On May 4, Bassey Ikpi published an Audible Original titled Home Rarely Feels Like This. Ikpi is known for her groundbreaking book about battling with bipolar disorder, I Am Telling the Truth, But I Am Lying.
Home Rarely Feels Like This re-opens some of the larger issues addressed in the earlier book with a focus on the author’s return to Nigeria from the US. 1 hour 23 minutes long, the piece is a gut-wrenchingly honest portrayal of mental health and the stigma surrounding it. This work is hopefully a taste of a book project.
Read the synopsis here:
Three years before she began writing her New York Times best-selling book I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying, Bassey Ikpi returned to her native Nigeria to try to piece together a life that had fallen apart. Her career had been cut short by a bipolar II diagnosis and hospitalization, and she longed to find her way back to it.
Nigeria welcomed her with promise. That fall, she created BasseyWorld presents Naija Poetry Slam, Nigeria’s first National Poetry Slam competition, and she started getting hopeful. She started thinking about all the things she had wanted to do before she became unable to anymore, and it all felt possible again. The dream of being on television from age seven, years before BET and Def Poetry Jam. That dream rose from the dead and called her name. And if she could just start again, reroot herself in the first place her heart called home, she would be safe. Connected. Home.
But there was another side to her time in Nigeria. The side where she lived in a literal death trap on the 13th floor with no working elevator. Where strangers judged her every move as a single woman. Where it seemed like a good idea to wash down her medication with whiskey and then to stop taking her medication altogether. Where her brain would only quiet at night, not stop, and the loneliness would eat her bones.
This is the story of one of the darkest hours of a promising young talent who fled her life in Maryland for the chance to start over. When insomnia and heartbreak caught up with her in Lagos, she had to face the one thing she couldn’t flee—herself.
Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian-American writer and mental health advocate. Her debut essay collection I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying was a New York Times bestseller. She appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and has written for The New York Times, The Root, and Okay Africa. She is the creator of #NoShameDay, an initiative that normalizes conversations surrounding Black mental health to reduce stigma.
Congrats to Ikpi on the audiobook! Listen here.