Coming Undone is the heartbreaking yet beautiful memoir by Journalist and Editor in Chief of Empire Magazine Terri White. It talks about her experience of being sectioned, dealing with childhood trauma and uplifting your life. Coming Undone is a stark reminder you can overcome the circumstances in which you are born in.
Terri writes with gumption and fierceness, not hiding from the grittiness that comes with dealing with suicidal thoughts, alcohol consumption whilst juggling a high functioning career. There is a sort of poetic quickstep to her writing as the events unfold. So much so in some cases, you feel like you need to catch your breath. The vividness of her words means you can visualise the series of events in your mind as you are taking in each and every word.
Through her experiences, you see the flaws in the system, the lack of resources out there for people in Terri’s position growing up as a child. The feeling of loneliness and abandonment seeps through her words as does the courage she had to get out of the cyclical cycle many children in her shoes are entangled with. It shows how mental scars, even those deeply hidden within our subconscious come to the forefront eventually.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Kerry Hudson’s Lowborn, albeit very different in the sense Terri focuses is very much on the mental struggle you face when you experience things no child should the childhood themes of class and the support (or lack thereof) both these women discuss is infuriating. Both books left me angry and infuriated at the injustice they faced. I couldn’t help but cry at the thought of the countless others who are in a similar position. My one wish is that these books find their way to these children and provide them with hope, reminding them, their future is in their hands.
You cry, laugh, and look on in horror alongside Terri as her story unfolds. There are times when I was reading this where I wish I could reach out to Terri, either in the story to let her know she is not alone or in the present, and give her a hug.
Terri has been an inspiration to me for years now, as a writer and a human and yes I am slightly biased but this memoir is the perfect depiction of why I have immense respect for her. While it is not the most joyous book in the world, it is a beautiful essential read for anyone who is struggling.