New York’s best-selling author AJ Mendez Brooks revealed her secret weapon to the world on what led to her success in her book, “Crazy Is My Superpower”. Brooks writes this book in her own point of view and we, the reader, read her life story of when she was 7 years old living in poverty to being 30 years old as successful pro wrestler and author. And throughout this life journey she reveals at one point that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Brooks is known for her in-ring wrestling work for WWE being a three time WWE Divas Champion and being known as the person that sparked a women’s revolution in the wrestling industry for her uniqueness and her “crazy” persona.
Throughout her childhood, her family brawled with drug addiction, poverty, and mental illness. Brooks mentions in her book that she had to move from motel to motel to eventually living in her family car with her two older sibling, their dog, and both of her parents in New Jersey. Her parents did everything they could to get by. Her father was an automotive engineer while her mother stayed at home to take care of the children.
Even though Brooks retired from wrestling, many of her fans expected this book to be about her journey of becoming a professional wrestler. However, this book’s main focus was more on her mental illness and how she handled it. Her family was always against getting medical help, especially talking to a counselor or psychiatrist because it was a sign of weakness for them.
She discovered she had bipolar disorder when she decided to seek help for her mom because they were in same conflict. She realized that her school offered free counseling, so she decided to take advantage of the opportunity. When she went to the counseling session, she explained to the counselor that the session was more for her mom than her; however, the counselor was more concerned about Brooks.
The counselor questioned Brooks about her and her past, so she talked. He came to the conclusion that she was experiencing depression, so he recommended her to talk to a psychiatrist. She realized that the stuff he was explaining towards her, was the same stuff her mother was going through too. Brooks, at the time, felt terrified to go through the whole process of talking it out and finding out that she was diagnosed with something.
In chapter six, she starts inserting these journal entries from her diary called “Diary of an Unfit Mind” at the end of each chapter, where each one of them is a different theme. This diary was a suggestion from her therapist that she should start a journal to clear her mind. Writing, for her, was her own kind of therapy.
At the end of chapter eight, she speaks out to the reader telling them if they feel down or feel that something inside them could be wrong. The first thing to do is to find the strength to talk to someone and it can be anyone. A friend that can be trusted or going to therapy, even if it’s the hardest thing to do. “You might just find exactly what you are looking for.”
She mentions that there’s two cycles to bipolar disorder: depressive and manic. Manic cycles can make a person be happy or as she explains makes a person want to clean the whole house. Depressive cycles are when the person doesn’t want to get out of bed or is having suicidal thoughts.
Even though Brooks dealt with being bipolar or being labeled crazy, poor, weak, freak, nerdy, etc., she made those things her greatest strengths. She didn’t become a success overnight because of them. She became successful because of them.
This book brings awareness to mental illness because not a lot of people are talking about how to deal with any sort of mental illness. Brooks proves that help is not a sign of weakness; in fact, it is a tool to guide a person into becoming his or her own superhero.