Lisa Beecher Stewart Smith Photography

Lisa Beecher will visit South Portland Public Library on March 15 to discuss her book, “Living With Mr. Fahrenheit” Beecher is a former police chief and detective. Beecher wrote the memoir about her family’s struggle with mental illness..

“It’s a very personal story about a good man,” Beecher said. “A Portland police officer who was greatly affected by the traumatic scenes he encountered as a first responder which he was for 17 years. He developed PTSD which grew into more severe issues. And this book details my family’s experiences through a 20-plus year period of how my husband’s mental illness affected us as a family. It’s a raw and revealing story about what living with a mentally ill family member is really like, with no sugar coating.”

It took Beecher four years to write the memoir. “I actually started years earlier, but just couldn’t do it,” Beecher said. “We were still in the middle of it and it was just too soon to be able to process it all. So I put it aside and at one point I was so sure I would never even write it, that I shredded everything I’d written. And then it was Bruce Robert Coffin who took me to lunch one day, and over chips and salsa at a local restaurant he convinced me that my story had worth and that it would help others.

“So that was the impetus I needed, and I sat down and for the next four years wrote this book. I found that it was in a way quite cathartic because it put everything down in one place that we’d been through. And I found that it would be helpful to me and my husband and our two kids to be able to see all we’ve come through and that somehow, somehow we were still together as a family.”

The book is out and available for purchase. The Author Talk session on March 15 is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

“’Living With Mr. Fahrenheit’ is like strapping into an emotional rollercoaster,” local author Bruce Coffin wrote of the book. “Beecher recounts the helplessness, heartache, and terror of living with mental illness, and she does it with humor, grace, and humility. An inspirational story of one family’s struggle to survive and thrive despite overwhelming odds. Incredible! One of the best debuts I’ve read.”

“It’s for first responders but it’s also for everyone who is touched by mental illness and I think that’s just about everyone, if not themselves then a family member or a friend or acquaintance. I think we need to be able to talk more about it and this book will help that,” Beecher said.

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