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The Brightest Darkness


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An honest and heartfelt memoir that chronicles the author's experiences with mental illness and sexuality.

Chelsea Beck wrote her memoir The Brightest Darkness to help raise awareness of mental illnesses and to increase compassion for its sufferers. She is very much the healthcare worker, gently carrying readers through her life with kindness and compassion. She stops at both the joyful and grim parts of life, coming to terms with her bipolar disorder and sexual orientation.

Growing up in a happy family and an affluent Bay Area neighborhood, Chelsea had little to worry about in her life. She spent many of her formable years in Catholic school, which unfortunately resulted in a hefty dose of internalized homophobia that would linger for years. In college, Chelsea experiences a traumatic event that triggers the building mania and depressive episodes that would then go unchecked for a long time.

What shines about The Brightest Darkness is Chelsea's compassion for others. She makes a strong point about the failures of the healthcare and justice system and how it lets so many fall through the cracks. Wealthy white people are more likely to be acquitted and treated while people of color often end up incarcerated. She has a supportive family and friends and is one of the lucky ones.

The Brightest Darkness is a short and entertaining book that touches on a lot of the stigma surrounding mental illness that often leads to misinformation and mistreatment of its sufferers. She comes to terms with her past attitudes towards patients in her care considered the "crazy patients." Her experiences with bipolar disorder make her feel more connected to these patients because of what she has gone through.

If there is one lesson of the many to learn in The Brightest Darkness, it would be to always treat people with kindness. You never know what someone is going through. If you or a loved one has struggled with a mental health condition or want a better perspective on the topic, Chelsea Beck's The Brightest Darkness is a perfect place to start.

Reviewed by

Sarah is a freelance book reviewer in the Greater Chicago area. She has a lifelong love of reading and learning and believes that books can change lives. Her goal is to work with and help authors bring their writing to a community of readers.

About the author

I am a nurse who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. view profile

Published on June 18, 2020

Published by

30000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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