Bring Me to Light: Embracing my Bipolar and Social Anxiety – Eleanor Segall (An Honest Book Review)
Thursday 9 July 2020
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4:11 pm
Reading Time: 6 minutes
Bring Me to Light: Embracing My Bipolar and Social Anxiety
Image Credit: Fred Gough

Disclaimer: Despite establishing a friendship with Eleanor over the past year and a half initially via Twitter and then via other social media platforms when looking for prominent mental health influencers to follow and endorse, this book review is not biased based on this companionship I share with her.

I have written this book review in complete honesty, mirroring Eleanor’s clarity of her own experience with Bipolar Disorder Type 1 and Social Anxiety. Details of these mental illnesses may distress some readers.


Book Synopsis and Review

According to recent NHS figures (last published in 2019), roughly one person in every hundred is likely to be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in their lifetime. For Eleanor Segall, this diagnosis was during her teenage years. Bring Me to Light guides the reader through childhood, adolescent angst, and early adulthood through her eyes.

In this memoir, Eleanor manages to convey in an honest but easy to follow manner how the mental illness conditions of Bipolar disorder and Social Anxiety have affected her psychological wellbeing. This book provides the reader with direct insight and would be beneficial to anyone who wants to understand Bipolar disorder or knows someone who is affected by this condition.

Her story at times can be a difficult read, but I feel it is essential to all and will educate others and see how inspirational members of the health and care sector are in giving someone hope. Eleanor, along with the occasional narrative from her parents, offers insight into her emotions concerning education, relationships with friends and family, and her early aspirations to become an actress.

Bipolar disorder typically sees an individual contend with extreme mood swings from high to low. Due to these mood swings, Bipolar disorder is still to this day is often referred by many as manic depression.

Eleanor shares some harrowing episodes intimately throughout the book, including the early stages of her mood swings and challenges with anxiety. Within the book, she openly shares the first instance of her hypomania and disinhibition. The event happened on a trip of a lifetime for her. This episode was one of the warning signs that would change everything for her.

The most challenging part of the book to read is when Eleanor discusses the difficulties of being institutionalised at critical times in her young life. These incredibly sobering periods in Eleanor’s life puts things into an in-depth perspective explaining how having Bipolar disorder is merely more than just a period of feeling depressed and returning to a new high.

Eleanor’s raw honesty of how she got through these scary times is something that demonstrates the need for better investment for mental health services so that others can thrive again and that there are many good people out there doing thankless jobs in the health and social care sector. Eleanor was fortunate to be in a part of the country and world where there was a lot of support; however, many places are not so lucky and only have basic levels of care.

However, now fortunately for Eleanor, her Bipolar disorder is a lot more under control due to her acceptance of the condition and the taking of the correct level of medication to tame it along with attending regular attention to self-care and therapy and maintaining a close bond with valued individuals. Due to her experiences, she has become an inspirational individual within the Jewish community, along with writing many pieces for different publications and running a successful blog website.

She also now has a husband and continues to have an unconditional loving connection with her family and friends, which she profoundly values alongside her religious faith. This religious belief gives Eleanor strength and motivation to carry on the lineage she has from family members who escaped persecution in war-torn parts of the world in the early twentieth century.

Reading Eleanor’s story has helped put the challenges I face with my mental wellbeing into some perspective. Her story is a real eye-opener to those who unsure of how serious mental illness can impact daily life or how to offer help to someone, but I also believe the book and story offers hope and inspiration.

I recognise a lot of myself within her feelings and emotions towards other people who have played a part in her life, along with periods of not being able to slow down my mind, and self-esteem issues. But, even though I still have days (and nights which I have difficulty sleeping) when everything feels like an uphill battle, I am blessed by these insecure moments being minor blips in comparison to someone with more severe mental anguish, than those impacted following my experiences discussed in my first post on this redeveloped blog,

I am thankful to know these episodes for me shall pass without the need for medication or much therapy aside from a regular one to one meeting with my Disabled Student Allowance Mentor while in my academic chapter of life and possibly a heart to heart with a good friend. I am always appreciative of my support network of friends, along with my parents’ willingness to give me security and patience even though in the grand scheme of things, I am predominately okay.

I am also grateful for individuals like Eleanor for being brave enough to discuss their mental health by sharing their stories openly and attempt to break the stigma attached to mental illnesses. I also share that firm belief in destigmatising mental illness and letting go of the prejudices relating to talking about how we feel. We must embrace the voices of advocates like Eleanor, so we all may learn something and develop more knowledge and awareness of how we can offer support to one another.

I would not wish anyone to face the challenges of Bipolar disorder or any mental illness upon anyone, and I would like to hope that I can offer those individuals reassurance that they are loved and valued for their qualities and talents brought to the table. I am also thankful that those who are part of the mental health influencers community, such as Eleanor, have welcomed me and feel appreciative of my friendship via the online social platforms.

So thank you, Eleanor, for sharing your light through this poignant book. May you continue to shine through your advocacy and determination to make the world a better place. I sincerely hope many more of your dreams come true.


Buy your copy of Bring Me to Light today

I wrote this review intending to give an honest and respectful response to the book and not characterised by my friendship with Eleanor, which began in January 2019. I received no sponsorship to write this review either from her or her publishers Trigger who had made me aware of this book before the publication date.

Nor would have I accepted any revenue for promoting this book as I felt it would be only fair to offer my reaction without prejudice or other motivations, despite Eleanor kindly including me in her acknowledgments.

However, I wholeheartedly recommend this to all to read. The book is available in paperback or as an Amazon Kindle eBook. So if you want to learn more about Bipolar disorder or wish to feel inspired by the fact that painful experiences can turn into positives, then please consider buying it from Amazon, Blackwell’s, Book Depository, or Waterstones today.

I first had become aware of Eleanor in 2018, and she became on the periphery of my radar of influential individuals following reading the articles that she had written for Happiful Magazine as I had briefly subscribed to the periodical during my Occupational Therapy studies. As I felt the magazine would be a useful reference tool and something I could draw upon when I was dealing with other people who were struggling with mental illness in the vocation (unfortunately, my mental health stumbled and fell).

Following reading these articles, I found her writing style was fluent and engaging in her ambition to reduce the stigma attached to poor mental health. These articles and looking at her other online presence were enough to persuade me to follow her on social media and endorse her. I also wanted to thank her for her bravery in speaking up for the many voices who have daily battles with mental illness who go unnoticed or not heard.

Like all other books published by Trigger, purchasing this book will encourage positive communication about mental wellbeing, and they publish inspirational authors such as Eleanor as they talk about different mental illness conditions. Proceeds from the sales of these books will also go towards the Shaw Mind Foundation, a passionate charity, determined to tackle the stigma that often accompanies mental health issues.


Following Eleanor’s Story

Along with writing this memoir, Eleanor has a strong online presence along with writing many articles and bylines for different publications on the subject of mental illness, especially Bipolar disorder and or social anxiety.

She also regularly writes and promotes guest blog posts on her supportive and lifestyle blog – Be Ur Own Light. Also, consider following and supporting Eleanor on different social media platforms –

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Eleanor also founded Corona Cards, a project encouraging people to spread joy via free handmade cards to their friends and family members they found themselves separated from one another when the United Kingdom went into lockdown. Eleanor appeared on commercial radio station Heart FM discussing the project in mid-May 2020 with presenters Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden. You can support the project by ordering a card for a loved one via Twitter or Instagram.


More useful resources


Book Details

Book Title

Bring Me to Light

Book Author(s)

Eleanor Segall
i

Pages

200
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Published on:

5 November 2019

Genres

Non-Fiction Memoir
Coping with Illness
Assertiveness, Motivation and Self-Esteem

ISBN

9781789560367
Eleanor Segall's life was just beginning. An aspiring actress and a family girl, she never thought her future would be derailed by mental illness. After a spate of depressive episodes, panic attacks, and social anxiety, Eleanor found herself in The Priory at age 16. The diagnosis? Bipolar Affective Disorder. But Eleanor didn't let it stop her for long. Now a successful blogger, journalist, and pillar of the mental health and Jewish communities, she writes about finding recovery and hope after being unwell. Her story is of picking herself back up again and surviving against the odds. Bring me to Light will resonate with many, and can act as a helpful tool for others to find their light in the darkness, too.
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