Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey

By Molly Frankham.

This book will stay with you a long time after you’ve read it. Because we are bad is Lily Bailey’s first book, and what a way to burst into the literary world.

Mental illness is so heavily stigmatised in our society, we find it difficult to talk about, even in the abstract. We find it especially difficult to hear first person accounts of mental health issues, let alone telling the world our own struggles. That is what makes this book so powerful, Lily bares it all for the world to judge, she tells a brutally honest account of the inner workings of her mind. As someone who suffers from mental health issues, I can only admire the bravery this lady must have. Shame prevents us from talking about mental health, and so it prevents us from getting better.

This shame, in turn, also prevents those who have never suffered a mental health issue to be able to truly understand the sometimes torture of a disordered brain. If someone says “it’s all in your head”, you know they’ve never lived through a mental health issue.

I consumed this book within two days, which is a rare feat during semester. It held my attention so completely I was unable to put it down. So compelling is the writing, as well as the subject matter, it is possibly inadvisable to start it if you have plans for the next few days.

The book starts by detailing the events that leaded to the development of OCD for Lily Bailey, all the while explaining what OCD is. It does not always come in the form we believe, it is not always checking the door is locked multiple times, it is not just being a clean freak. It is the pattern of thinking, that something bad will happen, and that the sufferer is unable to control themselves against intrusive thoughts. A scary notion, especially when the sufferer is worried they might hurt someone else. Lily Bailey is a young woman, and has lived with a severe case of OCD for most of her life, and details with startling honesty her journey of recovery, including stays in hospital.

It takes tremendous strength to confront the shame that belies mental health, and to tell the world your story. Add fantastic writing to the mix, and you have an incredibly powerful book.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

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