Saturday, March 5, 2011

Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light

Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light: A Memoir of Cutting, Healing, and Hope by Vanessa Vega
AMACOM, 2007
Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-13: 9780814474235
very highly recommended

When Vanessa Vega would feel the darkness begin to come over her, she would do anything, hoping to escape it. Take a hot bath. Read a book. Watch TV. Talk to a friend. But then, finally, unable to fight it any longer, she would give in, head into the bathroom...and cut.
Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light is a disturbing yet ultimately redemptive and inspiring memoir of a young woman compelled to injure herself in an attempt to cope with her overwhelming feelings of anxiety in the only way she knew how. Though still unknown to many, this disorder affects an estimated one percent of the population...and is on the rise, especially among teens.
This affecting, heart-wrenching book follows author Vanessa Vega's progress as she climbs her way back to emotional health and rebuilds her life. Readers will go inside the mind of a "cutter," taking the journey with her as she struggles against her exhausting and shameful secret ritual.
As Vega faces the anger and insecurity that lead to each encounter—while working with a therapist to understand the real motivating factors behind her behavior—Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light reveals what brings many to this disorder...and what can lead them out. With stunning insight, Vega has written a moving first-person account of self-injury, struggle, and redemption.

My Thoughts:

In her memoir Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light: A Memoir of Cutting, Healing, and Hope, author Vanessa Vega shares a very personal account of her lifetime of struggle with self injury, mainly cutting, and an eating disorder. Vega opens with a personal letter where she tells the reader: "In the end, this is a story of forgiveness; redemption; and, ultimately, survival."( pg. xi) Most of the book recounts the painful realities Vega had to face in the group therapy sessions and the hard work this involved in order for her to recover. The memoir is extremely emotional to read, but hopeful.

Vega makes it clear that recovery is not easy, but she also wants everyone to know that there is hope. That you can forgive yourself, forgive others, and move on with your life without cutting. Even though Vega shares much of her personal story and struggles, there are also many things left unsaid. All in all, this is a raw, very personal account of one woman's experience with therapy and how it helped her heal. Reading Comes the Darkness, Comes the Light would be of great benefit to anyone, especially therapists, who is dealing with someone who self injures.
Very Highly Recommended


I want to wake up each morning excited to be alive instead of feeling this suffocating wave of anxiety wash over me. I want to feel like I'm a good person, and not a disappointment. I want to look at myself naked and accept my body for what it is instead of hating it for what it is not....For once in my life, I want to be able to communicate what I'm feeling instead of allowing the scars I create on my body to say it for me. pg. 9-10

...the connection between physical pain and the diminishment of emotional pain was made. pg. 15

Cutting isn't random. It's a last attempt, by you, to exhibit some control over events or situations that you find totally out of control. pg. 18

I want to scream at the top of my lungs. I want to have some control, any control, over the sh*t that is happening in my life and so I take some. I take control in one of the few ways I know how. I hurt myself. pg. 29

When I look at the scars on my body, I see a variety of emotions: anger, fear, frustration, and guilt....In one word, I feel bad. Bad that I can't be the person I think other's think I am and want me to be. I feel bad because most of the time I chose to make other people happy over myself. I feel bad because I am not who I know I can be and that frustrates me. pg. 83

And, I guess, in the whole scheme of things, I am living proof of a God thing. I should be dead by now. Goodness knows I haven't taken care of the body I was many ways I have lived a life of selfishness....
"So if God can make good things happen for you, why do you think he allowed you to go through some of the negative things?"
I guess to make me stronger... pg. 93-94

Tonight we are going to talk about forgiving yourself. Before you can forgive another person, you must forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and feels regret at some point in his or her life. pg. 120

For the first time in my life, I cried for my scars. I realized at that very moment how much it must hurt other people when I cut myself. pg. 141


samantha.1020 said...

This sounds like a book that would be difficult to read but worthwhile. I'm going to have to add it to my wishlist...great review!

Lori L said...

There is some real insight into how therapy worked for Vanessa Vega and helped her with her cutting and eating disorder.