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? Southern Vapors tells the autobiographical story of a woman who descends into a deep depression after her unhealthy coping mechanisms catch up with her. This book manages to tackle heavy issues and leads the reader to feel like he or she can conquer whatever it is he or she has been struggling with.
In Southern Vapors, Lynn Garson masters not only the task of knowing who she is, but the ability to translate that knowledge into written word, share who she is with others, and make a real human connection.
“…I grew into a kind of casual prima donna, aloof, entitled, but not overly demanding or intimidating,” she writes. “My saving graces were that I had a dry wit, didn’t take myself too seriously and had a way of making the truth into a torpedo, vastly appealing to some people. I was so openly cavalier about money that I earned a by on it – it was universally agreed that my sense of entitlement was laced with enough irreverence to make it forgivable.”
As Garson descends into her depression, she searches high and low, from medicine and therapy to spiritual guides and men, looking for the cure that will fix her. When three days in the wilderness and a date with an alleged murderer don’t do the trick, Garson’s inner persona, which she nicknames Suzy Marmalade, has to look inside herself to find her cure.
Garson is somewhat of an unintentional writer. She began the writing process as a way to help her friends and family understand what she was feeling. The exuberant praise her story was met with served as incentive to polish and publish for the first time.
She divulges details of her life, including the factors that led to her depression and unhealthy coping mechanisms. The reader gets to know her mother and father, both the love they had for their daughter and the damaging actions on their part that the author feels contributed to issues she had to face as an adult.
Additionally, Garson discusses the things that paralyzed her and the unhealthy behaviors she adopted to cope. She talks about her lifelong issues with food and the way she turned to eating in complete secret, without her husband or her children aware of her addiction. She shares her experience of fighting the terrible depression that consumed her for years.
At first, she writes: “I could not accept that, live or die, happy or unhappy, my condition was going to be of my own making, that tools and props would be available, principally a good therapist, but it was going to be up to me, Self-Determination 101.” Ultimately, she comes to the realization that she is in charge of her own fate, and can make it whatever she wants.
Garson has written a very helpful text that transcends her privileged background. Although I was apprehensive when I picked it up, unsure as to how I was supposed to enjoy and relate to a book about a wealthy southern belle who struggles to cope with her circumstances, Garson flawlessly delivered the message that circumstances, though different for everyone, can be overcome and dealt with if a person is willing to put the work in.
Through her excellent narrative, Garson lets us genuinely connect with her, and encourages us to apply, in our own way, what she has found: that the only thing standing in the way of yourself is you.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, July, 2012
Paperback, 352 pages