I had the privilege of interviewing a truly unique individual. Lia Rees has been a fun person to get to know. Today I’ll be taking to get about her book But I’m Not Depressed.
“Tell us something about yourself Lia.”
“Here’s my “official” biography!”
Lia Rees lives in London. She loves music, particularly prog rock, chill out and anything melancholy. Her ideal house involves plenty of books, attractive lamps and things made from coloured glass. Open-source culture and wild places excite her, and she has dabbled in the creative arts of jewellery making, crochet and T-shirt design. Since 2005, she has been living with the psychological and cognitive effects of an acquired brain injury. She writes to bring readers into the surreal world of the survivor, and to save other survivors from the psychology trap.
“What book would you like to tell us about?”
“My memoir, But I’m Not Depressed.”
A memoir. I love that word. Sounds so pretty. Especially with a french accent. Lia has been nice enough to provide me with a copy of the book and I’m excited to get started on it. Thank you Lia.
“Would you like to provide us with a blurb?”
This is what happened when something devastating crashed into an unusual mind.
When I suffered a brain injury at the age of 19, I was not told what I had. The world became a dreamlike haze. I was cut off from my own thoughts and memories.
Instead of receiving medical treatment, I was sent into psychotherapy. So began a ten-year battle to recover my lost self. This memoir is a window into the surreal internal landscape of a brain injury survivor striving to find reality once more.
Positive thinking and pills couldn’t fix me, but a bizarre and cutting-edge field of medicine just might.
“Why is this book so important for you to share?”
“I thought I was only writing one book – But I’m Not Depressed – but it became the starting point for a whole advocacy mission. The more I researched my condition, the more medical neglect and heartbreaking stories I found. I’m now planning a series of full-colour artistic booklets to provide survivors with the information we are rarely told about our condition. There will also be a follow-up book on high-IQ people and brain injury. The effects of brain injury are devastating yet subtle, and don’t always show up in tests. Many high performers are overlooked because they still manage to score quite well on tests. They are told, as I was, that there’s nothing wrong with them that a little positive thinking won’t cure. They spend the rest of their lives struggling and blaming themselves. It’s a situation I’m angry about.”
That’s horrible. I never did like doctors much. Time and again they prove how inadequate they can be with things new to them. The realm of possibilities seem to be only what their current knowledge and pharmaceutical companies tell them. Such a shame.
“What make this/these books so special to you?”
“But I’m Not Depressed is a very personal book. Without much preamble, I bring the reader into the strange underwater world I live in now. The sheer weirdness of being inside a brain-injured mind is the kind of bizarre experience you can compare to a drug trip. But most people, thankfully, will never know it from the inside.
“Most people also associate brain injury with head trauma from sports, vehicle accidents and so forth. Mine came from another source, which was why it was medically dismissed. By writing about it, I strike out against the psychologists who undermined my story and tried to reshape my reality. Nobody will suffer for neglecting me, and that will always hurt. But it will hurt less if I can write a book and have a voice.”
No one can tell the story but you. I’m so happy you choose to.
“Who is your favorite author?”
“It’s probably either Douglas Adams or Ray Bradbury. Two insightful men with beautiful precision of language, and Douglas Adams managed to be funny with it.”
“What inspired you to write for the first time?”
“As a small child, I read everything I could lay my hands on. It seemed a natural progression to start writing stories on my dad’s computer. I still have four “books” from that time – computer printouts bound into coloured plastic folders – full of my old stories in various genres. It’s fascinating to see how a five-year-old writes science fiction, for example, and what she believes is important. I wish I could recall what I’d actually been reading at that time. Anyway, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making things up.”
That would be a great thing to have made into a hard back book on one of the publishing websites and share with the kids in the family.
“What keeps you coming back to writing?”
“It helps me keep track of myself – what I think, experience and believe. Once I actually get started, the page of text is very forgiving. It keeps a record of all the thoughts and ideas which would otherwise be lost to the amnesia I live with.”
That’s awesome that you found such a profound use for writing. That should be recommended to anyone with memory loss.
“If you could say anything to your fans, what would it be?”
“Be sure of what you want, and what you believe. Examine it with logic and compare all the evidence before you commit yourself. Then never let anyone take it away.
Also, eat proper food and explore the natural world more. They’re both fun and good for you.”
I can second that advice. Too many people in the world saying someone can’t do something. It’s amazing what good healthy food will do for one’s mood and energy.
“What is the first book you’ve ever read that pulled you into its world?”
“I can’t remember the first, but I was mesmerized by The Crimson Petal And The White. The daring, immersive use of language and metaphor grabbed me from the start, mingled with the historical knowledge and psychological detail. It helped that the book is about the adventures of a highly intelligent prostitute in Victorian London.”
That’s going on my reading list. Sounds intriguing.
“What would you say to future authors you might inspire?”
“Be both structured and chaotic, rational and emotional. I know it’s hard. That’s kind of the point.”
Thank you Lia. That was very insightful and inspiring.
If you wish to find Lia, her links are listed below. Thank you for reading, as always.
Email: Lia at FreeYourWords.com
I’ve gotten the chance to read a few chapters since she sent this to me and it’s a wonderfully poetic work. Lia Rees has a wonderful talent when using words to describe the impossible.
Your Beloved Author,