Book Review: If You Feel Too Much

I found Jamie Tworkowski because of Twitter. I love the internet for reasons like this. The first tweet I saw was between Dave Barnes and Jamie, so I clicked to Jamie’s profile and found out about TWLOHA and his recently released book, If You Feel Too Much, which I immediately added to my reading list.  I started talking about this book with a friend, we both ordered it, have had one discussion about it and I’m sure many more will follow.  And, another friend ordered it too after I texted her a picture of one particular page.

I read the foreword by Donald Miller, and immediately had out my highlighter. I have a deep passion for authenticity. To know and be known. Everyone can’t know me to the core and I can’t know everyone to the core, but I can be authentic and real and honest. I know some days you fake it until you make it, but coming out behind the act and being real is what connects us most.

(Click to enlarge any pics so you can read the excerpts from the book)

IYFTM (If You Feel Too Much) is a book about community. The importance of people. We need people. People need us. Family. Friends. Dating. Married. Relationships are hard. All with their own struggles. But our story matters (I wrote about stories during last year’s #Write31Days challenge), even when the story is hard, there’s purpose and Jamie continuously pushes reader to believe there is purpose in each person’s story. He is authentic in his struggle with depression, seeking help and learning how to deal when he feels too much.  He wants the reader to know, their story matters and no story is worth being cut short.

Friendships are such a gift. Friendships can also be so hard. I am deeply loyal to my friends and often disappointed and hurt when loyalty isn’t returned. I let my feelings get hurt and I have a bestie who also is easily disappointed. She and I talk through this regularly, how to be gracious to others, how to keep being a friend when someone else isn’t a friend. Jamie gives examples of good friendships, hard friendships and broken friendships but each he’s learned from, grown from and mended through tears and honest conversations.

People weave the fabric of our stories. I love coffee shops and sunsets and road trips and airports and songs and most all of them are connected to people because people have met me in those places and walked along side me through seasons of life. 

Loving people is messy. I don’t always do it well. But, there is grace and this reminded me…it is a privilege to connect with others, and friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts.

Speaking of love, dating relationships can seem to be the ones that tear us apart the most. I have an email from a friend years and years ago about dating: every time you agree to date someone it is a risk. A messy risk. I’m not married so I can’t speak to that, but I have lots of friends who are and have seen great marriages and messy marriages. No matter what the relationship, love is a choice. Every day. Jamie makes no secret of his desire for marriage and finding his wife. As someone who also desires marriage and finding her husband, I can relate to these pieces of his story. And, I have been most disappointed in dating relationships. I know that other person isn’t perfect. I know their story matters and I know even if they were my husband they would still disappoint me, and I them. But, again, I am reminded love is a choice. Jamie speaks to love several times throughout the book and these were some of my favorite lines.

And, they are familiar lines, lines spoken over weddings for centuries. 
Love is patient. 
Love is kind. 
Love bears all things. 
Love believes all things. 
Love hopes all things. 
Love endures all things.
Love never ends. 
{1 Corinthians 13:4-8}
What if we really believed those lines in our every day life?
In how we see ourselves and our story. 
In how we see others and their story. 
How do we create authentic relationships? Jamie gives great advice, for both sides of the relationship. Be honest and invite them to do the same. Create a space where people see their value and know their tomorrow matters, despite the disappointments of this world. Keep dreaming and going. 

Jamie and his organization, To Write Love On Her Arms, have had great impact and influence in suicide awareness and prevention. I’ve known people who committed suicide and friends who have dealt with this in their families. God is a big fan of today. The sun does keep rising. Jamie gives an honest look into the struggle to realize that when you’re down, and he gives hope into showing up for people. And, people showing up for him. Community. It matters.  
If you feel like this life is too much, please ask for help. 
There is no shame in asking for help. 
Click herehere or here.

Despite his struggles in the space he finds himself – delivering a message of hope and people and community Jamie often finds himself lonely. I applaud his resolve to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to navigate the difficult and the beautiful. Just today, Jamie wrote an open letter to the Atlanta Hawks in regards to an Ashley Madison parody video they released. His letter was met with mocking and controversy. One girl wrote back she’s been without her father for 29 days because of Ashley Madison and choices and consequences. His response, “If it was only for her, then i’m glad i did it“. One person at a time. Their story. My story. Your story. They matter.  Keep pressing on.

Jamie, thank you for an honest look at humanity. For being authentic. For challenging people. For fighting when it’s hard. And, reminding us to do the same. I will be talking about this book, it has reminded me how important showing up is, how my story matters and I will definitely recommend this book to others. Keep dreaming your dreams. And, if you find yourself in Houston, I’d love for you to be sitting across the table in the coffee shop telling your story.

Let’s be honest, authentic, real, show up and fight for each other.
The sun is going to come up. Our tomorrows matter.

See you tomorrow,


  1. Laurie S on September 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this post. I will read it in more detail when I'm home – I'm skimming over it on my lunch break. I had one of those "I feel lonely/alone and sad" moments over the weekend, and almost called the hotline, but I didn't. I claimed the Lord's name, and chanted "I am not alone" over and over, had a cleansing cry, and felt better. Sometimes quiet is too overwhelming for me. Thank you for these resources…

  2. angie on September 21, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Laurie – sweet sister I am praying for you right now, that your people and The Lord would feel near and the lonely would be diminished and far away. A cry is good and He hears the broken-hearted. Thank you so much for sharing! See you tomorrow!

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