GILA: A Journey Through Moods & Madness by Hanna Alkaf
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In GILA: A Journey Through Moods and Madness, Hanna takes you on a journey through mental illness in Malaysia, covering the four most prevalent types: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. She seems to cover the first two in more detail, most likely because depression and anxiety may also be symptoms/stem from them. It appears as if all are interrelated and interlinked.
I haven't read a non-fiction book other than writing craft books in a while, so Gila is a surprisingly easy and accessible book to read. Half the book is made up of personal anecdotes and the stories of various people who are struggling with--and hopefully winning against--their own minds. Hanna also offers commentary from local mental health professionals, including tips on how to tell if your mental health professional is right for you (it's really about your rapport) and what not to say to someone with a mental illness.
In a country where mental illness is increasing, care is still scarce, and talking about it is often taboo, this book is a good primer to both discover resources as well as to learn how to deal with friends and family in your life who struggle with their mental health.
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