There is no guidebook for how to be human—especially one navigating the arduous terrain of physical and mental health struggles. There are no checklists that can accurately prepare a person for how to be disabled, and no clear-cut instructions for living independently as someone who cannot always thrive alone.
There are, however, other people’s stories.
The Act of Constant Drowning provides a lighthearted yet raw glimpse into the life of its author, Iona Stuart. From her first diagnosis at the age of 14, through boarding school and into adulthood, Iona details her experiences living with illness. The honest storytelling enables readers to understand the thought patterns, physical sensations, and emotional tolls embodied in life with MS, epilepsy, disordered eating, and depression.
Though the journey described is intensely personal, the most significant takeaway is the importance of human connection. Through our interactions with others—both good and bad—and the stories we share, we can learn how to survive our unique human experience.
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Iona Stuart is a freelance proofreader, and writer of fiction, non-fiction articles, and poetry. She enjoys reading, writing, practicing her Spanish language skills, and discovering new music. She also likes playing The Sims for an unhealthy amount of time. Currently, she spends her time traveling often between the US and the UK.