Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Stand-up comedian Maria Bamford has been a leading voice in erasing stigmas about mental health, not only speaking frankly about her own defects onstage, but also being forthright in a web series (“The Maria Bamford Show”) as well as in her own Netflix series, Lady Dynamite, which over two seasons fictionalized her real-life comeback after multiple hospitalizations in 2011.
So it’s no surprise that she would go on to redefine the term “open book” when writing her first memoir, Sure, I’ll Join Your Cult.
How open is she? In chronicling her quest to quell decades of intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, Bamford describes childhood experiences trying to fit in through playing violin via the Suzuki method, and attending Dale Carnegie sessions with her father. She called a suicide hotline when she was 20, turning to bulimia in the wake of a college breakup, and the person on the other end of the phone steered Bamford to Overeaters Anonymous. As an adult, the comedian breaks her anonymity to share her experience, strength, and hope working various 12-step programs, including OA, Debtors Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, and with her husband, Scott, Recovering Couples Anonymous.