Posted in Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

Has anyone ever felt a stab in their soul while reading?

I don’t know how to properly start or what I’ll even write. I’ll just shoot straight to my question hoping some insights in the comments help me feel less alone. Has anyone ever felt a stab in the soul while they read a book?

Now, I have read so so so many books but I never felt a stab in my soul while reading. Two days ago, I accepted to review a book and the Arc was sent to me. I was excited to read this book because I was looking forward to learning a lot from what promised to be an insightful book. The thing is, it is so insightful it stabs my soul. For all the reading I love and can do, I haven’t been able to go past chapter two.

The brilliant book titled High Tide Low Tide…on being best friends with someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder… is staging my soul. I would love to read it all very fast and get over it, but I can’t seem to go past a paragraph without having to stop, deal and heal and wish and wail in me. Oh Lord, will I ever have a best friend like Martin in the book? Oh Lord, will I ever be the kind of friend or best friend he is to someone diagnosed with a mental illness? Oh Lord, why didn’t I know as much when my brother was still back home with us?

I really don’t know how to help myself sometimes like now…anyone felt like this? Anyone has any suggestions?

Thanks in advance


Marie Abanga aka MAG likes to describe herself as a “Jacqueline of several trades”. She is an everyday woman and mother with a zigzag profile. Let’s give it a try! She is an Activist, an Author, a Coach, a Consultant, a Feminist, a Lawyer, a Lecturer, a Prince 2 Project Manager, a Psychotherapist, a Philanthropist, a minister of the Word of God and...! She just loves to sum it up by saying she is a person of passions and a tale of talents. Her life’s journey has filled over 6 books already and her three musketeers keep her busy at home. MAG is also the founder and CEO of the association Hope for the Abused and Battered, and the Country Director of the Gabriel Bebonbechem Foundation for Epilepsy & Mental wellbeing. The plethora of life's experiences and shenanigans she has lived through and learned from in near 4 decades of existence, have equipped her with such an arsenal to coach, train and motivate just any and everyone. She is so charismatic, dynamic and full of life, going by her designed mantra of 3Ds: Determination; Discipline and Dedication. These sum her+her quest to be the best version of herself and impact others perfectly. She attributes all her wealth of knowledge to her conscientious attendance of both informal and formal school.

18 thoughts on “Has anyone ever felt a stab in their soul while reading?

  1. Dear Marie,
    I did not answer your question straight away after “liking” this post because, in truth, your memoir, the one you so kindly sent to me (was it two years ago? At least!) — your intensely honest story about your unconventional loves, stabbed me in the heart in exactly the same way.

    You compare your story to Mary Magdalene, although, as you point out, she was not married. My story, from the grown up part of my life, is more like the Samaritan woman at the well. Another one looking for love in all the wrong places.

    I was hiding from my truth when I first began to read your book. After reading your front and back cover, your introductory notes, and your foreword, I set your book aside, intending to come back to it “later.” But every time I picked up your book, I set it down again, unread. Because I did not want to remember MY unconventional loves, I was afraid to read about yours.

    Now I know that I am finally ready to read your deeply honest story, thanks to the healing I have had from neurofeedback. I am reading your book today. I have just now purchased an ebook copy for my Kindle reader, because I don’t want to damage the pages of the autographed copy you sent me.

    Thank you for being you, Marie Ayo! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lynda, thank you so so much for this soulful comment. I sincerely thought about why I wasn’t getting any feedback on the memoirs I sent to a few like yourself, bit then I reminded myself of why I sent them in the first place. A gift, sharing my story. And so I just prayed like I wrote somewhere in there, that it helped more than it hurt. I am glad you are now ready to read the rest of my thrilling tale…no horrific episodes so relax lol. This is similar to what this memoir am reading is doing to me although it is not similar to my story lol. I just realize it shall be a slow read


  2. I have been thinking about the advice you asked for, about what to do about the book you are reading. The way it stabs you in the heart, because you are reminded of your brother. You did not know how to help your younger brother, because you did not have a book like High Tide, Low Tide to guide you. And now your brother is gone.

    I read the sample part of High Tide, Low Tide on Amazon. I am sure that would be a very hard book for anyone to read, who has lost a dear loved one to mental illness. I lost my cousin 6 years ago, the day after we talked on the phone for the last time. She was very depressed and she literally drank herself to death. She was a nurse and she was only 38. I still miss her so much. My heart still hurts because I did not save her.

    Marie, maybe you are not meant to read this book now. Maybe this is too much for you at this time.

    Perhaps you can write a review and say something like this: “I only read two chapters. Those two chapters that I read are wonderful. However, I cannot read any more of this book at this time, because it is breaking my heart. The reason it is breaking my heart is because I had a mentally ill brother. I tried my best to help him, but I did not have a book like this to tell me how. And now he is dead. Now it is too late to help my dear brother. Please buy this book if you have a friend or a relative who has a mental illness. Buy it so you can get some truly helpful ideas of how to be there for your loved one, through good times and bad, before it is too late.”

    I think a heartfelt review of this nature would be most effective. Of course, you would want to put it into your own words.

    In the sample part of the book High Tide, Low Tide, there is a quote that I think fits this situation. One of the two writers of the book, Martin Baker, said this in the introduction:

    “Be who you are. Do what you can. Embrace the journey.”

    I think that if being who you are, and doing what you can, means that you cannot comfortably read this book right now, that is OK. Embrace where you are and who you are, right now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Lynda, you are so thoughtful. I am going to read a little more and see how it goes. You know it is 3 years now and am trying to move on from ‘guilt and self-pity’ at not having ‘helped’ an only brother I loved so much. I also think of myself and all the help I would have loved to have with all the trauma I have dealt with and the 6 months of depression I survived. Now, I have a friend diagnosed with PTSD actually 2 of them and I want to brave and read on to learn how to help better and care for myself too in the process. And my online friends too especially Pammy with whom am very close, I think I could learn how to be a better friend for her


  4. I certainly do not have definitive answers, but it is my belief (as with most imbalances in life) that PREVENTION is the best initial step to follow. It is my belief that “forks in the road” develop over time. These same “forks” exist in the brain. When proper resources are missing and choices must be made while the mind suffers many distractions, the paths we follow often lead to greater disturbances.

    I don’t know how to correct this outcome. I do believe support early in life is an important key to preventing lifelong distractions and ultimately cognitive impairment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much doc for this comment. I totally agree with you and even before starting this book, I had wanted to write a post advising young parents not to repeat the mistakes of their parents cause they should know better now. Well, I don’t know if that is how or what I would write anymore but my idea was that a lot of the forks in our minds can be traced to some childhood trauma either caused or not addressed by those kids trust most (parents) I mean until they are scared to trust same for any reason. These issues if not addressed, grow up with you and show up whether invited or not, in whichever coping way the suffering mind brings up. I am still ‘healing myself’ and although I have come a long way and doing much much better and can even help other for real, I sometimes… still get stuck, stabbed to my soul … i feel like…let me go discover myself some more…just took some personality tests…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Marie – you and I have been chatting on Facebook these past few days since we connected, and it is great to see some of your response here to reading our book (mine and Fran’s). It says a lot about how honest and courageous you are with your feelings that you are prepared to make the journey like this, and also to share so openly on your blog. I look forward to hearing more. Thank you also to those who have commented here! Your caring perspective to what Marie has shared is a wonderful example of the kind of supportive distance caring that Fran and I talk about in our book. Blessings to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I can’t say that I know this feeling exactly but I am often very moved by the way people are able to describe mental illness so eloquently. I am going to look for this book. Thanks!


    1. Hi life… Thanks for your comment so honest. Eloquent may not be the word I’ll use weary it may ‘beautify’ the ordeal of narrating and making a case for a severely stigmatised health condition. I mean, much of what we know as physical pain has a secret sibling or cousin in the suffers mind right? But you’re sure to get all the sympathy for the physical condition if no one knows of your secret or even suspects your words or behaviour. It took these authors 4 years, I know other authors who have written on mental health/illness and it took them several years. I have resumed reading the book and I am happy learning all am doing. Hope you do get it, it is goes for much more than bipolar disorder and any illness/pain vis a vis friendship


      1. I agree it is important to beware of stigma. But eloquent means it is well written or clearly expressed, not necessarily beautiful. And the way some people are able to express the raw truth so well, seems like something that would be very difficult to put into words for most.


      2. Ah then dear life…I agree with the word eloquent and its aptness to describe what you used it to describe. And now, doesn’t mean people living with a mental illness are just as intelligent and shouldn’t be stigmatized any more?


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