This is Just my Face–Try Not to Stare: A Book Review

This Memoirs of Mental Health series has become one of my favorite sections of my website. I’ve always been a memoir junkie and I’ve been really inspired to see how some of my favorite celebrities are using their platforms to share about their mental health struggles and victories.

I’ve loved Gabourey Sidibe since her debut role in Precious and I always look forward to hearing the next sarcastic thing her character, Becky, will say each week on Empire. Today, I’m sharing some insights that I gained from reading Sidibe’s This is Just my Face: Try Not to Stare, as her story covers body image, anxiety, self-esteem, and a lot more.

Body Image

I love the chapter titled MYOB: Mind your own body, as many of Sidibe’s experiences with her weight and bullying resonate deeply with me.

“The bulimia started in my second year at college and stuck around for about three years. It took a lot of therapy to figure out why I was doing it and then how to stop. Even though it’s been years […] I still struggle with figuring out how to stop thinking about throwing up after I eat.”

In addition to therapy, Sidibe sought the help of a personal trainer for the purposes of improving overall health, not just losing weight.

“This is my body. It’s going to be with me forever. For all the ways it’s failed me, it’s come through for me a million times more. I’ll never be skinny and I don’t really want to be. I want to be smaller and I want to be healthier. My body will get me there.”

Depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety

I appreciate that Sidibe shares about her struggles with her mental health. She covers several options for managing mental illness to include medication, group therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy.

“Here’s the thing about therapy and why it is so important. I love my mom, but there’s so much I couldn’t talk to her about […]”

“I’d be crying and sweating profusely, struggling to breathe, thinking I was going to die. For a while, I thought I was having asthma attacks. I didn’t realize until later that these were actually panic attacks. I was a mess.”


Stories are powerful, whether we’re telling our own or listening to someone else’s. You can find this book here (paid link.)

Let me know in the comments if there’s a memoir that you’d recommend!

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