Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review # 226: No Comfort Zone - Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Marla Handy

Description: (from book jacket)
     No Comfort Zone exposes a jagged slice of humanity that is all too present, but often shielded from our view. The author challenges us to see life as she does, so we can understand a bit of what it's like to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With insight and humor, she describes the fear and unpredictability of growing up in an unstable household, the terror of being raped as a young adult, and the confusion and shame of living with perceptions and reactions that are often so very different from others'. After years of treatment for depression, a diagnosis of PTSD came as a surprise. Isn't this something that only happens to combat veterans? But it made sense. In writing this highly personal account, Marla Handy helps the rest of us understand what PTSD is, and that it happens here at home too.

     I am not really sure what to call this book genre-wise - it seems like a mix between a memoir and a PTSD self-help guide; even though the author does not consider it biographical. The format is unique, the subtitle - "Notes on Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" - is a good description of how the book is laid out overall - "Notes". Included are short stories about Marla Handy's condition/experiences with tips on how to live with PTSD discussed throughout, but most of No Comfort Zone documents the thoughts and feelings surrounding specific events - Marla's difficult home-life, rape, depression, suicidal thoughts, uncharacteristic emotions, and over-reactions. The tone is honest and straight-forward, giving readers a glimpse of what it feels like to have, and live with, PTSD, and how someone can "treat" and/or make the disorder more tolerable. Marla's account is very personal and emotional, but highly educational; a great resource for those affected as well as medical/psychological professionals. I definitely have a better understanding of what it means to have post-traumatic stress disorder, and how I can be more sensitive around those who do.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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