(Image Taken from Chapters Indigo.ca)
This recent book review and an upcoming one titled "Yet Another Alice Fallen: Adventures in Disassociation" written by the same author here are a part of a two book review series I am posting on mental health issues. It is too often that mental health is associated with a negative stigma, and I want to show that through this author, writing can be healing, and is more than okay to write about. Chi miigwetch to renowned author and a former professor of mine, Lee Maracle for lending me these two books to review.
Substituting Dangers: Poetry Book Review
By: Christine McFarlane
This book is a collection of poetry that spans over twenty years of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I admire the courage that this author-Clair Itey takes in writing about a topic that is not usually discussed-mental health and its effects on an individual’s life, specifically post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Within the introduction of the book, Itey relays how before she had this poetry book published she was asked by her therapist “why do you want to publish this collection of poems?” and how her reply was “I want to share this work with others-those who have PTSD and those who love them-in hopes of inspiring them to look more deeply into their own lives, to consider using poetry as a means of therapy and expression, and to then reach out to others with compassion, understanding and care.”
The poetry is written at various points in the author’s life but share many themes in common which includes the dialectic between speaking and remaining silent; the need to have control over one’s body and self image: the difficulty of maintaining relationships (eg. Being a daughter, mother, wife, sister and friend) while dealing with PTSD) and how the writing of poetry can serve as a process for healing.
I especially felt drawn to the following poem:
“my whole childhood
taken for granted
until one day you whisper,
having no past
is not the same as amnesia.
able to tell you
touch and language.”
because it is also something that I can relate to. I was diagnosed with post -traumatic stress disorder, and though I don’t often speak about it, living with PTSD can be difficult because memories are often not whole, and when you do remember certain things, memories often only come in bits and pieces. It is often when you cannot remember certain aspects of your life; people who have PTSD feel like they have amnesia.
Post traumatic Stress Disorder is widely written from a medical/scientific perspective, and this is one of the few times that I have had a book in my hands that is written from a personal perspective.
I applaud the author-Clair Itey for addressing this topic through poetry within her book “Substituting Dangers; A Journey with PTSD” This book was published by iUniverse, Inc, and is 51 pages. It can be found at your nearest bookstore, and online at www.chapters.indigo.ca and www.amazon.ca