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Show Me All Your Scars

Cover of Show Me All Your Scars

Show Me All Your Scars

True Stories of Living with Mental Illness

Every year, one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder. In these true stories, writers and their loved ones struggle as their worlds are upended. What do you do when your father kills himself, or your mother is committed to a psych ward, or your daughter starts hearing voices telling her to harm herself—or when you yourself hear such voices? Addressing bipolar disorder, OCD, trichillomania, self-harm, PTSD, and other diagnoses, these stories vividly depict the difficulties and sorrows—and sometimes, too, the unexpected and surprising rewards—of living with mental illness.

Every year, one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder. In these true stories, writers and their loved ones struggle as their worlds are upended. What do you do when your father kills himself, or your mother is committed to a psych ward, or your daughter starts hearing voices telling her to harm herself—or when you yourself hear such voices? Addressing bipolar disorder, OCD, trichillomania, self-harm, PTSD, and other diagnoses, these stories vividly depict the difficulties and sorrows—and sometimes, too, the unexpected and surprising rewards—of living with mental illness.

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About the Author-
  • Lee Gutkind has been exploring the world of medicine through writing for over 20 years. He is the author of Many Sleepless Nights: The World of Organ Transplantation, and the editor of four anthologies about health and medicine: Silence Kills: Speaking Out and Saving Lives; Rage and Reconciliation: Inspiring a Health Care Revolution; Healing; and Becoming a Doctor. He is the founder and editor of the magazine Creative Nonfiction, the first and largest literary journal to exclusively publish nonfiction, and has also published the essay collection Forever Fat and two books on writing, The Art of Creative Nonfiction and Keep It Real, among other titles. Gutkind currently teaches creative writing at Arizona State University's Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 4, 2016
    Gutkind, himself no stranger to the topic of mental illness (Stuck in Time: The Tragedy of Childhood Mental Illness), has assembled a collection of other authors’ writings that conveys what it is like to experience mental illness and expands the ways in which it can be expressed. The 20 selections are most unified in resisting traditional narrative tropes. Some stories withhold the biographical details about the narrator or protagonist that are obligatory in straightforward accounts, as in the first piece, Ella Wilson’s “Take Care,” which plunges directly into the height of a manic episode. Meanwhile, Ryan Bloom’s “Scuse Me While I Fuck the Sky” experiments with formatting and style to convey what it is like to have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Lesser-known illnesses are also featured: Alison Townsend’s “There’s a Name for That? Living with Trichotillomania” intersperses her own story with research into the compulsion to pull one’s hair. This volume demonstrates that narrative—as opposed to hard, unvarnished facts—can be the most effective way to impart information and promote activism.

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Show Me All Your Scars
Show Me All Your Scars
True Stories of Living with Mental Illness
Lee Gutkind
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