20 September 2014

Book Review: Detour from Normal by Ken Dickson

detour from normal book

*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads description (x):
Detour from Normal is the shocking true story of a respected engineer and devoted family man who is driven to insanity by complications from life-saving surgery and medications. After he tragically loses touch with reality, a whirlwind of visits to hospitals and psychiatric facilities ensues. His loving wife is ultimately forced to make the unthinkable decision to commit him to a high-security psychiatric ward. There, he is branded “persistently and acutely disabled” and “a danger to himself and others.” That man is author Ken Dickson, and this is the fascinating story of his journey into and out of madness.
My rating: 2 out of 5 hoots

When I was reading this memoir, I really wanted to like it. I tried so hard to like it, almost straining my mind to make the decision that this was a wonderful book. Unfortunately, while it had some unbelievably great perks about it, when it came down to it, I just couldn't bring myself to be fully convinced that I liked it.

Ken Dickson, the man behind the memoir, packs a punch with a personal story. The problem I had was that, while the story was emotional and full of health information that actually kept my attention (some simply educational, some sad anecdotes), I simply didn't like the storyteller. I really don't know what you do when you like what the book is saying and what's inside of it, the inspiration involved, and the bravery it took to tell the story, but you just don't seem to connect with the narrator. I definitely felt for him, but the way he portrayed himself at times, and I don't just mean his mental state, turned me off towards him. Out of the all the reviews I read on Goodreads, I seem to be the only person with this problem, so I really don't know?!

Really the only other problem I had with this book was that Dickson would, in some random chapters, begin passionately describing in vivid detail how he was planning on creating a new Utopia. I thought at first, Oh that's kinda neat I guess, but as it continued to develop throughout the novel, I became frustrated and had to separate myself from the book several times actually.

On the opposite but positive end, Ken Dickson does quite the job of depicting what mania is and what life is like with it, especially going into detail with the symptoms; for example, hallucinations, irritability, racing thoughts, ideas of grandeur, and the main problem he faced--trouble sleeping. Because his mania affected his family to an extreme extent, like many mental illnesses (and illnesses in general) seem to do, he depicts the feelings of hopelessness anyone feels when their loved ones and people they trust seem to betray them, forget them, or even worse, become engulfed in anguish because of the scenario.

What's almost worse is how you put your trust--and your life, even--in the hands of doctors and healthcare facilities, becoming completely vulnerable, only to come out on the other side a completely different person. Dickson unveils in his book how disturbed our healthcare system can be--which I know all too well from firsthand experiences. Detour from Normal also shines a light on how doctors just seem to haphazardly prescribe medication, and in excess.

The health elements of this memoir stood out to me because I'm so heavily involved in medical elements due to my own predicament with Lyme disease and its symptoms, which involve cognitive and mental symptoms/disorders. However, as stated above, while Dickson's story was intriguing, I just could not find myself able to relate to him, and that can be a large problem in a memoir.

*Thanks again NetGalley for the free copy of this book. 

18 September 2014

Thursday Threads: Empowered


Of course, each item is under $100.

I love cocoon shrugs/cardigans, and this one looks so warm and cozy paired with the printed dress!

I knew I wanted to add some kind of pearls to the equation, but didn't want the outfit to look stuffy. When I found this bracelet (with an imitation pearl), it just clicked!

Although I wasn't sure at first if the black shoes would weigh the outfit down, I think they're too beautiful not to share, and they look lovely with the dress.

17 September 2014

Wordful Wednesday//Letter (to My Mother)

Dear Mom, 
You are an inspiration. I have never met someone who embodies the word "superwoman" so well. 
I know my illness has been hard on you, and I am not always the most cheerful person--especially when I am in pain, which just happens to be most of the time.
But even so, you fetch me chamomile tea, and you rub my back. Soothing me comes natural to you, and you are one of the few people who can calm me down when I am upset about losing a friendship or developing a new symptom.
Laughter surrounds us even through simple text messages. You care for me so much that it makes me care for myself more.
I love you mother, friend, nurse, mentor. 
Your daughter,

14 September 2014

{Widened Horizons}

Rainy, rainy weekend over here! (My joints would certainly agree.)
These earrings reminded me of the rain, and what better day to show off something shiny than when it's gloomy outside?
raindrop earrings

I used to hate clutches, thinking I needed a large bag to fit all my needs ALL THE TIME.
As I've gotten a bit older, I've realized clutches can serve a purpose and look chic at the same time. This handmade leather clutch is something I'd carry around for special events, and I'm sure I'd get compliments galore.
handmade leather special clutch

I've been looking for a cute cell phone charger that I can use when I'm somewhere without any power outlets (camping, anyone?). I love the Jonathan Adler ones and their fun patterns, but then I stumbled across this neat little guy and fell in love.
iphone apple charger cute cool
I just think the charger is so cute and it even comes in the colors green and pink!

Finding handmade home decor items is probably my favorite thing to do. When I discover the items are made in North Carolina, I get even giddier! These lovely napkin rings are so sweet and would be a perfect touch to any home.
napkin rings handmade porcelain

The owl find this week is a necklace that immediately made me say holy cow! It is so well-made and so adorable. I just NEED to add this to my jewelry collection.
owl totem necklace cute

And something for this rainy day, even though you may be feeling blue...
be kind picture inspiration

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11 September 2014

Thursday Threads: Season's Relish

Season's Relish

Quiz pink top, $29 / Chicnova Fashion pleather shorts / Black ballet shoes / Gold jewellery / MAC Cosmetics evening makeup

I'm not going to go into much detail with this outfit, except to say I'm completely digging these shorts and yes, I think those flats are completely acceptable to wear as we transition into fall.

Also, I'm buying that bracelet. I'M DOING IT.