is that Eleanor hasn’t let her bipolar or social anxiety interfere with her dreams. Eleanor, even with setbacks, has achieved great success that she and anyone could be proud of.

Eleanor’s book is skilfully written in the way that it not only takes you through her own personal journey, but also at the same time takes you on a journey of discovery into what it’s like living, not only with bipolar but with social anxiety. Through the chapters I have found myself reminiscing on the good, the bad and the ugly that is my past and finding similarities to that of Eleanor’s. Eleanor doesn’t shy away from her painful experiences but embraces them fully making this book all too easy at times to relate to. This book is powerful, enlightening and thought provoking; a must read.

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