Different Shades of the Mind
Chittaranjan Subudhi
SIDE EFFECTS OF LIVING: AN ANTHOLOGY OF VOICES ON MENTAL HEALTH by Jhilmil Breckenridge and Namarita Kathait Speaking Tiger, 2019, 213 pp.,
July 2020, volume 44, No 7

The edited volume is an anthology of twenty-four real-life experiences of mental illnesses survivors along with seventeen lovely poems and a little bit of art on mental health. At the outset, the editors explain the rationale for the title in their Preface.  Mental illness affects every aspect of individual lives as well as of their family members. In addition they have to face various forms of stigma and discrimination in their daily life. Negative attitudes are highly associated with people with mental illness and their family members, which has an impact on different life domains like social mobility, relationships, and community. There is also an adverse effect on the marital life of patients with mental health problems. The condition is a state of ‘social suffering’ as we read in the different stories in the book.

The author of the first story has written about her journey in the field of mental health while the last tale is about the author’s personal journey with hypomania. The stories in this volume, e.g., ‘It’s All in Your Mind’, ‘An Anaesthetized Life’, ‘Bipolar Sunshine’ and ‘Enter the Light’ are life narratives of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar, major depressive and manic disorders.

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