Title: Hello Me, It’s You
Author: Hannah Todd, Anonymous
Release date: October 10th 2016
“Keep smiling and being you. Don’t let the world change you”
Hello Me, it’s You is a collection of letters by young adults aged 17-24 about their experiences with mental health issues. The letters are written to their 16-year-old selves, giving beautifully honest advice, insight and encouragement for all that lays ahead of them.
This book was produced by the Hello Me, it’s You charity, set up by the editor, Hannah. Hannah was diagnosed with depression and anxiety whilst at university and found comfort in talking to friends about their experiences, realising she was not alone in her situation. This inspired the idea for the charity and book. Through the creation of materials such as this, the charity aims to provide reassurance for young adults (and their families) who are experiencing mental health issues and give a voice to young adults on such an important topic. The result of that will hopefully be a reduction in the negative stigma surrounding mental health and an increase in awareness of young people’s experiences. All profits go the Hello Me, it’s You charity, for the production of future supportive books.
Trigger warning: Due to it’s nature, the content of this book may be triggering. Contains personal experiences of depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, trichotillomania and other mental health issues, as well as issues such as assault.
“…both beautiful and necessary” Sarah Franklin
We all enjoy stories we can relate to. Stories that can put words on experience we have had, on emotions that have filled us at some point, on problems we never dared talking about, on weights that have burdened us. Stories make us feel like there’s someone out there who understands what we have been through, what we are going through. But stories are just that: stories. There is a limit to the solace we can find in them because in the end, we are the only ones who can find the right words to fill the pages of our own stories.
That is what makes Hello Me, It’s You different from everything I have read before on mental health. There is no professional giving you well-thought but inefficient miracle solutions to make you feel better, no author trying to portray something they never actually experienced themselves and fixing it all with the power of love. In this book, you will find letters. The truest letters you can write. Letters to your younger self. They are heart-breaking yet so full of hope.
A wide range of issues are discussed by an array of different people who know what they are talking about because they were on the front when it all happened. Bulimia, anxiety, depression. You name it, they survived it. They don’t hide, they don’t lecture. They understand, they look back at themselves with tolerance and admiration because they know what is ahead and the strength it takes to go through it. I think what moved me the most was the gentle voices I imagined while reading their letters. They stopped fighting themselves, they started fighting that part of them that kept pulling them down into those dark holes.
Even surrounded by people suffering from similar problems, I often find it difficult to listen to advice, as I feel I’m the only one who knows what it’s like to live in my shoes. Literally speaking, it’s true, but those letters reminded me the world doesn’t revolve around me and there’s nothing so special about my anxiety. The words they chose to talk to themselves resonated in me just as if I had been the one writing to myself. Like a good injection of reality, the reality that I’m no different, and I have the strength to make it too.
You’ll find quotes going along with every letter. I decided to leave them in the book for you to discover them as you go along. They made me smile, they pulled at those poor heartstrings, they enveloped me with a soft layer of joy. No, none of the mental health issues mentioned are okay, fun or easy to live with, but no matter what they did to those anonymous faces and hearts, each and every one of them found a way out. I think it is important to remember it. There’s a door. No, you won’t leave it all behind. But it gets better. Yes it does. That’s the message of this book. Some might find it stupid, but we too often forget that the hardest thing to hold on to when you’re exposed to mental issues is hope. Cheesy as it sounds, you won’t find a better word to spur you to keep on going when it’s raining in your head.
I would like to thank every brave participant of this project for reminding us who important it is to keep going, for letting us in on a part of their lives that hurt, might still hurt, for so openly saying things as they are, and for being alive.
This book is for everyone looking for a proof they is a brighter side.
I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.