Review: Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me: Depression in the First Person

Hello I Want To Die Please Fix Me

“Depression affects everyone on the planet, directly or indirectly, in every possible sphere.”

This was a very difficult book for me to read. In Hello I Want To Die Please Fix Me by Anna Mehler Paperny, readers get a first-person narrative on what life is like with depression. In the author’s case, a depression so intense that it caused her to attempt suicide multiple times. It’s a triggering narrative, but also incredibly important. The more we talk about suicide, the less stigma there is, and the easier it (hopefully) becomes for people to seek treatment options.

The book is written as part memoir and part investigative journalism—two styles of writing that I love. It should be noted that the author’s personal experience is used to comment on aspects of her research, and she also interviews other individuals on their personal experiences with depression as well.

One quote in particular really stuck with me, and describes the book’s narrative perfectly:

It’s an uncomfortable personal exploration of a sickeningly common illness no one likes talking about, one that remains under-treated and poorly treated and grossly inequitably treated in part because of our own squeamishness in confronting it, or our own destruction it wrecks when left to its own devices.

Throughout the book, the author spends a lot of time a lot of time talking about different treatment options, from common medications to more experimental trials, and different barriers people face. Yes, stigma exists, but so do cultural hurdles and physical limitations such as literally being able to see a doctor in person (the latter being a very real barrier for people in rural areas). The author also blatantly calls out Canada, a country that prides itself on “universal healthcare,” for lacking quite a bit when it comes to mental health.

The writing is honest, direct, unashamed, and at times, humorous. One passage in particular had me wanting to cry, because I related to it so much, and also laughing, because, well, it’s something I learned after ruining one too many nice sweaters.

Pro-tip: Don’t sob on things you can’t machine wash. Learn how to fucking blow your nose and wipe your eyes without getting mucous everywhere.

I’d love to say I’d recommend this book to everyone, but I don’t. If you’re experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, this probably isn’t a good book to read. If your mental health is stable and you’re curious about learning more about the aforementioned topics, check it out, but be wary: some sections deal with very serious subject matter. I should also note that the book does include a list of mental health services for those who may need it.

Hello I Want To Die Please Fix Me is not an easy book to read, but it’s incredibly important.

Thank you to the publisher for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley. Hello I Want To Die Please Fix Me hit shelves on August 6, 2019, and is available wherever books are sold.

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