Theresa Larsen's uphill battle with her son's mental illness emotionally and beautifully discusses an issue that unfortunately doesn't get the attention that it deserves. I'm not saying that this was not an easy read and I'm not just discussing the uncomfortable and descriptive details of Matthew's trials. But difficult for someone who has suffered through mental illness, like myself. I needed to read this, not just to be informed, but for my own well being. Like both Matthew and Theresa discovered, I wasn't alone in my struggles.
Usually when you read about mental illness, it's always in the point of view of, in this case I will say, the patient. So it is refreshing to read someone's experience dealing with a close relative's mental illness. When you hear about a person suffering through depression and other mental disorders, you always concentrate on how it is affecting that person, but you rarely think twice on how it affects the whole family. You truly don't understand the physical and emotional toil it puts on a family, the financial burden that they have to go through. When reading this memoir, it is a huge eye opener. Reading about Larsen's experiences proves why this issue needs to be openly discussed and backed, especially from insurance companies. This is an important issue that just cannot be set aside.
Larsen's emotions are radiating from these pages. You can feel her pain when she sees her son at his worst. You can feel her frustration when she sometimes loses hope. You can feel her fear when she thinks that every time she visits her son it will be for the last time. I applaud Larsen for writing Matthew's and her family's struggles. It must be very difficult for her to relive these painful experiences. But I think it was necessary. It might have been cathartic for her but her story needed to be told for others to know that you are not alone in this and there's hope at the end of the tunnel.
Larsen refers back to Matthew's writings from his journal and even though it was uncomfortable to read at times due to its dark nature, I believe it was very important. You are reading what Larsen is going through which is vital but you need to know what Matthew is going through in his own words and you get that through his journal writings.
If you are uncomfortable reading about dark, personal matters, then this memoir may not be for you. But I hope you change your mind because in my opinion, I feel that this is a type of book that everyone should read. This is an important issue that should definitely not be bypassed.