Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Who Am I? by Megan Cyrulewski


Megan Cyrulewski is an ordinary person who has faced extraordinary challenges and now wants to inspire people and show them that hope gives them the power to survive anything. Who Am I? is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, visits to the psych ward, divorce, domestic violence, law school, and her courageous struggle to survive with her sanity intact-and how a beautiful little girl emerged from all this chaos.



I've dealt with clinical depression for my entire adult life.  Either I didn't have PPD after any of my three children, or I was already depressed and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.  How agonizing it must be for women to endure this after a 'blessed event' (and that is said with no sarcasm).   But I was lucky in that I had the support of my husband.

To be going through PPD and then have abuse heaped on top of oneself by the person who should be the biggest cheerleader at that point is heart-rending.  It hurts enough hearing of someone going through that, or seeing someone you love going through that, but to be actively abused during the post-birth weeks and months is devastating.  And Megan Cyrulewski went through it for years.  Frankly, I don't know how she did it.

Thank God for her parents, who were supportive above and beyond the call.  But that's what you do for family.  My parents are both deceased, but my father-in-law is a great example of this.  

In Ms. Cyrulewski's case, the abuse eventually escalated into physical violence, when her ex tried to take their daughter by force for visitation (in the police department parking lot, no less), and was strangling her.  

Who Am I? is about as real as it gets.  The writing is fluid and the emotion is raw.  It will make you ache for Megan and her daughter, and for anyone going through this danger.  When you read it (not if - it's too important for that) you will get angry.  But anger is not necessarily a 'bad' emotion.   When anger lights a fire under you to defend someone (or something) unable to defend themselves (and there is no shame in that, for the sufferer) - it is good.  If you are going through PPD (which is tough enough), and/or (God forbid!) being abused, it can give you the strength to reach out for assistance and get yourself and any children out of that situation.

If you are hurting from abuse, tell someone.  A parent, a sibling, another relative, your clergyperson, a neighbor, the police.  If you are 'alone', you can go to http://www.womenshealth.gov/violence-against-women/ for a list of resources.  If you are in another country, and cannot find resources on your own, I will 'adopt' you as my (insert your nationality here) sister and turn to the internet and see what I can find.

Who Am I? should be available in every library, bookstore and other organizations serving women's health and safety.  (That's my opinion - and I'm sure it wouldn't hurt Megan's feelings either :O) ).


  1. Wow! I'm literally in tears after reading your review. I am so honored that my book touched you so deeply. Thank you so much for such an honest and heartfelt review.

  2. I love memoirs about women overcoming struggles and difficult circumstances. This looks right up my alley. After a lifetime of anxiety and depression, I get obsessed at times with books of women with the same emotional issues as me. You would think I would have read them all by now :). Thanks for the review, LuAnn!