She's Not Herself

She s Not Herself On the surface her childhood seemed normal even idyllic Linda grew up in the iconic immigrant community of Brighton Beach Brooklyn with her parents and a gifted older brother But she spent her days

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  • Title: She's Not Herself
  • Author: Linda Appleman Shapiro
  • ISBN: 9780988439078
  • Page: 418
  • Format: Paperback
  • On the surface, her childhood seemed normal even idyllic Linda grew up in the iconic immigrant community of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with her parents and a gifted older brother But she spent her days at home alone with a mother who suffered major bouts of depression At such times, young Linda was told, Your mother she s not herself today Those words did little to heOn the surface, her childhood seemed normal even idyllic Linda grew up in the iconic immigrant community of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with her parents and a gifted older brother But she spent her days at home alone with a mother who suffered major bouts of depression At such times, young Linda was told, Your mother she s not herself today Those words did little to help Linda understand what she was witnessing Instead, she experienced the anxiety and hyper vigilance that often take root when secrecy and shame surround a family member who is ill She s Not Herself is a journey to make sense of the effects of multi generational traumas Shapiro is ultimately able to forgive without forgetting those who left her to fend for herself and to provide readers with the wisdom of a seasoned psychotherapist who has examined human vulnerability in its many disguises and has moved through it all with dignity and hope The result is a memoir of love, loss, loyalty, and healing.What others are saying An honest and compelling story by a brave and gifted writer Wally Lamb, author of She s Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True winner of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill s Kenneth Johnson Award for the anti stigmatization of mental illness A Story that applies to us all truthful, carefully crafted, and created with a clear eyed affection David Watts, MD, poet, writer, musician, NPR commentator A riveting tale wrapped in elegant prose A very human story one of hope and perseverance that resonates deeply within the soul Peggy Sanders, retired journalist, award winning author Lyrical and powerful in its use of story telling to subvert secrets and create new selfhood, this is a beautifully written memoir in the tradition of Eat, Pray, Love, Swallow The Ocean, Three Little Words, or Lucky Her Last Death Rachel Fichter, editor at large For Shapiro s amazing recall and deep penetration into her past, this memoir reminds me of Remembrance of Things Past, and for its ease of readability, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn P Topping, linguist Inspiring and eloquent vividly captures the cultural context of an immigrant family living with the trauma of mental illness and its effect on all family relationships Joseph Giordano, LCSW, co editor, Ethnicity and Family Therapy A compelling tale of human tragedy and triumph told with empathy and love, without sentimentality offering a sense of awe for the human spirit Pamposh Dhar, founder of the Terataii Reiki and Counseling Centre, Singapore, Reiki healer teacher counselor blogger One feels privileged to share each of the traumas that Shapiro, her mother, and her mother before her had to endure As to the writing, such complete recall is preserved for all time Look to your laurels, Marcel Proust Frederick Rolf, actor, director, co author, translator, Berlin Shanghai, New York My Family s Flight From Hitler Not another woe is me account of dysfunction, but rather a heroic account of mastery and grace, which the general reading public as well as students and professionals will benefit from reading Roberta Temes, PhD, author of several books, including Learning How to Write a Memoir in Thirty Days With extraordinary insight and honesty, Shapiro shares with us her journey from infinite pain to knowledge, healing, and forgiveness without a trace of melodrama A truly inspiring read R.G.Sterling, musician, educator

    One thought on “She's Not Herself”

    1. I love survival memoirs and this is certainly one of the best I’ve read. It resonated with me and touched me in many ways: the author and I both grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, we were both children of immigrant parents – hers from Russia, mine from Lithuania and Poland. And most important of all we both had to find a way to grow up and thrive while our mothers were never themselves. The author’s mother suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and depression, my mother battled with pos [...]

    2. This is a powerful book on multiple levels. It captures life in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, in the 1940s/1950s. It capsulizes the incredible story of one Russian Jewish family's immigration to the United States. And most of all, it tells the story of a young girl who had to navigate life with a mother who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (largely as a result of the aforementioned immigration) and depression. The young girl not only navigates life with her depressed mother, but goes on [...]

    3. When Linda Appleman Shapiro was a child, her mother would say and do things that confused and frightened her. In post-war Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, mental illness was rarely acknowledged, and doctors had little understanding of how to treat it. All Linda’s father would tell her was, “Your mother…she’s not herself today.” Linda grew up believing that she had no right to ask questions, that she should never cause trouble for anyone else—that she had to be perfect.As a young adult, thou [...]

    4. Just couldn't put this book down! The writer's honesty and simple, unpretentious recounting of her life in a family unable to deal with on-going trauma takes you on the journey with her as she navigates through conflcting realities to ultimately become herself, an insightful, feeling person, an empathic therapist, a wonderful mother and an extroaordinary wife. As her husband, and a narrator of over 1200 audiobooks, I urge you to take the journey with her. Also, check out those wedding pictures t [...]

    5. I really enjoyed this memoir of a woman whose mother suffered from mental illness. She captured her younger years very well and I felt the fear and confusion she must have felt as well. The book also has some very touching moments, which showed me that Shapiro's mother really was doing the best she could, given her illness. I left with strong feelings of connections to Linda and her family.In addition to dealing with the topic of mental illness, this book also does a nice job of sharing some of [...]

    6. "She's Not Herself" by Linda Appleman Shapiro is an exquisitely written personal memoir about growing up haunted by a mother's attacks of mental illness and living with pain and fear too deep to express. Yet this heartbreaking story also bears witness to the author's ability to make choices -- courageous choices that enabled her to move beyond the trauma of her childhood and young adult life, and become a compassionate healer of others. The story is told in vivid detail, rich imagery, and never [...]

    7. This is a memoir of a Jewish girl named Linda who grew up living in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, NY. She lived with her parents and older brother. It frightened her when her mother was "having a bad day" which was all she was told, she never questioned what was happening and learned to keep this secret to herself. On her mother's bad days her father would not allow her mother to stay home alone and would drop her off with a relative so that he could go to work. Sometimes her mother wo [...]

    8. I won this book in a First Reads Giveaway & so very happy that I did!This book is wonderful, I couldn't stop reading & talking about it with everyone I know!It begins with Linda's childhood & her parent's histories and follows her & her family into adulthood. The story is compelling and touching, not to mention well-written & very thought provoking.I also have a close family member who suffered mental illness during the 60's & on. I found myself with tears through most of [...]

    9. After recently reading a self-help book by a psychotherapist that left me absolutely aghast that the author was counseling others, when she so obviously needed counseling herself, I was reluctant at first to read another book so soon by another psychotherapist. But I always love reading about Brooklyn in the 1940s-1960s decades, so I got this book and hoped for the best. While She's Not Herself wasn't the best memoir I've ever read, it was certainly an excellent one; and ended up being actually [...]

    10. Every so often I go through the Nonfiction titles at NetGalley and discover a book or two which catch my eye. What I read in the description that made me download the book was the author's honesty about the good and bad she experienced as a child. The author didn't use this as an opportunity to besmirch her mother's memory or present the situation in biased light. I felt that she tried to give as much insight into the internal war that her mother was fighting while living through decades in whic [...]

    11. Title: Publisher's ReadShe’s Not Herself by Linda Appleman ShapiroReviewed by S. DavisMay 16, 2015 4 p.m.The best thing about memoirs is getting into the mind of another person and viewing the world from his or her perspective. In Linda Appleman Shapiro’s memoir She’s Not Herself: A Psychotherapist’s Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother’s Mental Illness, she does exactly this. The reader gets to grow up along with Linda and understand events as she understood them at various stages in he [...]

    12. Linda Appleman Shapiro writes with courage and honesty about a painful subject -- her mother's mental illness, the secret Linda was forced to keep as a little girl growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s and 50s. Her descriptions of her mother's illness and its effect on her family are absolutely true to life -- I know, because I grew up in strikingly similar circumstances, in the same era, in a nearby part of Brooklyn, and my parents were East European Jewish immigrants like Linda's. Fortunately, w [...]

    13. Overcoming family historyLinda Appelman Shapiro writes courageously of her life as a first generation American Jew with a mother who suffered from severe depression or bipolar disorder. In an all too familiar story, because children live with terrifying, unpredictable parents every day, she writes honestly and openly about the devastating effects her mother's illness had upon her own self-image and self-worth, and of her own journey to understand herself, realize that she was not doomed to becom [...]

    14. There are mentions of electroshock therapy, suicide attempts, hospitalization, and mental health throughout the entirety of this memoir; if those subjects unsettle you, I’d advise against reading it. Shapiro’s mother experienced mental illness in a time when women had little agency, one in which she was powerless to refuse the treatments that did little but bandage her wounds. It’s easy to understand how that life shaped her daughter so much, and as Shapiro herself writes, it forced her in [...]

    15. I really enjoyed this book. She’s Not Herself is a memoir of a woman whose mother suffered from PTSD and depression. It’s an honest depiction of navigating life with a family member who suffers from mental illness. Although the author was deeply affected by these childhood experiences, she went on to become a psychotherapist and has been able to help others.This was an incredibly powerful book. Even if you don’t have close family or friends that suffer from mental health issues, I think th [...]

    16. This story helped me fill in some of the gaps in my own memories about growing up in the fifties with a depressed mother. I had more than a couple of aha moments during the sections about the author’s early childhood. I recognized my mother’s demeanor in Shapiro’s description of her mother after shock treatments. The book became less satisfying as Shapiro moved into descriptions of her college days and adulthood, because the writing became more analytical. Still, I recommend it to anyone w [...]

    17. I may not have a story identical to Linda's to the extent that it wasn't my mum, but I identify very much with her childhood. Linda's is a story above all of survival in the midst of extreme trauma and near loss of one's own sanity. That she survives and even thrives, to get to the point of working to help people in similar situations or even worse, speaks volules of the resilence imbued in our human nature. Her's is equally a sad story of painful traditions sometimes corroborated by religion, b [...]

    18. This heartfelt and sometimes harrowing story of a daughter who grew up as the caretaker of a psychotically depressed, frequently hospitalized, and occasionally delusional mother is hard to put down.The specificity with which the author remembers childhood events and the labyrinthine journey to find out how her mother's illness affected her is fascinating. Amazing that she was able to do it in fewer than 200 pages.The author became a psychotherapist herself, so she knows intimately the vagaries o [...]

    19. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I found this book to be a well written memoir on living with someone who suffered from mental illness. I could really relate, as I have bipolar disorder myself, and it can be difficult for the people who have it, as well as those that they love. This was an amazing depiction of what that life is like. I love memoirs that I can relate to on a personal level. Extraordinary book! I highly recommend

    20. A survival story. First generation Linda with parents from Russia tries to understand a very depressed, sometimes suicidal mother in a family that did not feel a need to explain adult behaviors to children. When healthy mom doted. When in an unbalanced episode she was out of control and went to hospital for treatments. Shock therapy. Linda does not learn the full extent of her mothers sickness til she is an adult and becomes a therapist herself.

    21. I probably would not have given this book five stars except for the fact that it so closely mirrors my own childhood. Like the author I was named for Linda Darnell and like the author I had a mother who was not always herself. Fortunately my father and grandmother helped me to always feel loved and never burdened with adult responsibilities. I have always felt that my mother's depression was a defining part of my life.

    22. It was a good read. As the daughter of a woman who also struggled with mental illness and depression I thought I would connect a bit more with this author. I did in many ways but felt something was missing. Maybe she was sheltered more then I or maybe my mothers story was more tragic and violent at times. Whatever the reason I felt the real tragedy behind mental illness seemed to be a bit watered down. Never the less it was a good book.

    23. The beginning captured my attention, but convincing the reader that she has had a tragic childhood and an unusually difficult life does not work for me. I found her story progressively boring and annoying, although I did finish reading it. She has had difficult times in her life, yes, but she has also lived a life with the advantages of health and intellect. Even in her worst times, she has always been loved and part of a good-intentioned and caring family.

    24. This is an excellent read for those who have mental illness in their family. The feelings expressed by the author are feelings that many can relate to. It is not a fix it but a book that helps all those who have experienced a family member with mental illness to deal with their feelings in an honest way.

    25. Somewhat slow but quotableThe stories didn't always engage me but there were quotes within the book I could connect with - refreshing to hear someone express your feelings as a child dealing with family mental illness.

    26. Couldn't finish this. The narrative is written in a style of "bits & pieces" with little regard for timelines. The style is a first person POV presented in the form of vignettes. The style was just to off putting. Maybe I'll come back to it another time.

    27. I liked it but I guess I never got what was so horrible about her mom or her life. it came across as a bit too "poor me".

    28. Heartbreaking but very well written, giving us insight into this disease. My heart aches for the children to which no one explains events that nevertheless alter their lives.

    29. This book is written with such vivid descriptions the reader can see and hear what is being "said." The writer also gives a very good look into history and lives of the Jewish people.

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