I’m part of a book club that meets every month. We recently read The Woo Woo by Lindsay Wong. It’s a Canadian memoir about the experiences of living with mental illness in a Chinese family.
We all had different reactions to the book. However, two things we all related to were the experience of stigma that surrounds mental health and how we often use humor to cope with trauma.
The Woo Woo by Lindsay Wong
Normalizing Mental Health
There’s still a stigma that surrounds mental health. We’re afraid of what we don’t understand and stories about mental health help shed light on these experiences. It takes guts to share personal stories about mental health.
In The Woo Woo, Lindsay Wong adds her voice to normalizing experiences of mental health. For her, the stigma was intertwined with her Chinese culture and family dynamics where mental illness had gone undiagnosed for several generations. Through Lindsay’s experience growing up in a family with mental illness and her first-hand discovery of her own, we hear a story of the consequences of stigma and denial as well as what it takes to survive as a child in that environment.
Coping with Humor
There’s often this idea that some things “just aren’t funny.” However, when you’ve experienced trauma, humor can help get you through day-to-day tasks and, frankly, human interaction.
To some, The Woo Woo may go too far with humor. I disagree. Partly because I think it’s true to the author’s experience, and partly because I think humor helps us come to terms with our reality. If we can’t laugh at ourselves then it’s harder to cope when others laugh at us.
Recommendation: Read The Woo Woo by Lindsay Wong
Grab your copy of Lindsay Wong’s book here and leave a comment below to tell us what you think.