Mental Health Awareness Month:
For those who don’t know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a pretty important topic that is overlooked by many. Mental illness comes in many forms, and a lot of times can go undetected, or even ignored. It’s so important that we make ourselves aware of this and make the effort to be kind, caring, and supportive to one another.
As someone who has suffered from depression in the past, I know how important it is to have people understand that depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and is not something to be treated lightly. Depression can manifest itself as disinterest, anxiety, sadness, mania, introvertedness, extrovertedness, panic attacks, etc. But, depression is not the only form of mental illness. A lot of these symptoms can be their own form of mental illness, or accompany another type of mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, OCD, etc.
When someone suffers from any form of mental illness, it becomes hard to relate to those around us that have no idea what it feels like. That’s why finding media with mental health reps is so important! Whether it be in television, movies, or books, finding a character with a mental illness that you can relate is just as important as finding a character with the same cultural background as you. That is why I decided to make a post highlighting a few of the amazing books I’ve read in the past that have beautiful mental health reps. So, let me know if you have read any of these, and leave me a comment recommending any I have not listed that you have loved!
Mental Health Reps:
I loved the insight we got in to struggling with mental health, anxiety, and trips to therapists. As a fiction piece, the story was still very powerful and spoke volumes on the daily obstacles some people must overcome just to live their lives. Janie was strong and beautiful and she held my heart throughout the book.
Salt For Air was a powerful story about loss, depression, bullying, and learning how to love oneself. It was also an amazing tale involving mythology, a fantasy world, and mermaids (particularly a gorgeous, strong, emotionally conflicted merman). M.C. Frank found an incredible way to weave emotional struggle, and important issues, in with a heart pounding faerie tale so, even though there was plenty of dreamlike fantasy, there was also a sense of realism that readers, and especially myself, could relate to.
Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind trilogy by Elizabeth McGivern
I loved that McGivern hit Amy’s depression and anxiety head on. Amy’s struggles were real, and represented issues that always need to be addressed, understood, and sympathized with. Amy was such a beautiful, important character that grew and flourished within the story, but, at the same time, she kept true to herself, and always recognized that she had a lot to deal with. Her depression and anxiety weren’t issues that could just be fixed over night.
The story was profoundly deep and emotional. Though Zylia was literally disappearing from the world, it also felt like a metaphorical representation of how one tends to lose themselves to loneliness and depression. The story touched on sadness, bullying, and even the struggles of having a loved one with dementia. I loved how elegantly the writing portrayed these feelings and turned them in to something symbolic with a paranormal mystery. And, even better, the author did an exceptional job with writing Zylia’s deep-seated, abstract dreams, that reflected her thoughts and emotions.
There is so much symbolism in this book representing the struggles of depression and the feeling of helplessness. It’s not just a “sci-fi” novel. Eleanor brings light to tragedy and emotional imbalances that are sometimes beyond our control. We see this played out when Eleanor enters the dreams of her parents from the “in-between”. We feel this when we are shown how Agnes suffered from postpartum depression.
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