Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules

Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules

by A. J. Mendez

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Overview

The New York Times Bestseller

Recently retired WWE superstar AJ Mendez Brooks is a powerhouse—strong, quirky, and totally confident. But that wasn’t always the case. With humor and tremendous heart, she opens up for the first time about her harrowing struggle to understand her demons and the diagnosis that helped her gain control over her life.

 
Everything I was told should be my greatest insecurities and weaknesses, everything that I’ve been labeled—SHORT, NERDY, SKINNY, WEAK, IMPULSIVE, UGLY, TOMBOY, POOR, REBEL, LOUD, FREAK, CRAZY—turned out to be my greatest strengths. I didn’t become successful in spite of them. I became successful because of them.
 
Growing up AJ was a quiet girl trying to act “normal” when she felt anything but. As her family struggled with drug addiction, poverty, and mental illness, she found escape through comic books and video games, and was inspired by the tough and unconventional female characters. It wasn’t until she discovered pro wrestling that she learned superheroes could be real.
 
Determined to become the superhero she’d always admired, AJ trained and sacrificed for years to achieve her dream of wrestling professionally. Yet she quickly faced industry pressure to play the role of the damsel in distress and to dress more provocatively to cater to male fans. But she fought back and created an ass-kicking alter ego that was a genuine representation of herself: nerdy, enthusiastic, and a little bit crazy. 
 
With humor and tremendous heart, AJ opens up for the first time about her harrowing struggle to understand her demons and the mental illness diagnosis that helped her gain control over her life. What most people view as a hardship, AJ embraced as inspira­tion for her superhero persona, shattering the stigma attached to mental illness.
 
Charting her journey from a scrappy girl in an unstable home to an empowered wrestling champion, Crazy Is My Superpower is an un­flinchingly honest story and brave confessional about her long road to self-acceptance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451496676
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 04/03/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 101,714
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

AJ MENDEZ BROOKS is a former WWE wrestler and three-time Diva champion under the ring name AJ Lee. She is an animal rescue ambassador for several organizations including the ASPCA, and works with Girls Make Games, a program encouraging young women to pursue science and tech-based careers. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Phil 'CM Punk' Brooks.

Read an Excerpt

Sitting down with a counselor for the first time was an awkward experience. I had talked to a guidance counselor in high school, but that was primarily about applying to college and why there were so many curse words in my poetry. I had never locked eyes with someone who was so interested in finding out what was bothering me.
 
In a way, I felt like I was ignoring everything my parents had taught me. We weren’t supposed to reach out to anyone for help. We weren’t supposed to admit there was a weakness inside of us. I felt like I was betraying my mother by exposing her secrets to a stranger. But I didn’t think I had any other option.
 
I kept trying to explain that this visit wasn’t really for me, it was for my mom, but the counselor didn’t seem to pay that any mind. Instead he kept asking me questions about myself. “How does that make you feel?” “What do you think that means?” “How is this affecting you?” I told him about my panic attacks and my insomnia, and I mentioned the sporadic crying but tried to explain that these were all just normal reactions to stress.
 
“They’re not normal,” he plainly put it. “I think you’re experiencing depression. I would like to refer you to a psychiatrist.”
 
I almost stormed out. How dare he assume I was broken. I was just trying to help someone else who really was falling apart, and maybe I wasn’t handling it so well. This guy had known me for an hour’s time and wanted to deem me crazy.
 
But as the session went on, I began to actually listen. “Depression is not something you choose. It is a chemical imbalance, which can sometimes be hereditary. If your mother is indeed experiencing these symptoms, there’s a chance you can be prone to them as well.” He was so calm and matter-of-fact. I was a smart kid, but somehow I hadn’t connected those dots. With certainty, I had decided my mother was experiencing some sort of mental illness. But if I would’ve taken the time, I could’ve noticed my own reflection in my mother’s weary eyes.
 
Realizing the dark force swallowing her up was sizing me up for its next meal felt simultaneously like a ton of bricks had been lifted off and laid on my shoulders. I finally had answers for questions I didn’t even know I had. But now I was left with more than just my mother’s brain to worry about.
 
“If you have a deep cut, you go to a doctor and get a stitch. If you have a cold, you go to a doctor and get medicine. So what makes having something wrong with your brain any different?”
 
The hardest thing in the world is to accept that something is wrong with you, face the uphill road to recovery ahead, and realize that none of it makes you less than human. I had been so scared to end up as sick as my mother, I had refused to notice the warning signs. I wanted to think that I had little bouts of depression caused by the heavy situations in my life, but that was not the truth. The truth was, I was bipolar. And I had been for several years. The only difference between me and my mother was that I was catching the culprit early on. I had a chance to end up differently.
 
 
My disorder is not something that can be cured, but its severity can certainly be controlled. The process takes guts. It takes a brave person to accept they need help and go get it. It takes an even braver person to not feel shame in the process. I understand psychiatry and therapy can be intimidating to a lot of people. After I found the right treatment, and took the time to attend consistent therapy over the years, I felt so silly for waiting so long to finally find peace.
 
I know a lot of secure women and men who go to therapy. They don’t see it as an admission of a flaw. They see it as a luxury, serving their minds the way a massage spoils the body. And if modern medicine isn’t your deal, then try homeopathic methods. Try meditation, anything. Just taking the time to put your mental health first, acknowledging that it deserves respect and care, and accepting help when you need it, can save your life. You are worth saving. And you are not alone.

Table of Contents

1 Drowning Barbies 1

2 Mad Love 21

3 A Place Called Home 37

4 Swallow me Whole 61

5 A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Turn into your mother 73

6 Lie to me 99

7 The Robin Hood of the Express Checkout Lane 119

8 Born Again 135

9 I Want to Believe 159

10 Hello, Sunshine 177

11 No one Wants to have sex with you 191

12 Extra Whip 215

13 Girl on Girl 245

14 Crazy Chicks do it Better 259

Acknowledgments 269

AJ's Reading Group Guide 273

Customer Reviews

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Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully Sarcastic and Inspiring!
Anonymous 7 months ago
this is a good book and i can't wait to buy it but if i do buy i qill read it over an over agian bc it looks like a good book and when i have kids i will tell them that my besst wwe superstar wrote this book and that is u bc u were amazing in the ring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you for bringing light to the stigma of mental illness! Thank you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I have read in a while
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely wonderful, when I saw she wrote this book i bought it immediately
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AJ's personality really shines through as she breaks down her struggles (and victories) over mental illness. This is a wonderful read with excellent perspective and humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story provides an interesting life fact that ANYBODY can make it through life by hard work and Determination they can succeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For anyone dealing with mental health issues of their own, or trying to help others this is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well-written and relatable. Though my own mental illness wouldn't let me cry I am proud to say I officially declare AJ Mendez Brooks my Protronus
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ive ever read
ebookreviewgal More than 1 year ago
Retired WWE champion AJ Mendez Brooks has written a book that is less about her WWE career and much more about her dysfunctional childhood/adolescence. Like her mother, AJ was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of eighteen. She relates a depressingly sad story of poverty, abuse and neglect, yet manages to do it with much snark and humor. The main focus of this book is AJ’s troubled childhood. And troubled, it was. I grew increasingly furious with her selfish, immature parents, and what they had subjected their three children to. Having had the misfortune to endure a similar childhood myself, I could certainly empathize. I liked that AJ took her troubles and, rather than turning them inward, she worked hard to achieve what she had set out to do at the tender age of twelve. I wish the author had toned down the humor and snark several notches. She spent too much time cracking jokes and rambling on about various things that were not quite pertinent to the story. The book does become repetitive after a while. Readers are hit over the head repeatedly hearing about how tough AJ was and is, and how awful her childhood was. Too much is sometimes not a great thing and this is the case with this book. There was one minor thing I’m confused about. Her bio (at the end of the book) states that she “studied film and television production at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts before they politely asked her to go away.” Yet, she talks specifically about her inability to continue paying tuition and having to drop out. Clearly not the same and clearly another attempt to inject humor where none was really necessary. Overall, this is a good book if you look at it as a success story – a young girl who worked hard, stayed strong and against all odds managed to accomplish what she set out to do. I like to think this was AJ’s intention. I could have definitely done without the slapstick comedy and I’m-a-big-tough-girl routines, however. 4 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
summer_no9 More than 1 year ago
This book was writing beautifully , amazing and compelling to read with the story of AJ Mendez with her struggles and success offer young woman a wonderful role model regarding how to be yourself, stand up for what you believe in, and embrace the crazy, with the Crazy is my Superpower is a hilaroiusly funny, self-deprecating and incredibly inspiring. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. " I received this book from the Blogging for Book program in exchange for this review "
Anthony Carone More than 1 year ago
Not much that I can say other than she never fails to entertain, impress, and inspire me. Smart, funny, well-written... A wonderful person and an amazing talent both in and out of the ring! Thank you AJ!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago