24 October 2014

The Death of Me by Shawnna Burt

 The Death of Me is a true coming of age story of a young girl’s fight with Anorexia, Bulimia, LGBT issues, and Bipolar Disorder, which takes her on a frightening road through years of madness, three dozen hospitalizations, and a nearly one year long stay in a state hospital.

Feeling the mockery of her peers, Shawnna never quite fit in in school. Feeling afraid and alone, her turmoil reaches a crucial boiling point as adolescence draws near. A very macabre personality begins to take over her, as she discovers her weight is something she can control, that her appetites were the issue all along.

All her life, something dangerous has been waiting in the wings. It waits to take her at her weakest moment. The monster comes forth, and carries her away.

The Death of Me is a tale of passion, repression, obsession, power, a desperation to escape undesirable circumstances, a desperation for respect. The fear of drowning in one's emotions forever. And repression of feeling anything at all and emerging raw and skinless, and feeling everything. This is the story of a young girl's response to the world and to the turbulent emotions that run tempestuously throughout her life, like snakes in the grass. She must come ultimately come face to face with the demons of her past and present - or die.

Please don’t make the mistake in thinking this is going to be an enjoyable read for entertainment purposes.  This is a short book about the pain and agony of a young girl, growing up with no identity of her own, always trying to reach for the goal that was never set for her. 
Living in a family where each member contradicts the other with their own habits and personality, the young girl tries to find her place, the place that she can be herself and fit in.  When she goes to school she is bullied and tormented by students that refuse to accept her.
At church she is made to feel guilty for exploring her interests and desires, for never being good enough for the Great Almighty.  How is she supposed to be happy when everywhere she turns her needs are ignored, her desires are condemned and her wants are ridiculed?  She thinks she takes matters into her own hands but in the end she becomes anorexic and bulimic.  She allows the disorders to do her thinking for her and control her life.
The author tells us the story of an innocent young girl who as she became a woman looked back on her childhood and what led her to the days she stayed locked up in treatment facilities, the brushes with death she escaped and the long road to recovery that she still travels.  This was a powerful book, a true testimony of the will to survive and find happiness, the courage of the human spirit. 
While this isn’t a vacation read or something I would suggest for relaxation and escape, I do strongly urge everyone to take a couple of hours and read this story.  Learn more about eating disorders and the struggle that comes with it.  Just as with this young lady it is so easy for the uninformed to say “Just eat” but what they don’t understand is anorexia and bulimia isn’t a choice that can be made so quickly and it certainly isn’t something that can be cured easily.  I applaud the author for stepping out and writing this, sharing the emotions and darkness that comes with these disorders.  Showing that any family can suffer from this, and it is a family disorder, it affects not only the victim but everyone who cares and loves that person.  Please consider reading this with an open mind, a mind that is willing to hear and learn.  Also respect the author for the courage she had in writing this and putting it out there, hoping readers will hear the message and those with this disorder will know they are not alone.  


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