Memoirs of Mental Health: Jamie Lynn Spears

Today, I’m excited to share about the memoir that I just read by Jamie Lynn Spears titled, Things I Should Have Said.

Background

I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book, as celebrity tell-alls often come across as exaggerated; however, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I’m about the same age as Jamie Lynn and I remember loving her show, Zoey 101, back in the day. With that in mind, I’ll never forget the moment that her life accelerated from child star (and little sister of Britney Spears) to teen parent. I remember being in band class when my flip phone (remember those?) buzzed with an MTV alert stating “Jamie Lynn Spears, star of Zoey 101, is pregnant at 16.” That alert was my last recollection of Jamie Lynn until I saw that her book was released last week. Today, I’ll be sharing some of the mental themes covered in this memoir.

Escapism

The word, “escapism,” seemed the best fit to describe the various coping mechanisms (healthy and maladaptive) that the characters in Spears’ memoir experience. Addiction was a generational theme, as Jamie Lynn shares about her father’s struggle with alcoholism, her sister’s cycles of substance and alcohol abuse, and of Casper (first child’s father) who struggled with drugs; more specifically, opioids. On a more positive note, Jamie Lynn found escapism through various forms of storytelling including writing, acting, and singing.

Family Dynamics

Family is another major theme of the book, as Jamie Lynn describes her upbringing, which included control dynamics (parents who served as their career managers- a conflict of interest,) divorce, and absenteeism. I found it interesting how her family of origin’s dynamics seemed to repeat in her first major relationship (Casper) and how she seemed to break the cycle through that breakup and later relationship turned marriage with Jamie… Yes, her husband has the same first name, haha!

I also appreciated Jamie Lynn’s insights on parenting, given that she was thrust into the role as a teen whereas my experience with parenting occurred more recently (some interesting compare/contrast/insight gaining occurred as I read.)

Having grown up in the Spears spotlight, it was enlightening to hear Jamie Lynn speak about the engrained (and often toxic) family status quos that include secrecy, minimizing (the push to suppress emotions, and to keep working no matter what,) and gaslighting.

Mental Health

While the book wasn’t focused on her older sister, Britney, my therapist mind was intrigued by Jamie Lynn’s account of her sister’s mental health struggles. Regarding Jamie Lynn, what stood out most was her vulnerability in discussing her own diagnoses of obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety. I learned a lot as she opened up about the prenatal depression that she experienced with both of her pregnancies. She also shares how her mental health treatment includes therapy, psychiatry, and faith

Conclusion

I really enjoyed Things I Should Have Said by Jamie Lynn Spears. I mentioned earlier how prior to getting this book, the last I heard of Spears was pertaining to her teen pregnancy. Picking up this book felt like reconnecting with a friend after a long time and filling in all the gaps. Jamie Lynn is far more than a child star turned teen mom.  Her story will be an inspiration to many. I enjoyed the Audible version but you can find it in various formats here (paid links.)

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