Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Review: Washed Away From Darkness To Light: A Memoir By Nikki Dubose

Review: Washed Away From Darkness To Light: A Memoir By Niki Dubose book mental health illness depression anxiety child abuse support help review

You know when you read a book, and once you've put it down, you're still thinking about it, yeah? Well, that was with me with this book. Washed away from darkness to light is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. A heartwarming but equally heartbreaking tale of one girl's struggle through child abuse, addiction, a chaotic family life, rape, grief and complex mental health problems. 

A good book has to trigger emotions, whether that be happiness, sadness, anger or something else. I cried while reading this book, so I think it's safe to say what emotion it provoked. I was deeply touched by Nikki's struggles. I couldn't fathom how someone could go through so much yet still be fighting on. And for that, I only have admiration for Nikki. The courage it must have taken to keep going is unthinkable. 

Like Nikki, I had a childhood filled with trauma which has left me with complex mental health problems. Although under completely different circumstances, I felt a strong connection and great empathy for Nikki while reading, as her story unfolded. Whether you have mental health problems or not, I'm sure you will be moved my Nikki's stories as well as learn a lot about the devastating impact of childhood abuse and unresolved trauma.

(Warning, this review contains spoilers)


Nikki has had anything but an easy life. Her childhood was filled with physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Her mum had serious mental health problems including bipolar and dissociative identity disorder. As a result, Nikki struggled and suffered in silence for many years with a wide range of mental health problems, including eating disorders (since she was eight) self-harm, depression, body dysmorphic disorder and psychosis. 

Nikki writes in a brutally honest way about the darkest times in her childhood and how she dealt with this by binging and purging. She also documents some of the happy moments, in particular, spent with her Nan. However, these rays of sunshine are often overshadowed by her chaotic family situation. As a college dropout, Nikki has to find her way in the world somehow. She turns her hand to modelling, a bittersweet career that leaves Nikki choosing between life and death. 

What I love about this book is how Nikki discusses taboo subjects without softening the edges. In particular, I was fascinated by the chapter which talked about her experience with anorexia while being a model. We all know the modelling industry's obsession with skinny girls, but Nikki does more than just highlight this fact. She painfully goes into great details about just how destructive modelling can be for both your physical and mental well-being. 

Most imagine modelling to be a luxury career, with a jet set lifestyle and constant fine dining and exclusive events. And in some parts, this is true, as Nikki highlights in her memoir, but it masks a very dark side to modelling. A career filled with diet pills, constant negativity and not really knowing your intrinsic worth. Most of the time Nikki chose all the wrong ways to cope; drugs, alcohol, sex and unhealthy eating habits. However, despite, a constant stream of negative events in her life including having an alcoholic as a mum, she keeps fighting her way through, despite suicide seeming the best option in many situations. 

As you follow Nikki through her life, from childhood to adulthood, things never seem to get any better for her. The passing of both her Nan and Mum were not easy for her to deal with. The death of her mum changed her life forever. The stress upon already a lifetime of stress and unresolved trauma, was the turning point for Nikki to decide to get the help she most definitely needed. 

Sober from drugs and alcohol for five years and free from her eating disorder for three and a half, Nikki has now turned her career towards writing, public speaking and mental health advocacy. She is also pursuing a career in psychology, with her dream of being able to achieve a PhD. Nikki's perseverance throughout her life is outstanding and highly commendable. She dealt with more than what most of us will have to deal with in our lives. I'm so glad to see Nikki using her experiences, which most of us would want to never think about ever again, as a way of reducing the stigma around mental health and increasing people's understanding of mental illness in particular eating disorders. She provides a much-needed glimmer of hope for victims of child abuse, rape and those who struggle with their mental health. 

I would recommend washed away from darkest to light to anyone but particularly those who struggle with their mental health or who've survived childhood abuse or trauma. You will be able to relate to Nikki through the struggles and strains that come from going through such painful experiences. 

I sincerely hope that Nikki's courage and strength inspire you if you have or currently are struggling with one of the issues she mentioned in her book. Despite a life of hardship and unfortunate events, Nikki shows that recovery is possible. No matter what you've been through it doesn't have to define you, it can be possible to overcome anything you set your mind to.

You can buy Washed Away From Darkness To Light: A Memoir By Nikki Dubose HERE

Thank you for reading, as always X 

* This book was sent to me, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I'm not being paid to write this post.

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