Wired Up Wrong by Rachael Smith
Wired Up Wrong is a Kickstarter funded graphic novel showing the day-to-day reality of living with depression and anxiety. Rachael has drawn herself as a character pursued by ‘Barky’, a mean, ferocious-looking black dog on her bad mental health days and a huge, smothering, wolf-like canine on her worst mental health days. Written with wit, insightfulness and honesty, this book is a must-read for anyone who has or is struggling with mental health and needs to know they’re not alone.
For me, I couldn’t have read Wired Up Wrong at a better time. I’ve experienced anxiety since a child, as well as bouts of depression, and although I now have the tools and means to cope with it I’ve never had the opportunity to see how others manage it on a daily basis before.
The beginning of 2018 has been particularly difficult for me, what with the passing of one of my much-loved pets and the fact that I never gave myself a proper break over the Christmas period. The January Blues quickly set in, and as I’ve been getting busier I’ve neglected my mental health somewhat, but just as I felt I was reaching breaking point Wired Up Wrong landed on my doormat.
The book reminded me that life is all about perspective. Rachael overcomes obstacles, admits experiencing the sorts of overreactions most people rarely share and describes her lowest moments in such a poignant, frank way that I couldn’t help but feel optimistic about my own life. There are other people out there who feel what I feel, and they manage to deal with it with humour and a brave face, so why can’t I?
The book is laugh-out-loud funny. It’s silly without trivialising any of the issues discussed and is open without being uncomfortably personal. Best of all it’s helpful, warm and shows that mental health is not an imperfection or a problem – it’s a part of everyday life.
The world needs more books like this. Mental health issues need to be normalised, not hidden or glamorised. It is what it is, so we need to accept that it will always be there and learn to work with it, not around it.