My Colour-Coded Life

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A book review of My Colour-Coded Life: Living With Schizoaffective Disorder by Megan Jackson Hall

A book review of My Colour-Coded Life: Living With Schizoaffective Disorder by Megan Jackson Hall

Stars: ***

Frisen Press 2020
Memoirs
438 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: My Colour-Coded Life is an autobiography of one brave woman’s life weighed down with mental illness. Using a pseudonym and changed names for legal reasons, the author shares her fascinating experiences.

The story begins with her distrust of her husband in 2000, and in 2005, her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. Along the way, we learn of her battle with colours and the messages she took from them—and also from food, TV, radio, music, newspapers, her guitar music, missing things, other people’s clothes, and even products on the shelves. Once trust was gained in Music, she grips onto inspirational lyrics to pull her out of the quagmire she found herself sinking into. In searing honesty, she shares her triggers and offers insight on what she knows about her relapses. In the beginning, she feared colours, but over time they empowered her, made her feel blessed and able to take control of her life.

My Colour-Coded Life offers readers the chance to walk in the shoes of someone who’s suffered greatly. Ideally, it will educate neurotypical readers and destigmatize mental illness along the way. 

My Colour-Coded Life

I enjoy reading memoirs about mental health.

Mental Health Memoirs in General

I suffer from Bipolar 2 which also includes anxiety and occasionally paranoid or OCD type tendencies. Others I know have other mental health problems. I think it’s important to understand what life is like for those with mental health. It makes it easier to understand their thought process and behaviours if you know what it’s like for them.

I think Schizoaffective disorder is one that isn’t covered as often as other mental disorders are. I’ve read lots of mental health memoirs but never one about Schizoaffective disorder (although I’ve met two people with the disorder.)

Schizoaffective Disorder

The author, who goes by the name of Megan Jackson Hall, has lived with the disorder for decades. Schizoaffective Disorder is a mixture of Schizophrenia and a Mood Disorder (like Depression or Bipolar.) As with any disorder, it can be experienced differently by different people.

For Megan, she doesn’t hallucinate but she has delusions of grandeur (like believing celebrities are singing songs directly to her or are raising money for her dream or that someone is reading her thoughts and an hear or see what she says or does no matter where she is. She also believes that people in her life were replaced by doppelgangers so for example her husband isn’t the same guy she met originally and her daughters are not always the original daughter.

Canadian Author!

I’m so excited to read a Canadian author. Not just to support Canada but because the author uses Canadian spelling (Colour not Color), Canadian TV shows (Holmes on Homes) and references Canadian places (Tim Hortons, Ontario.)

My Colour-Coded Life

The title of the book is very fitting. Megan sees and notices the colours around her in a very strong way. She associates certain colours with different people or scenarios. Seeing those colours on TV or in real life can make her think it’s a message from that person. Or if she asks a question, seeing that colour combination can be an answer.

This is a reality that I’ve never experienced but there were a few times when things were mad (I was manic) that I saw numbers everywhere and math questions too. That house has 3 roof pieces, 2 red cars passed by, that cloud looks like a 7 and counting sidewalk squares as I walk (I mean the compulsion to do so, not just something I did while bored.) I also did once (just before being going inpatient) think a song was a message for me from God.

At the beginning Megan cannot watch TV or listen to music because it triggers her but later on she loves doing both. She find messages in the music too.

Problems

The idea of the book is great and learning about how she thinks about everyday occurrences is a real eye opener. However, it needs to be edited further. She mentions that she put it through spell check but there are lots of cases where a word wasn’t technically a misspelled word but it was the wrong word for that sentence. So a spell check wouldn’t have caught it.

Also she repeats herself over and over. This is understandable as anyone with mental health issues can often have memory issues. Also also the book looks chronological because it’s dates as journal entries, her thoughts bounce all over (I feel you Megan!) and so she repeats stories that come to mind those days.

She needs someone to help take out anything that is repeated more than twice and edit the mistakes. Megan hope that her book may one day become a movie and I think it would make a GREAT movie. If someone could help make her thoughts more chronological and pare it down a bit (It’s long) I would love to see it as a movie or tv show

I think a fix and re-release of this book could be a top seller and a future movie or TV show. Kudos to the author for opening up about her deepest thoughts and sharing what life is like for her with the world.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.

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