Mending My Mind
Having just turned forty, in a happy marriage, living in a beautiful home, and pursuing a challenging and worthwhile career, Sara Church had to acknowledge that her life seemed pretty much perfect, although self-doubt and a tendency toward self-sabotage continued to gnaw away at her. In fact, the doubts rather quickly multiplied and Church became concerned that her marriage was failing. Rather than speaking to her wife, Elizabeth, about her concerns, she bottled up her feelings and attempted to carry on as normal until a powerful new crush forced her to confront the fact that she was arguably her own worst enemy.
At this stage, Church reflected on past relationship breakdowns and concluded that since she was the common denominator, she must have been to blame for all the problems. Determined to overcome her issues, and despite not being sure what those issues really were, she decided to go for therapy. Of course, the kind of healing she was seeking is neither quick nor straightforward, and the sincere desire to change wasn’t enough to prevent Church and Elizabeth from deciding to divorce any more than it was enough to stop her pursuing an unwise relationship or spiraling from anxiety.
Mending My Mind began as a journal that Church kept during her therapy journey and attempts at self-treatment, which saw her work with six therapists, undergo two brains scans, and engage in countless hours of soul-searching over the course of just three years. The book makes it clear that therapy was no magic bullet for Church and that finding the right therapist was a battle in itself. Indeed, she didn’t start making real progress until she starting working with Janis, who was eventually able to help Church see that she was suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD), a condition brought on by a catalogue of unaddressed traumas from her childhood and adolescence.
While ultimately beneficial, even the c-PTSD diagnosis could be perceived as a form of trauma for Church, as it caused her to reflect and confront long-buried memories from her past. The book doesn’t go into much detail about how the therapy sessions worked, but it’s clear from the memories, thoughts, and nightmares that Church relates just how difficult and distressing the process was for her. Given the considerable success she had achieved in her adult life, it was startling as she revealed the countless adversities she had suffered in childhood––ranging from abandonment by her father, to having to look after herself when her mother was jailed, to witnessing a teenage friend being shot and killed––which highlights how anyone can be affected by past trauma at any point.
Church relates her experiences and discoveries in a conversational and engaging fashion, and despite its weighty subject matter, Mending My Mind is a very quick and readable book. It’s certainly no fairytale, but it is a tale of hope that shows the great determination that can be manifested in the face of significant challenges. While more biographical than a self-help book, it is likely to particularly speak to those with c-PTSD, and Church has included a list of resources that could prove helpful for those seeking to deal with their own trauma.
|Page Count||196 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|