“The Crab of Hate is as much part of me as my genetic code, or my love of cats, or my hatred of warm weather. He’s been sitting on my shoulders for my whole life. You can’t see him in photographs, because he always scuttles away, but you can see the effect he has on me. We are connected. He is me and I am him. A double act contracted for a summer season at the end of the pier, and the season never ends. The trick is not to let him take the spotlight by himself.”
Cheer up, Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate, by Susan Calman
I listened to Cheer up, Love on audiobook via Audible. The audiobook is narrated by Susan Calman, author of the book.
Susan is a hilarious Glasgow-born comedian who has been involved in stand up, tv and radio.
Cheer up, Love is an intimate conversation on mental health. The stories are presented honestly and with a sense of humour that makes this book about depression a definite happy book.
Calman does not shrink away from the hard topics of mental illness. She shares with us her experiences of self-harm, being sectioned and finding the help she needed.
The struggle of finding a therapist and other coping methods is a struggle Calman explains in most Cheer up, Love and it resonated with me. The bumpy journey so many go through when they finally ask for help is hard and painful and hearing Susan speak about it made me feel less alone in the struggle of trying to fix the most complicated organ in the human body.
Calman speaks of her difficulty of finding a therapist and her time being sectioned. Bringing light to the damaging effects that the mental health care system can cause. Teaching you instead to pretend to be sane then actually work toward being happy.
The title of the book, Cheer up, Love: Adventures in depression with the crab of hate, is an obvious call out to all those “helpful” comments non- depressives say. They kind of shit that makes anyone with a mental illness or even a one-page knowledge of mental illness roll their eyes.
The other part of the title is a big part of the book. Calman’s use of a metaphorical animal to describe her illness. I have a physical representation of the villain in my own story. Mine is a worry wasp and the boa-constrictor of sadness and hearing Calman talk about her villain was reassuring. This metaphor is a powerful tool in the mental health arsenal.
Cheer up, Love: Adventures in depression with the crab of hate does what it intends to. It invites the reader into a conversation about mental health but will not leave you crying because Susan Calman narrates with a glorious chipper Scottish accent with jokes that will make you laugh out loud on a bus in the centre of London.
Pick up Cheer up, Love: Adventures in Depression with the Crab of Hate by Susan Calman!
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