I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying a collection of essays by Bassey Ikpi
I’ve been trying to branch out to many more types of memoirs. For a long time I focused mainly on science non-fiction books and cult or true crime based memoirs. As interesting as those are, they started becoming repetitive and I wasn’t really finding that many new perspectives.
I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying is one on my list of mental health memoirs. I previously reviewed Fast Girl, about an olympian with bipolar 1. This memoir by Bassey Ikpi is about her experience living with bipolar 2. For those who may not know, the simplistic distinction between the two is that bipolar 1 has more extreme mania and bipolar 2 has much longer bouts of depression.
Many of you may also not know about my personal history with bipolar disorder. My dad had it, and now I’ve been diagnosed myself. As important as it is to seek out memoirs from different perspectives from your own, I’ve found it truly valuable to find memoirs in which I can find shared experiences. Ipki’s descriptions of depression and insomnia help me feel like I’m not the only one.
Throughout I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying Ipki shifts her own perspective, sometimes recalling stories in first person but often switching to second person. This is an unusual strategy but an effective one to help the reader place themselves in her shoes. It might be difficult for you to fully understand how depression and mania can fully orchestrate someone’s behavior against their will but this book will get you one step closer.
She also recalls her stories in a much more accurate representation of human memory than we normally see. She will address details she knows to be factually incorrect but, nevertheless, it’s how she remembers them. I know we all have those memories that are, for lack of a better term, implanted.
Her essays do not occur linearly, once again, just like our own memories in real life. She hops around to different periods of her life to account for the full spectrum of the events that brought her to where she is today. We can see her failures and successes, her heartbreaks and triumphs, as she deems important. It is every high and low that makes up an individual, bipolar individuals just have many of them even without external variables.
I encourage all readers to find a memoir of a new perspective but also of one they can relate to. Find the highs and lows in both and see how you fit with others in the world and how those you may think are very different than yourself may actually be quite similar.
5/5 mood stablilizers 💊💊💊💊💊
For another great memoir check out My Epidemic
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