I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.
So why do I seemingly so often write about mental health? About characters struggling with mental health?
Because I'm human.
In fact, when IN SIGHT OF STARS, my first book that really centered around one boy's struggle with his mental health/state, got classified (by a publishing INDUSTRY needing to label how to shelve things in a bookstore) as a book about mental illness, it surprised me a little.
I hadn't written a story about a kid with mental illness (nor had I NOT written that story. . . ). I simply wrote a story about a boy -- this boy, Klee -- who had one-too-many hard things pile on him and felt like he couldn't cope anymore.
Who fell apart.
Who broke temporarily.
All things I had experienced or witnessed as part of my journey as a human.
In my newest book, JACK KEROUAC IS DEAD TO ME, my main character's mother, most visibly, struggles with her own mental health. Her diagnosis would likely skew toward more definitive mental illness, but she has not yet been fully diagnosed.
In that story, I try to show how hard it can be to get a grasp on some struggles, and how it might affect the child of a parent struggling. But it is without judgment.
My goal is always to give my characters room to suffer, and even to break, and the hope -- and room -- to heal again.
The world is harder than ever (ya think!?!)
Even without a country divided and a pandemic, I believe we all have, or will, face mental health challenges in our lives at one point or another, and the more we talk about our struggles, the more connected we are, and the more able we will be to reach out for help and heal.
That's why my friend, and world's best virtual co-hugger, Cheryl Rainfield, is asking us all to band together tomorrow, Thursday April 23rd, to let others know there is #NoShameInCoping, that it's okay to #ShieldYourMentalHealth, and to #ReachOutToConnect.
|Learn more about Cheryl HERE.|
You can find more information here: http://cherylrainfield.com/blog/index.php/2020/04/21/the-pandemic-is-traumatizing-join-me-thursday-april-23-in-letting-others-know-there-is-noshameincoping-and-that-its-okay-to-shieldyourmentalhealth-and-to-reachouttoconnect/
So, let's all #ReachOutToConnect !!!
There is no shame in needing help. There is no stigma in falling apart. There is #NoShameInCoping
And you have every right to #ShieldYourMentalHealth
Please know there are good and skilled people out there who care and want to help. They can and they will.
I know. I've met them.