Southern Vapors

Southern Vapors softcover book by Lynn Garson categorized under memoirs about mental illness.

In Southern Vapors, celebrated author Lynn Garson shares her powerful memoir of coping with mental illness—and her inspiring recovery!

Author Lynn Garson has written a brave, often raw, and even funny memoir about her path “from silver spoon to straitjacket and back.” She has overcome the stigma of mental illness by tackling it straight on, discussing what happened to her—what can happen to anyone—regardless of societal standing or level of success, if circumstances stack up against you. Ultimately, she reveals how a return to clarity, calm, and strength, is possible.

Lynn gives us a fascinating glimpse of her early genteel life as a Southern heiress in-waiting—the glamour at a home that looked like Tara, the travels on a grand scale. Her descent from the dizzying heights of prosperity to lockdown is all the more shocking, culminating in seven days inpatient in a low-income mental institution where cigarettes were bartered for 25 cents apiece.

Throughout this touching and very personal memoir, Lynn recounts her struggles with severe depression and catastrophic anxiety, even skirting around suicidal thoughts. The reader feels all the more inspired to find that by the end of the book, the author is a practicing attorney and has regained her emotional and mental footing, despite having been told by her treating physician that she would never work again.

In this compelling, inspirational book, Lynn uncovers and explores valuable lessons in life: Hold on to family and loved ones who support you no matter what, there is more to be gained by honesty than secrecy, and be open to learning from anyone, anywhere, no matter how different you are.

Southern Vapors is a must-read book for anyone who has felt overwhelmed, lost, or out-of-control, but who knows deeply that there is still so much in this world to live for—and that connection and even humor can appear in the oddest places, and at just the right time!

Q&A with Lynn Garson

Why did you write Southern Vapors, which is an incredibly honest memoir about mental illness?

Southern Vapors began as a blog, launched when I was inpatient in a low-income mental institution, because I was so disconcerted yet intrigued by my experience. I hoped to find someone who could relate out there in the ether. I sent the link for the blog to a friend who had been a writer for Bon Appetit Magazine. Her reaction was both unexpected and gratifying: “You don’t need a psychiatrist; what you need is a literary agent!” That’s all it took and I focused on writing a book.

Writing a memoir helped me think through what was going on around me (the least of which included patients threatening other patients, and patients preaching and singing at all hours of the night).

As I continued to write after my discharge, reflections on the influences and experiences were revelatory and cathartic, and necessary for my recovery. The book has since become a vehicle for me to speak about my journey and advocate for change in the way we approach mental illness, which now forms a very fulfilling part of my life.

Great Reviews for Southern Vapors

Winner of the 2013 Great Southeast Book Festival award for best biography/autobiography

"Who would have thought a book by a privileged southern belle turned lawyer could hold so much charm and wit, and leave the reader with the belief that they too can be better?"

Psych Central

"Southern Vapors delights by delivering a recovery message laced with loads of humor. (The author has an uncanny ability to admit her foibles. People can relate to her.)."

Amazon review

Blog: The Further Adventures of Suzy Marmalade

Uh Oh, Here Comes Another Flatfooted Fix

It seems that the latest fix in the search to repair the broken mental health in the U.S. is to dial the primary care physicians into the equation. The thinking is that they are “first responders” and can flag issues, talk with patients, provide treatment options and act as both helper and gateway.

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Temporarily Embarassed

I always did want to post this out-take from Southern Vapors. I liked it, even though my editor said it needed to come out of the book. She thought it was irrelvant. For anyone who knows me well, it actually says alot.

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A (Very) Short Story

I used to belong to a writer’s group ’til I joined a therapy group that caused a scheduling conflict (close call as to which is the better therapy, but the therapy group won out).

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Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. What a lie. A whistling in the dark, wishful thinking, lalalalala with my fingers in my ears bold-faced lie. Who among us has not been hurt by words? sticks and stones

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Money, It’s a Gas

People in the South didn’t talk much about money when I was growing up, at least not the cultured ones. It was considered a sign of bad breeding, and that was unpardonable. Fast forward to the twenty-first century; boy did that change.

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Let the Bad Times Roll

I am having a bad week, and it is getting worse. By “worse,” I mean a persistent pit in my stomach, dark thoughts of doom, a deep and abiding desire to consume an entire chocolate cake (the one at Whole Foods with the ganache and the raspberry filling) and an ennui bordering on death itself.

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Funny How Sometimes Our Losses Turn Out to Be Wins

I recently came across a letter I wrote to my daughter on her college graduation in May 2012. As I re-read it, I was reminded of how happy I am that I didn’t repeat history, that I made a deliberate departure from my own “no talk, no feel” family. I often take myself to task for the things I didn’t do for my children and the imperfect examples I set for them.

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What causes addiction? We have discovered that the causes can be many: nature (genetics), nurture (environment), some combination thereof, and other causes. I came by my addiction by virtue of the combo nature/nurture package.

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