Girl in the Dark: A Memoir by Anna Lyndsey
You know the saying “misery loves company?” I hate to admit it but it’s oh so true. As I was getting ready to have surgery I started this book and finished it the day after I left the hospital. Yes, I was in a lot of pain and extremely weak, but I can go to the hospital if I need to, something the author of this book is unable to do.
Anna was working as a civil servant in London when she started to get a burning sensation on her face. After some time away from work the feeling faded. For some strange reason her face seemed to have become allergic to the light coming from computer screens and the florescent bulbs in her office. Shortly after this discovery she leaves her life in London to move in with her boyfriend in a much more rural area. Things slowly get worse. The burning moves from her face to her entire body. On the days she can go out at dusk or dawn she wears multiple layers of clothing to keep the light out. And it isn’t only florescent light that irritates her skin, over time any type of light causes her to burn.
Yes, Anna sometimes breaks down in despair of all the life she is missing. She spends months in almost complete darkness listening to audiobooks to pass the time. But occasionally things get better and she can stroll at twilight. She sets up a mirror in the living room so she can watch the reflection of the television and watch The Apprenticewith her boyfriend. She manages to make it through her own wedding.
Anna also addresses the frustration and idiocy surrounding her quest to find help. There is a clinic that studies light sensitivity in London and they would love to see her when she’s feeling better. She hasn’t been able to go out in daylight for the five years she records in the writing of this book. No one from the clinic or anywhere else will come to visit her. She lives in fear of injury and illness since a doctor’s office or hospital would be toxic to her skin.
If you are in a time of your life where things seem to be going badly this is the book you need for a reality check. Your life is amazing. Look out the window and watch the world go by before your eyes. Read a book. Walk outside and feel the sun on your face. All these are little wonderful things this author rarely gets to experience. Read this book and find out how someone with such a hampered existence finds joy and also how great your life is right now.