‘Cracked: Not Broken,’ a Story About a Man’s Miraculous Survival
Kevin Hines brilliantly recalls his experiences as a child, teen, and adult struggling with manic/bipolar disorder in his autobiography, “Cracked: Not Broken,” about his miracle survival after jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The book that was published in 2013 by Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group allowed me to have feelings I have never had before about anything in my life. One minute I was crying of pure sadness, one minute I was crying of joy, and one minute I was just grateful that Hines lived to tell his story.
Kevin Hines’ story that he tells in “Cracked: Not Broken” is definitely a story of hope, understanding, and a pure survival instinct..
In his nonfiction account of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, Hines digs deep into the before, during, and after. One of the most important things he expresses in his book is that mental illness can never be cured; it can only be helped. Hines shares much more about his life before and after his jump than I expected. It is important to note that Hines not only lived to tell his story, but he also is now an advocate for mental health awareness and recovery. He also digs into his hope for people’s safety and realization that they matter in Cracked: Not Broken.
The most difficult part of his account to read was his chapter on when he actually jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Hines tells the story from his viewpoint, but he also allows the reader to see what he felt right before his jump.
One of the most profound moments in that particular chapter for me was when he talked about the woman that approached him while he was contemplating ending his life. He mentions that he thought she was going to be the answer to his prayers, but when she stopped him and asked, “Vil you take my picture?”, that’s when he knew he couldn’t be alive anymore.
As I read that line, I couldn’t help but think about how self-absorbed people can be. All people need sometimes is a simple, “How are you doing? Are you okay?” If we can’t give others that much, then that’s a shame.
That particular passage in his book made me stop and think about my life and if I have ever been too self-absorbed to stop and take a look at the other people in this world who need more help from me, whether or not I know them personally.
I am at a conflict, though. How would that lady even know that Hines was struggling as much as he was? Kevin didn’t say anything to her. He didn’t cry out for help right before he jumped. And that’s why mental illness is the devil. It eats away at you so much but it doesn’t allow you to express the feelings you are currently feeling. It takes over your body, your mind, your emotional capacity…everything.
The thing that I appreciated about the book, too, is that Hines touches on his life after his jump and after he physically recovered. Hines mentioned that a few months after his recovery, he began to have the same feelings when he jumped off the bridge. This time, he recognized the signs and got the help he needed. He mentioned that his mental relapse was as difficult as the day he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, but he had a moment of clarity that he needed to do something. He checked into a clinic, and he started therapy again. Since then, Hines has been living his life to the fullest, and whenever he has those feelings, he uses his coping strategies to rationalize his problem.
Hines illustrates that feeling to us in his chapter about jumping off the bridge. It’s not him…really, it’s not. It’s his mental illness taking over. Kevin Hines, through his book and the movie, spreads awareness that mental illness is here.
Mental illness consumes many people in the world right now, and it doesn’t just vanish with medication and therapy. Other people can help too, whether you know someone personally or not. We all need to make a change and be more open to acknowledging that something can be done about mental illness instead of looking at it in fear, disgust, and untreatable. Together, we can fight the stigmas, and we can all make a difference by one simple act of kindness.
To buy this book, go to Amazon.com. The book can be purchased for $29.59 for a used version, and $32.88 for a new version.