• The Upside of Being Down

  • How Mental Health Struggles Led to My Greatest Successes in Work and Life
  • By: Jen Gotch
  • Narrated by: Jen Gotch
  • Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (262 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best seller

An entertaining, humorous, and inspirational memoir by the founder and chief creative officer of the multimillion-dollar lifestyle brand ban.do, who "has become a hero among women (and likely some men too) who struggle with mental health" (Forbes).

After graduating from college, Jen Gotch was living with her parents, heartbroken and lost, when she became convinced that her skin had turned green. Hallucinating that she looked like Shrek was terrifying, but it led to her first diagnosis and the start of a journey towards self-awareness, acceptance, success, and ultimately, joy.

With humor and candor, Gotch shares the empowering story of her unlikely path to becoming the creator and CCO of a multimillion-dollar brand. From her childhood in Florida where her early struggles with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety, and ADD were misdiagnosed, to her winding career path as a waitress, photographer, food stylist, and finally, accidental entrepreneur, she illuminates how embracing her flaws and understanding the influence of mental illness on her creativity actually led to her greatest successes in business and life.

Hilarious, hyper-relatable, and filled with fascinating insights and hard-won wisdom on everything from why it’s okay to cry at work to the myth of busyness and perfection to the emotional rating system she uses every day, Gotch’s inspirational memoir dares listeners to live each day with hope, optimism, kindness, and humor.

©2020 Jen Gotch (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

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What listeners say about The Upside of Being Down

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My bipolar sister

I have a bipolar sister and it helps understanding how their brain works. It is hard for them with their mental issues but it is also hard for the people around them. We are trying our best and it helps to see the other side. I recommended the book to her...I hope she reads it too. Thank you.

3 people found this helpful

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Not for me

I had a really hard time finishing this book. I thought it would give me a better outlook on mental health but I just couldn’t connect with her writing. I’ve read way better books on the topic.

2 people found this helpful

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Highly recommend

I finished this in two days. Jen is honest, insightful, funny and deeply empathetic. I really appreciated her vulnerability with her mental health journey. It helped me better understand it for those I know and love. I found this to be deeply edifying, and I finished the book eager to pay closer attention to my emotions (hello, Emotional Rating System!) and be a shining bright star with my own journey, as Jen is with hers. Whether or not managing your mental health is top of mind, there is so much to glean from this book. Plus it's fun to listen to. Thank you for writing it, Jen!

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent book!

I loved this book, I’ve followed Jen Gotch for years and I have followed her struggles and successes. She is an inspiration for entrepreneurs and those with mental health issues, shedding light on an often difficult topic. Jen shows how managing everything is possible. I have always appreciated her candidness and this book brings out a much more in-depth look at her life’s story.

2 people found this helpful

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I’m torn...

I don’t know if I like it or not. I liked in general. I identified a lot with her mental illness. Since I have almost the same: bipolar, bordeline, anxiety and panic attacks, and I’m almost certain i have ADHD as well but I can’t confirm because I don’t have money to pay a doctor.
Her writing is not linear, but I think it’s like her mind works, since mine is similar. But sometimes I got lost. And she mainly talked about Ban.do and not her mental health. Anyway, I think Ban.do is her life right now, that’s why she basically talked about it all the time.
She got lucky. She got money to support her enough so she could go after the reason of her illness earlier than me. I did have support because I didn’t have the ability of maintain a job for long periods of time. So I changed so many doctors. And I was mainly used university students since they were cheaper, anyway I couldn’t pay sometimes even then. I was only diagnosed with bipolar when I was 32. I finally was able to enter in a public job at 36. Stable job. I had so many difficulties. I cried a lot. I was bullied. I had horrible bosses. All my life. Eventually I got really sick. Physically as well. I had a degenerative autoimmune disease and they took years to diagnose me and I had consequences of that. I feel pain all the time. All the time. Besides the mental illness that I can’t even find a doctor now because of the quarantine. And even before, I couldn’t pay one so I have to find one that accepts my health insurance. They are not the best. I’m retired now at 42. Don’t have a family of my own. I don’t have friends. I’m not emotionally independent of my mom. Or even financially since what I gain I spend a lot. Even sleeping. =(
It’s easier to have some kind of success when you have money. But it’s much more difficult when you can’t be treated.
Well, I liked the book but it kinda depressed me because I saw that I basically didn’t have a chance in hell. And I tried so hard... Oh well... that’s life. I’m glad some people are blessed enough that they can construe a life and be treated well enough that they can have success at least in some part of their lives.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointed

I was really disappointed by this book. I really like Jen’s company ban.do and so I thought it was going to be an inspiring story about a creative person who built a business from nothing into the thriving business it is today. But it turns out she’s been really privileged and she actually sold the company only a few years in. I actually ended up learning about what I don’t want to be like as a leader from reading her take (the fact that the says to schedule in mandatory time for fun in her week and recommends you do the same was really sad and basic to me).

I also don’t feel like this book adds anything to the mental health canon. she speaks at a very high level and nothing she contributes is groundbreaking- go to therapy, find the right meds, don’t be afraid to cry. I thought it was going to go much deeper than that but her story ended up not being very interesting or compelling. I didn’t hear a unique perspective at all because it seemed like she was trying to maintain her image by not getting into the deep side of what it feels like to have anxiety and run a company, etc. I think there are a lot of barriers outside of the stigma which is what she mainly focuses on. For example she talks about how expensive it was for her to find the right psychiatrist but at the same time it seemed like she was still being financially supported by her parents when she was having to pay for all those appointments. in that way, her approach and story wasn’t really relatable to me

I gave it 2 stars because I feel it is important that stories about mental health have a space on the shelf and in the world. But I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone

1 person found this helpful

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Don’t waste your time

I couldn’t get past the first 11 minutes. She spent way too much time on meaningless topics like why her skin was green. And she gave herself an excuse and qualified herself why she had anxiety (blamed it on being on the pill). When talks about partying, she says she “only kissed boys”. She also mentions her Dad will listen time this book. To me, this means she is not being 100% transparent. I would highly recommend Mel Robbins “Take control of your life” way over this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyed this more than I thought I would

I’ve listened to a lot of these types of books. I gotta say, this one hit differently! I found myself going back if I was mildly distracted with cleaning. I also laughed, nodded and talked to Jen as if she were in my living room. Definitely would recommend and would revisit this one.

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Must read - better understanding of mental health

Randomly selected this book know nothing about it. From the first chapter to the last, I was and am grateful I chose this book. Each chapter was like reading about my sister. This book isn't only helpful to those with mental health but also helpful and enlightening to those for who grew up struggling to understand why their sibling had so many issues and how we can better help them. My sister was diagnosed early but still never received the best help. I now know how to be more understanding each day with her. Thanks Jen Gotch.

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lacking self-awareness

holy smokes... this is some entitled white people stuff. I can't imagine the lack of self-awareness required in the author and publisher where someone writes this and says "yeah, tons of people can relate to this. We should publish it."