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That's Mental: Painfully Funny Things That Drive Me Crazy About Being Mentally Ill

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Award-winning Asian British comedy writer Amanda Rosenberg presents an intimate memoir of confessional essays about the hilarious, inappropriate, and often difficult side to being mentally ill. That’s Mental breaks down myths and misconceptions about what it means to be a millennial with mental illness in a darkly funny, but relatable way. In her new book, Rosenberg Award-winning Asian British comedy writer Amanda Rosenberg presents an intimate memoir of confessional essays about the hilarious, inappropriate, and often difficult side to being mentally ill. That’s Mental breaks down myths and misconceptions about what it means to be a millennial with mental illness in a darkly funny, but relatable way. In her new book, Rosenberg addresses the overlooked and offbeat issues of mental illness, shedding light on topics that are off-limits, uncomfortable, or just downright embarrassing. This book details every challenging and awkward stage of Amanda’s journey with mental illness and how she manages what she calls her, “garden variety crazy.” These pages are a look at the everyday realities of mental illness - the particular kind of torture that is finding a good therapist, the challenges of figuring out the elusive correct mix of medications, and the appropriate responses with how to deal with the friend who insists ‘but you don’t look depressed’.


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Award-winning Asian British comedy writer Amanda Rosenberg presents an intimate memoir of confessional essays about the hilarious, inappropriate, and often difficult side to being mentally ill. That’s Mental breaks down myths and misconceptions about what it means to be a millennial with mental illness in a darkly funny, but relatable way. In her new book, Rosenberg Award-winning Asian British comedy writer Amanda Rosenberg presents an intimate memoir of confessional essays about the hilarious, inappropriate, and often difficult side to being mentally ill. That’s Mental breaks down myths and misconceptions about what it means to be a millennial with mental illness in a darkly funny, but relatable way. In her new book, Rosenberg addresses the overlooked and offbeat issues of mental illness, shedding light on topics that are off-limits, uncomfortable, or just downright embarrassing. This book details every challenging and awkward stage of Amanda’s journey with mental illness and how she manages what she calls her, “garden variety crazy.” These pages are a look at the everyday realities of mental illness - the particular kind of torture that is finding a good therapist, the challenges of figuring out the elusive correct mix of medications, and the appropriate responses with how to deal with the friend who insists ‘but you don’t look depressed’.

30 review for That's Mental: Painfully Funny Things That Drive Me Crazy About Being Mentally Ill

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    This book was absolutely brilliant and down right hilarious! As a nurse, my favorite rotation was in psychiatric and mental health. I have always felt a connection with my patients. This book was able to look at mental illness and gloriously shines a light to the stigmas. It helps us become more understanding, and have better awareness about the importance of mental health. This is a must read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Amanda Rosenberg is so so so damn funny. Her humor is exactly my shade of dark. This book is good and it's also so important and encouraging that it exists! I felt seen and relieved by Rosenberg's writing and I laughed my face off. I'm keeping it on my shelf right beside Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking for whenever the next depression spiral hits and I need a friend.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessica | Booked J

    Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Review can be found here at Booked J. Standard disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher and my friends atBookSparks in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. As someone who struggles with her mental health at various, inconvenient times (mental health really do, as the kids say, be like that) I knew straightaway I had to get my hands on That's Mental. Amanda Rosenberg seems not unlike myself--a millennial with Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Review can be found here at Booked J. Standard disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher and my friends atBookSparks in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. As someone who struggles with her mental health at various, inconvenient times (mental health really do, as the kids say, be like that) I knew straightaway I had to get my hands on That's Mental. Amanda Rosenberg seems not unlike myself--a millennial with a bag of mental health issues and a killer sense of humor--and when it comes to non-fiction, this is one of the best traits to have. So, yes. My connection to it started a bit prematurely, sure. By the time I read the epigraph, with its Carrie Fisher quote, and the first quarter of it, I was hooked. Not only is That's Mental a beautifully penned look into mental health, it had me laughing in the very painfully funny manner we were promised. Rosenberg is blunt and upfront about the good, the bad and the painfully funny. Her voice comes across strong and witty. That's Mental utilizes its many traits, giving us an honest portrayal of mental illness. Better yet, a lot of dry humor sprinkled in for good measure. If you struggle with mental health, you know the ride it puts you on nearly every waking minute of every day: when it goes low, it buries you beneath it, and when you have your high points it's like you're soaring. What makes Rosenberg's work so poignant, just as easily thought-provoking as it is brilliantly hilarious, is in the way she lays out the facts and never makes her readers feel as though she is breaking us into a watered down version of mental illness and the course it sets us down. Every page of That's Mental is well used and cuts to the core of her experiences and how the world views mental health. That's Mental is one of those books I wish I had in my late teens and early twenties. It's sure to be remembered in the future and I cannot wait to hear more of Rosenberg's prose. Simply put? I cannot say enough good things about this book and found it to be one of the most essential reads of 2019.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Molly Sanchez

    Holy shit this book is funny and cathartic. Amanda Rosenberg does such a great job of being grittily transparent (there is no cure in this book) and really helpful and knowledgeable when talking about mental health. It's real, raw, and a really funny time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Eye-opening, heart-wrenching and laugh-out-loud funny all at once. I’ve never read someone so candidly write about mental illness and I’m so glad I read this book! Must read for everyone who has or know someone who has a mental illness which, hello, is probably everyone in the world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Listen, I know I should be more articulate about this but IT'S JUST THE DAMN BEST. Amanda is hilarious and wickedly smart, even about the most personal and tricky of topics. Buy this book, read this book, then buy someone else this book, so they can read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Houle

    If you know me, you’ll know that I’m intimate with the topic of mental illness. I co-facilitate a mental health peer support group at my church, so you could say that when Amanda Rosenberg’s That’s Mental came up on my plate, I was hungry to read it. When I finally sat down with the book, I must have been ravenous because I read it basically in two sittings. It’s a funny book, but incredibly on point about what it’s like to live with a mental illness and all of the highs and lows that go with If you know me, you’ll know that I’m intimate with the topic of mental illness. I co-facilitate a mental health peer support group at my church, so you could say that when Amanda Rosenberg’s That’s Mental came up on my plate, I was hungry to read it. When I finally sat down with the book, I must have been ravenous because I read it basically in two sittings. It’s a funny book, but incredibly on point about what it’s like to live with a mental illness and all of the highs and lows that go with it. Rosenberg is a part British, part Asian writer who writes acutely from her cultural perspective, which is refreshing and a reminder that mental illness is not an exclusively white person phenomenon. Plus, everything you wanted to know about mental illness is here, from taking medications to talk therapy and beyond. There were two chapters that particularly stuck with me (though different readers may have different takeaways from this book). One chapter is on how people — including those with mental illness — try to offer advice on how to manage your illness. This was particularly striking for me as I’ve been at the receiving end of such advice recently, and I like Rosenberg’s take: if you have a problem, let the person with a mental illness that’s to be on the receiving end of any advice ask for it first. The other chapter that was particularly noteworthy to me was on how — even in the most well-guided workplaces — it’s hard, if not impossible, to take a mental health day. Rosenberg has some prescriptive words of wisdom on how workplaces should deal with this. However, she perceptively notes that it’s OK if you have the flu people will be imploring you to stay home from work — but when it’s something that people can’t see, they just don’t understand it. A lot will have to change in society if we want to get to where the author wants to go. Read the rest of the review here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    INSANELY funny - a stunning book. Within seconds of opening this book, you will be laughing loudly and pulling your (weighted) blanket snugly over you as you sink into the pages. This is because it's immediately obvious that this is completely fresh. It's as if your best friend is talking to you honestly and hilariously, to entertain and comfort you through whatever the week has put you through, no matter how healthy your mind currently is. It's beautifully candid: every few sentences you will INSANELY funny - a stunning book. Within seconds of opening this book, you will be laughing loudly and pulling your (weighted) blanket snugly over you as you sink into the pages. This is because it's immediately obvious that this is completely fresh. It's as if your best friend is talking to you honestly and hilariously, to entertain and comfort you through whatever the week has put you through, no matter how healthy your mind currently is. It's beautifully candid: every few sentences you will either guffaw or smile wryly with familiarity, and as the chapters progress, you will feel less alone. It's remarkable how Rosenberg manages to cultivate analogies or descriptions loaded with novelty and creativity so often in this book. The dark humour will appeal to anyone with depression, but also anyone that enjoys very funny writing. Regardless of what other books you've read about mental health, it is really satisfying to giggle as she wonders what you've wondered ("am I my therapist's favourite patient?"), or as she disavows common myths and fears and confesses the everyday realities of a millennial, pop culture lover with a mind that's out to get her. Get this book - it's comforting, absolutely hilarious, deeply novel, and stunningly honest. I've never read anything like it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie Katieneedsabiggerbookshelf

    “Don’t judge me based on my mental illness judge me for the asshole I am.” This was a fascinating look at mental health. I really loved how open the author was about all the issues she faces and that she wasn’t afraid to shy away from the hard parts. I loved the section where she talked about gun violence and mental health. I think “Mental illness” has become a great excuse for gun violence, but people are missing other aspects by just blaming it on mental illness. Overall I really enjoyed this “Don’t judge me based on my mental illness judge me for the asshole I am.” This was a fascinating look at mental health. I really loved how open the author was about all the issues she faces and that she wasn’t afraid to shy away from the hard parts. I loved the section where she talked about gun violence and mental health. I think “Mental illness” has become a great excuse for gun violence, but people are missing other aspects by just blaming it on mental illness. Overall I really enjoyed this one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    One of the funniest and most painfully relatable books I've ever read. I don't have bipolar, but Amanda has an uncanny knack for transporting the reader directly into her brain using her words.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sydney

    Do you enjoy dark humor and painfully relatable content for anyone struggling with a mental illness or two? Then this book is for you! I absolutely loved That’s Mental! I felt like I could finally talk to someone (well okay, read their words and then say “yeah exactly!” to myself) about all the struggles of mental illness that aren’t often talked about or understood. The author is hilarious and I love her conversational style of writing. She talks about important topics like stigma in a broad Do you enjoy dark humor and painfully relatable content for anyone struggling with a mental illness or two? Then this book is for you! I absolutely loved That’s Mental! I felt like I could finally talk to someone (well okay, read their words and then say “yeah exactly!” to myself) about all the struggles of mental illness that aren’t often talked about or understood. The author is hilarious and I love her conversational style of writing. She talks about important topics like stigma in a broad sense while also including her own personal experience. Whether you want to feel like you have a friend who understands the struggle, or if you want to learn more about the highs and lows that someone with mental illness experiences, this book can offer something to everyone. Thank you to BookSparks, the publisher, and the author for this free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ilove, love, loveThat's Mental, and recommend it to EVERYBODY. Seriously, this was such a good book and I think everyone should read it, because it talked about mental health and mental illness in a great way. InThat's Mental, Amanda Rosenberg shares her story with mental illness, as well as her thoughts This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I love, love, love That's Mental, and recommend it to EVERYBODY. Seriously, this was such a good book and I think everyone should read it, because it talked about mental health and mental illness in a great way. In That's Mental, Amanda Rosenberg shares her story with mental illness, as well as her thoughts on mental illness. I loved this book because it's funny but it doesn't minimize how painful and difficult living with a mental illness can be. It's important to read and understand mental illness, but sometimes we have to be able to laugh at ourselves to make it okay and a little more manageable. "But guess who doesn't care what race, religion, or gender you are? *Britney voice*: It's mental illness, bitch" Not only is this memoir about Rosenberg's life with mental illnesses, but the book shares so much information about mental illness in general. It's important to understand, and Rosenberg states it in the book, that everyone's experiences are different and that doesn't mean any experience is more or less valid, but this book does challenge some of the common misconceptions about mental health, mental illness, medication, and the very false claim that having a mental illness makes you creative. "Anxiousness lets you get on with shit; anxiety doesn't let you do shit. Anxiousness has a raison d'être whereas Anxiety doesn't need you pompous French phrases - it doesn't need anything. It can bubble up from a specific spot in your should, or it can come from nowhere. Sometimes you can feel it coming; other times it surprise tackles you to the ground from a nearby bush." There was so much great information in this book, and it was so well written, that I'm forcing people to read this because it's important, and think there is a lot to take away from this short book. Like I said above, I highly recommend this book to everyone.This review was originally posted on Latte Nights Reviews.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nnekay

    This book is amazing and I think everyone with a damn brain should read it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Tokuda-Hall

    For those of us with a diagnosis or two we'd rather not have, That's Mental is like a hug from a friend you were too shy to confide in, but understands anyway. Also that friend is funnier than you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Twitter review thread! https://twitter.com/cerestheories/sta...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Aurora

    This book somehow manages to describe what depression and suicidal ideation is like without either overwhelming the reader or trivializing mental health. This is because Amanda is a comedic genius who knows how to share without oversharing. I'm no longer suicidal, but I remember wishing so hard that someone could put what I was feeling into words so I wouldn't have to. This is that book. Back then I was struggling to help myself, and I was struggling to explain to other people how they could help This book somehow manages to describe what depression and suicidal ideation is like without either overwhelming the reader or trivializing mental health. This is because Amanda is a comedic genius who knows how to share without oversharing. I'm no longer suicidal, but I remember wishing so hard that someone could put what I was feeling into words so I wouldn't have to. This is that book. Back then I was struggling to help myself, and I was struggling to explain to other people how they could help me, but the pressure of putting it all into words while not somehow "infecting" other people with my sadness was too much. Like Rosenberg, I didn't reach out until I was in real danger. I think if I had read this book, I would have reached out much sooner. And if my family and friends had read it, they could have helped me far more. My favorite chapter was "Small Things I Do When I Want To Die." I've read a dozen books about coping with depression and mania, and they all have the section for what to do when you brain is telling you to kill yourself. Rosenberg's version is by far the most useful. There's a huge difference between "Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week" and "Go outside for at least one minute. [...] Just get some outside air and move your body a little. If it feels okay, do another minute." I read the first kind of advice a hundred times, and it just made me feel hopeless and guilty and overwhelmed. Rosenberg's version is what worked for my depressed brain - don't think about the future, just do something, now, that is moving your body and occupying your mind for one minute. I loved so many more things about this book - the chapter where she interviews herself and her husband on having a relationship with someone with mental illness, the chapter about therapy and her therapist, her instructions on making the bed ("No need to go overboard, but maybe think about straightening up the duvet and pillows") - but what you need to know is that you should buy this book for yourself and also five more copies to lend to your family and coworkers. If I could send it back in time to myself, I would.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Frankie G.

    This is the funniest, most revealing book on mental illness I've ever come across. As someone who suffers rather quietly, & spends a lot of time onstage pretending I'm all good, this book was was more cathartic than a thousand cries. If you've never struggled with serious mental illness, this book is an incisive look into what it's really like, day-to-day, out in the mental streets. If you have, this book is an angel whispering "Been there, dogg" in your ear. And if you think you aren't This is the funniest, most revealing book on mental illness I've ever come across. As someone who suffers rather quietly, & spends a lot of time onstage pretending I'm all good, this book was was more cathartic than a thousand cries. If you've never struggled with serious mental illness, this book is an incisive look into what it's really like, day-to-day, out in the mental streets. If you have, this book is an angel whispering "Been there, dogg" in your ear. And if you think you aren't mentally ill, or you've written off your struggles as something else, this book will shake you by the shoulders in a consensual, nonviolent way. In other words, the book is for everyone. Either you need it, or you'll love it, or both. I'm in the "both" camp. l strongly recommend the audio book, to enjoy the full range of Amanda's comedic talents. (& Pavel. GO PAVEL)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dyane Harwood

    Amanda Rosenberg's "That's Mental" mixes the rapier wit of Carrie Fisher with the profound insights of Kay Redfield Jamison. Although Rosenberg didn't set out to write an inspiring book,"That's Mental" transports the reader to a better place. How I wish I had this book in 2007 when I was first diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder! "That's Mental" would've helped me through the mental illness sh*tstorm in spades. This is an utterly original book that's a must-read for anyone affected by Amanda Rosenberg's "That's Mental" mixes the rapier wit of Carrie Fisher with the profound insights of Kay Redfield Jamison. Although Rosenberg didn't set out to write an inspiring book,"That's Mental" transports the reader to a better place. How I wish I had this book in 2007 when I was first diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder! "That's Mental" would've helped me through the mental illness sh*tstorm in spades. This is an utterly original book that's a must-read for anyone affected by mental illness. Dyane Harwood, author "Birth of a New Brain--Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder"

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meecham Whitson Meriweather

    Originally, I was of the mind of taking a few days to read this book, absorb, and process it as I was going through my own rough patch, but dear reader, that did not happen. I finished this book in a mere 36 hours because not only did her stories ring true to my own experiences, but the way they were presented felt like having a conversation with your very wise, hilarious friend. This book is a must read!

  20. 5 out of 5

    D5alti

    A must read Amazing

  21. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Zimmerman

    THAT’S MENTAL is a really interesting take on living and dealing with and accepting mental illness as a part of daily life. As someone with depression and anxiety, I very much relate to a lot of the thoughts Amanda Rosenberg verbalizes, such as how there are tells for when episodes are coming on or what mania feels like. I also greatly appreciated the section and musings on how interactions with other people change when mental illness plays a factor. The aspect of the book that dings my rating THAT’S MENTAL is a really interesting take on living and dealing with and accepting mental illness as a part of daily life. As someone with depression and anxiety, I very much relate to a lot of the thoughts Amanda Rosenberg verbalizes, such as how there are tells for when episodes are coming on or what mania feels like. I also greatly appreciated the section and musings on how interactions with other people change when mental illness plays a factor. The aspect of the book that dings my rating is the repetition. I think the organization of the chapters and topics bog down the first half of the book, making it repetitive of ideas and experiences. It’s only after the pre-diagnosis and diagnosis chapters are out of the way that the book opens up and offers really introspective and valuable insights on living with mental illness. That’s not to negate the first half of the book. There’s a lot of interesting and heartbreaking stuff there that’s definitely worth reading. It just gets a bit repetitive. I’d give this a 3.5/5 but rounding up to 4.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Probably a good read if you're new to the whole "sometimes my brain does shit I don't understand" game, but if you've been around, seen a therapist, read some books, you probably have all the info this book will have.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dara

    This memoir is about banishing the stigma when it comes to living with a mental illness. It is funny and contained many stories about what it is like to live with or love a person with mental illness. I read it as a part of non-fiction November. This book has a lot of 5 star reviews and I will say it did provide a lot of good advice. I am not a huge fan of memoirs and I read this for non-fiction November. It was just so-so for me, hence the 3 star rating.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erica

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tina Pham

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlyn (shelf.centered)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jed Christiansen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Angie

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