Independent publisher, Wintertickle Press is blowing open the door on mental health stigma with their newest anthology, Brainstorm Revolution. The book, brainchild of Courtney Taylor, Natalie Harris, and Heather Down, is a collection of powerful and creative first-person true stories that allow a glimpse into the life of those who suffer from mental health challenges and into the minds of those who strive for mental wellness. The universal themes of love, loss and triumph make this a fascinating read for anybody.

There are just under 40 contributors to this work, including people from a wide variety of ages and occupations—from city councillors to veterans to TEDx presenters to high school students to recipients of the Order of Canada. Micheal Landsberg, former host of TSN’s Off the Record and founder of Sick Not Weak; Deb McGrath, comedian and actor; and Stephane Grenier, mental health advocate and author of After the War: Surviving PTSD and Changing Mental Health Culture have also graciously given their stories to this unprecedented project.

The book is divided into three chapters: love, evolution and revolution. Love features stories of acceptance and kindness. Evolution is a chapter about personal turning points and shifts of perspective. Revolution shares stories of change-makers who influence our society as a whole. All of these short, slice-of-life stories hit on a wide variety of topics including: anxiety, depression, kindness, acceptance, bipolar disorder, transgender, psychotic breaks, self-care, suicide, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, autism, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, fear of abandonment, service dogs, coping strategies, change in legislation, fundraising, equine assisted learning, LGBTQ, postpartum depression, trauma and war.

Although these topics may seem heavy, the book focusses on positive change and growth, leaving the reader with a strong sense of optimism and hope.

“I felt two things I didn’t know I could feel at the same time – weighted and buoyed,” said writer Teresa Hedley. “The collection takes you in both directions. In the end, I felt changed, enlightened, like I had walked in naive and come out of it wiser and inspired.”

Retired Corporal Matthew Heneghan, a former medic in the Canadian Armed Forces, talks about Brainstorm Revolution in his podcast, A Medic’s Mind.

“When you are reading someone’s story, it’s not like you are reading someone’s story.” he said. “It is as though they are sitting down with you, telling you their story, telling you their experiences. That’s a rare read when you can pick up a book and have the book read itself to you.”

To celebrate the publication, Wintertickle Press will be holding a book signing with several of the contributing authors on Jan. 12 at Chapters Brampton, 52 Quarry Edge Drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The book is currently available through Indigo, Amazon, and select independent bookstores.

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