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December 29, 2019

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone



Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
Nonfiction - Memoir
2019 Audible Studios
Read by Brittany Pressley
Finished on December 26, 2019
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent!)

Publisher's Blurb:

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist's world--where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients' lives -- a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can't stop hooking up with the wrong guys -- she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.

I'm not a big fan of self-improvement books, but this book kept popping up on fellow readers' blogs and I finally decided to give it a try. Honestly, I expected a lot of pyscho-babble and was sure I'd wind up calling it quits after a few chapters, but I was quickly sucked in and listened at every opportunity. What a compelling and enlightening book! The reader (Brittany Pressley) does an outstanding job conveying Gottlieb's emotions and I found myself laughing out loud, as well as feeling a tug at my heartstrings more than once. I enjoyed her personal anecdotes as much as those dealing with her clients and their therapy sessions. The audio is almost 14 1/2 hours in length, but I didn't want it to end! I borrowed the print edition from the library so I could make note of some favorite passages, but this may be a book to buy for a future reread. Highly recommend!

On Grief:
I have sat with people dealing with all kinds of grief--the loss of a child, the loss of a parent, the loss of a spouse, the loss of a sibling, the loss of a marriage, the loss of a dog, the loss of a job, the loss of an identity, the loss of a dream, the loss of a body part, the loss of youth. I've sat with people whose faces close in on themselves, whose eyes become slits, whose open mouths resemble the image in Munch's The Scream. I've sat with patients who describe their grief as "monstrous" and "unbearable"; one patient, quoting something she had heard, said it made her feel "alternately numb and in excruciating pain."
On Resilience:
I tell John what's known as the psychological immune system. Just as your physiological immune system helps your body recover from physical attack, your brain helps you recover from psychological attack. A series of studies by the researcher Daniel Gilbert at Harvard found that in responding to challenging life events from the devastating (becoming handicapped, losing a loved one) to the difficult (a divorce, an illness), people do better than they anticipate. They believe that they'll never laugh again, but they do. They think they'll never love again, but they do. They go grocery shopping and see movies; they have sex and dance at weddings; they overeat on Thanksgiving and go on diets in the New Year--the day-to-day returns. John's reaction while playing with Grace wasn't unusual; it was the norm.
There's another related concept that I share with John: impermanence. Sometimes in their pain, people believe that the agony will last forever. But feelings are actually more like weather systems--they blow in and they blow out. Just because you feel sad this minute or this hour or this day doesn't mean you'll feel that way in ten minutes or this afternoon or next week. Everything you feel--anxiety, elation, anguish--blows in and out again. For John, on Gabe's birthday, on certain holidays, or simply running in the background, there will always be pain. Hearing a certain song in the car or having a fleeting memory might even plunge him into momentary despair. But another song, or another memory, might minutes or hours later bring intense joy.
About the Author:

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, which is being adapted for TV with Eva Longoria. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic's weekly "Dear Therapist" advice column and contributes regularly to the New York Times. She is sought-after in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, and NPR's "Fresh Air."

16 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you about this book and it was my favorite non-fiction read of 2019. I listened to it as well as I walked up and down hills in NM. Think it kept me walking longer than I would have in order to hear more. I laughed and had a few tears as well. Think I'll do a reread of it in 2020 at some point.

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    1. Kay, wasn't John a piece of work? I'm glad there was more to learn about his situation and understand why he felt the way he did. I was surprised that I came to care about her patients as much as I did. Yes, a reread is definitely in order for me, too.

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  2. I just saw this on someone's best of 2019 lists so I guess I need to add it to my wish list.

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    1. Kathy, it will be on my best of 2019 list, as well. It's wonderful on audio!

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  3. I'm so glad you liked this one, Les, as I did, too.

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    1. Deb, it may be my favorite nonfiction book of the year. I'm so glad I learned about it from my fellow bloggers.

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  4. I listened to this one, too, and it will definitely be on my best of 2019 list. I'll eventually get a print copy to revisit all of those wonderful passages!

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    1. JoAnn, your review was one of a few that convinced me to listen to this book! I really appreciate your honest reviews and have found so many great books, thanks to you.

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  5. Yes, I've seen this one around a lot and I'm definitely interested. So glad this was a winner for you!

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    1. Iliana, it might be my favorite nonfiction of 2019!

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  6. Great! Another one to add to my list!

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    1. Happy to help with that list, Laurel! :)

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  7. I put this one on my TBR list. It sounds really good and one that I would really like.

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    1. Robin, I'm seeing it on a lot of "Best of 2019" lists. I really enjoyed it.

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  8. It's going on my list!

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    1. It would be a great read/listen combo! I plan to buy a copy when it goes to paperback. It was my #1 audiobook of 2019.

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