Review: Don’t Let Your Mind Go
An elegant journey through the emotional labyrinths of life
For quite some time now I have come to be familiar with Mirela Sula’s writings. She is a well-established and successful writer.
When I started reading the manuscript of her latest book, “Don’t let your mind go”, I worried a little. I was not sure at first whether it was the personal disclosures or the stories of her clients that stirred something in me. I was also worried about the mixture between ‘her’ and ‘the other’s’ stories in a book that is neither entirely fiction nor merely factual and scientific. Lastly, being an academic myself, I was looking for the hard science to go with it and I worried about the book being yet another one of those ‘popular, sensational and preaching’ biographies.
But, as I kept reading it, I became more and more engrossed with the courage, deeply reflective, well-considered and crystal-like clarity of Mirela’s reflections. She has put together, with exceptional art and sensitivity, her own life stories, her reflections about her clinical practice and what is known in psychology and psychotherapy fields of academic insight, in order to courageously highlight some of the most powerful aspects of one’s psychology. The art with which she has handled it as such has allowed her to put all of this in a cultural and historical context, that of hers and her clients’ country of origin, Albania.
Having shared this culture and history in my first 25 years of life, I found the book deeply provocative of reflections that can be as uncomfortable as liberating. Often, while reading the book, I questioned whether some of her stories and reflections had to do with me, with my friends or family. It was disturbing at first! The resonance with the complex themes of fears, anxieties, confusion, frustrations, desperation, spiritual and psychological death, are a powerful wish to not only survive but live and grow in a harsh and suffocating, “aggressive” and often inhumane historical context was, throughout the book, strong and palpable. It was this resonance that made it both challenging but also illuminating, and liberating to sail through the powerful and yet gentle waves of the different chapters.
The Chapters of life! The Chapters of one’s pain and triumph! The Chapters of one’s fear of failure or death through which emotional and psychological growth is mastered! The Chapters of HOPE! As I went through many of the stories in the book, I came to the realization that the confidential stories were not about me, my friends or family and yet they touched something really deep in me. I was convinced that the message the book powerfully conveyed was that this could have been the stories of anyone and everyone.
Reflecting on some deep feelings that the courageous venture of Mirela Sula’s new book stirred for me, I found myself feeling ‘jealous’ that she “could do it!”. Not an easy venture! Most importantly I felt inspired, encouraged and even more curious about me, the others and the complexity of our emotions, personal and family lives. I will go back and read it again, sometimes perhaps just the chapter that I would need on a particular day.
Dr Iris Carcani-Rathwell
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist