Insightful, heartbreaking, and healing. Those are the words I would use to describe this book.
How to Come Alive Again: a guide to killing your monsters, by Beth McColl came into my life at the right time. I have felt the pressures of anxiety more so than usual recently. Let me just say that it can be exhausting at times. I sought out a book on the subject. I found this and within the first few lines, I felt seen and understood.
The book is broken down into parts as follows:
Part One: Lightlessness
Part Two: Glimmer
Part Three: Sunrise
Part Four: Eclipse
Part Five: Illumination
Each part offers insightful commentary and advice for tackling subjects such as anxiety, depression, therapy, and normalizing it all. It provides a guide for being human, especially for the days when you don’t feel like it. It gives a glimpse into the mind of someone who struggles with managing the daily pressures of life.
Listen: you have the universe’s permission to be delighted with yourself.
McColl offers a mental warm hug and a pep talk that tells you that you are okay and will continue to be okay. These things simultaneously define you and don’t define you.
And forget that nonsense about loving and embracing all of your flaws. You don’t have to love the things that impair and disrupt your life. You just have to see them as workable, and never just unique to you. Everybody’s fucked and everybody has a brilliance in them.
This book is beautifully written and sprinkled with humor that made me smile. McColl is someone I think I’d be very great friends with. It was entirely relieving to read someone’s work on a subject that I’m all too familiar with. I gained a sense of relief from knowing someone understood completely what I feel. And I think it is so beautiful that so many others understand too.
I truly recommend this read to anyone that struggles with feelings of anxiety or depression, or to anyone who is trying to understand what other people are going through. It paints a magnificent picture of these feelings, addressing issues that may cause the feelings, and how to survive them in the moment and once they pass.
I know the many passages I highlighted will serve as a comforting guide for those days that aren’t so easy. I now know that I have these words to help me through and empower me to focus on how to come alive again.
Go to bed and wake up changed. Wake up and be bewildered and awed at the constant changing and improving of you. Delight in the mistakes and the learning and the long, arduous nonsense of it all.