Flipboard Magazine

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review- No Comfort Zone

Imagine never knowing what is going to happen next, the next minute, the next day, the next week. You can make no short-term plans; you can make no long-term plans. In fact, you can’t plan at all, because it is all you can do just to deal with the minute-to-minute, unpleasant surprises of your life. We all like surprises, nice surprises, good surprises, but not violent, unwanted surprise events meant to control us. That is what the book, No Comfort Zone, is about, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, nonstop stress. No Comfort Zone is a book you can't stop reading. I read it in about 2 hours. It provides a very brave, personal account of one person's experiences with PTSD, an outpouring of emotions.

Marla Handy graciously provided me with a free copy of her book to read and review, and she aptly described the fear and instability within an unstable environment. I found myself connecting with her description of a very dysfunctional family situation. Most of us will never know chronic PTSD, but the description of short-term effects hit home with me. I also connected with her description of her confusion about how “normal” people and families act. While I would have liked more concrete description of her life circumstances, the author was able to describe her situation in a stream-of-conciousness narrative that made this a powerful book. To have experienced rape, in addition to the circumstances in which she grew up, would be beyond endurance for many people. I found myself mentally cheering her on when she described the continuing survival of a lifelong ordeal. I also found myself thinking that people can seem callous and insensitive at times, even when they don’t mean to be.

There are many books on the clinical and healing aspects of PTSD, but this book gives an account of “everyday” PTSD which will help many people weave through conflicting emotions and start the path to recovery. Marla was very honest when she describes that recovery is never complete. We never fully recover from our traumas; we learn to live with and make peace with them. We cannot escape our pasts, but we can reshape them to our present circumstances. Many mental conditions are simply labeled depression; this is a timely book that brings a hidden reality to light. It also offers hope that the human spirit can survive the toughest conditions. This is a good book to add to any personal or professional library.

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