I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying: Essays

I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying: Essays

A deeply personal collection of essays exploring Nigerian-American author Bassey Ikpi’s experiences navigating Bipolar II and anxiety throughout the course of her life.Bassey Ikpi was born in Nigeria in 1976. Four years later, she and her mother joined her father in Stillwater, Oklahoma —a move that would be anxiety ridden for any child, but especially for Bassey. Her earl...

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Title:I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying: Essays
Author:Bassey Ikpi
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Edition Language:English

I'm Telling the Truth, but I'm Lying: Essays Reviews

  • Stefanie

    Wow. This was intense. The writing is amazing. The essays really put the reader in the place of not just better understanding bipolar II, but also give a sense, a feeling, of what it is like to live with this illness. A must read.

  • Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)

    “only a woman so small and wise could give birth to herself so many times”

    That was the last sentence in the “prologue” of Bassey Ikpi’s book (set to release this coming August). That sentence struck a chord with me and I knew that this collection of essays was going to be amazing and moving.

    Ikpi is a Nigerian- American poet and mental health advocate and overall amazing human who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. A disorder that Black and Brown folks to not talk about nor even have the

    “only a woman so small and wise could give birth to herself so many times”

    That was the last sentence in the “prologue” of Bassey Ikpi’s book (set to release this coming August). That sentence struck a chord with me and I knew that this collection of essays was going to be amazing and moving.

    Ikpi is a Nigerian- American poet and mental health advocate and overall amazing human who has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. A disorder that Black and Brown folks to not talk about nor even have the name for.

    As we read through Ikpi’s essays we are met with gripping and raw narratives of what undiagnosed mental health disorders look like as well as what it looks when you’re trying to navigate your new diagnoses.

    She describes depression as a fog instead of just darkness and i related to that so deeply. This description is so important because often times we are taught that mental illness looks one way but really looks another. Which that is something she also touches on as well in one of her essays.

    She also talks about a "relationship" that she is in and as someone who has clinical depression I complete related.

    As someone who had clinical severe depression and general anxiety disorder, this book was something that i NEEDED to read.

    Bassey's writing is relatable and smooth and harrowing (but in the best way possible). She writes like we are in a conversation with her over a cup of coffee. Or even like we are watching a reality tv show that follows her. With every essay, I felt like I was right there with her fully understanding her emotions and feelings and moods.

    This collection of essays is extremely important and necessary because we must change the narrative around mental health and Black and Brown folks

  • Akwaeke Emezi

    Look, I've been reading Bassey Ikpi's work for a smooth ten years, thanks to the Internet. She's been a vital voice for so many of us who live with neurodivergence, throughout our darkest moments, whispering for us to allow ourselves morning. She's even mentioned by name in Freshwater! Now, this book of hers, this collection? It blew me the entire fuck away. It's brilliant, intimate, and so vulnerable! Bassey is a storyteller to her bones and it shows. Read this book, tell everyone you know to r

    Look, I've been reading Bassey Ikpi's work for a smooth ten years, thanks to the Internet. She's been a vital voice for so many of us who live with neurodivergence, throughout our darkest moments, whispering for us to allow ourselves morning. She's even mentioned by name in Freshwater! Now, this book of hers, this collection? It blew me the entire fuck away. It's brilliant, intimate, and so vulnerable! Bassey is a storyteller to her bones and it shows. Read this book, tell everyone you know to read this book, because you have no idea how many people out there need these words.

  • Jocelyne Kevine

    Such beautiful writing and such a necessary story that needs to be told. A raw account of what it looks like to manage an illness that so many don’t understand, but which they will hopefully know more about after they read this. Bassey is a warrior and I am in awe of her strength and storytelling talent. I sobbed as I closed the book. A beautiful, beautiful story.

  • Saloni

    Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me a copy of this book at BEA 2019 and thank you to Bassey Ikpi for signing my copy!

    I thought this was a phenomenal read. Bassey Ikpi has beautifully written her story about her experiences with mixed-episode bipolar disorder. She tells a story that needs to be heard, highlighting some of the glaring problems in health care when it comes to mental health. Bassey Ikpi not only is able to tell her story eloquently, she also uses the space of the page and se

    Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me a copy of this book at BEA 2019 and thank you to Bassey Ikpi for signing my copy!

    I thought this was a phenomenal read. Bassey Ikpi has beautifully written her story about her experiences with mixed-episode bipolar disorder. She tells a story that needs to be heard, highlighting some of the glaring problems in health care when it comes to mental health. Bassey Ikpi not only is able to tell her story eloquently, she also uses the space of the page and sentence structure to reflect the inner workings of her brain. Overall, a fantastic book with a narrative that needs to be amplified.

  • Chris MacDonald-Dennis

    What can I say about a book that touched my soul so deeply? First, Ikpi's experience with mental illness and difficult family dynamics allowed me a path to think about my own life and how my mental illness has impacted me. There were times that I literally had to put the book down because her words forced me (in a good way) to face things that I had tried to push aside. I found myself having more empathy for myself, which is something that does not come easy to me. I found myself being gentler w

    What can I say about a book that touched my soul so deeply? First, Ikpi's experience with mental illness and difficult family dynamics allowed me a path to think about my own life and how my mental illness has impacted me. There were times that I literally had to put the book down because her words forced me (in a good way) to face things that I had tried to push aside. I found myself having more empathy for myself, which is something that does not come easy to me. I found myself being gentler with myself. I also found myself having to admit things I had done that were hurtful.

    Ikpi's writing is superb. What she is able to do with a sentence and how she makes you visualize what she is writing about floored me. I could see myself there, experiencing what she was. That sometimes made for difficult reading but it connected me deeply to her story.

    Thank you, Bassey Ikpi, for this gorgeous book that allows us all to learn about, to grow with, to empathize more with those of us who live with mental illness.

  • Shannon Wright

    This is a searing, lyrical piece of work: Bassey Ikpi started her career as a poet, and it shows as she finds music in heartbreaking moments. There are lines that will make you laugh out loud (“I still hate yoga, it’s like a game of Simon Says that no one ever wins”) and descriptions so evocative they make you freeze: a sweater is burgundy, “the color of Anne’s raspberry cordial,” and that one line captures a type of girl that, if you were also one, identifies a kindred spirit.

    This book is oste

    This is a searing, lyrical piece of work: Bassey Ikpi started her career as a poet, and it shows as she finds music in heartbreaking moments. There are lines that will make you laugh out loud (“I still hate yoga, it’s like a game of Simon Says that no one ever wins”) and descriptions so evocative they make you freeze: a sweater is burgundy, “the color of Anne’s raspberry cordial,” and that one line captures a type of girl that, if you were also one, identifies a kindred spirit.

    This book is ostensibly about mental health, and it is that: We follow her from the early signs that no one recognized, through the crisis and out to the other side. This is not a trite book about victory over mental illness, excepting the fact that she is still with us; she is clear that every day is a struggle. But to present it as only a book about mental illness is to sell it short. This is a book about the human condition and how hard it is to live in this broken world in these frail bodies. Bassey is the canary in the mine: what we may sense as a one or two on the Richter scale, she registers as a 10. But if you don’t recognize yourself in some of the despair, self flagellation, euphoria, pride, profound love, and profound self doubt, then it’s time for some introspection.

    I love this book and can’t wait to share it with my friends.

  • lisa

    I started reading this the day I got my ARC from the publishers, and I had a hard time putting it down to do basic things like eat and sleep and breathe. This was such an incredible memoir, with Bassey Ikpi being as upfront about her lack of memories as is possible to be. I thought she did a stunning and honest job of weaving something out of the vague (possibly false?) memories of her childhood, and the stories she has heard about her life since. The second half of the book deals with her strug

    I started reading this the day I got my ARC from the publishers, and I had a hard time putting it down to do basic things like eat and sleep and breathe. This was such an incredible memoir, with Bassey Ikpi being as upfront about her lack of memories as is possible to be. I thought she did a stunning and honest job of weaving something out of the vague (possibly false?) memories of her childhood, and the stories she has heard about her life since. The second half of the book deals with her struggle with what was eventually diagnosed as Bipolar II. Again, her straight forward approach to telling this story is so brave, and so stark that I couldn't believe it. It made me look at mental illness in a whole new light, one not so bogged down with stereotypes.

    This book would be necessary for anyone to read, but for any black or brown person who deals in any capacity with mental illness, this book is truly a gem. I hope to read a lot more of Bassey Ikpi in the future.

  • Dolly

    I have never read a memoir quite like this. Such powerful prose, almost poetic in how it engaged not just my mind but also my soul. I could not put this down - it just held on to me and I ripped through in two evenings. While I haven't experienced much of what Bassey Ikpi has, she tells her story in such a raw and riveting way that I felt her journey in my being. I learned so much about mental illness, as she has experienced it, and about myself, in all the ways in which Bassey's journey speaks

    I have never read a memoir quite like this. Such powerful prose, almost poetic in how it engaged not just my mind but also my soul. I could not put this down - it just held on to me and I ripped through in two evenings. While I haven't experienced much of what Bassey Ikpi has, she tells her story in such a raw and riveting way that I felt her journey in my being. I learned so much about mental illness, as she has experienced it, and about myself, in all the ways in which Bassey's journey speaks to all of our journeys. She is an amazing writer and human being. This book is a gift you owe yourself.

  • Tucker

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