Yesterday while I was reading some others blog posts for the day I came upon this post from ‘My Book World’ called Mental Health Book Tag. My own mental health has been iffy lately. I’ve been angry and sad and incredibly anxious. My mind has been so on edge I’ve cried at work worrying about my dad and I’ve made little excuses about things that aren’t going to happen to be worrying to my boyfriend and I’ve felt like a mess. Life these days has felt so fragile and yet so precious and I’m keeping in my mind that my dad told me to think positive. So I will.
So today, I would like to share with you all my answers on this Mental Health Book Tag. I want to share some awesome books that don’t shy away from something that touches everyone’s lives at some point and in some way in one shape or form or another.
What’s a book or series that features a strong support system?
In ‘Spinning Silver’ Miryem’s parents are a strong support system not only for her, but for Wanda who comes to work for them. When Miryem is first taken to live with the Staryk king Wanda doesn’t know what to do, thinking she wouldn’t have a job anymore. However, Miryem’s parents step up and reassure her continuing having her help and even adding an extra job for her brother to keep them safe and afloat. They are always making sure Wanda is fed and that she has a safe place to be while making her feel like she’s doing something that gives her purpose. They are an amazing support system.
What’s a book, series, or genre that you turn to when you need to take care of yourself? What’s something that you do—other than reading—to take care of your mental health?
Magical realism books like ‘The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender’ make me feel so curious and fascinated. Magical realism strikes me. Reading these kind of books when my mental health isn’t doing well helps me to distract my mind. However, if I’m having a crisis I talk to my boyfriend or my friends. My boyfriend always listens and is kind and understanding to me about everything I’m going through. When I see him and stuff is still going through my mind he’ll just hold me and tell me everything will be ok. It means the world to me.
What’s a book that features a character that is relatable to your mental health or illness?
I have never felt more understood by a book before I read this one. Kiko’s relationship with her mom is almost the exact relationship I had with my grandmother. ‘Starfish’ was such a raw read for me. Narcissistic abuse is no joke.
What’s a book that depicts a bad representation of a mental difference or mental illness?
I read this book years ago before I really understood representation and really mental illness at all. However, looking back this isn’t a good representation of mental illness. Also, it glorifies mental illness. Which is why the book and tv show has been criticized many times by many people to shed light on its misrepresentation.
What’s a book that depicts a good representation of a mental difference or mental illness?
‘Speak ’ is a good representation of a girl dealing with the trauma of sexual assault. She is isolated by her peers to be on her own causing her to withdraw into her own mind. She has no support and her grades slip and the only place she find solace is her art class. It feels real to how it feels when you went through something difficult and are in a place where no one is supporting you. There feels like there is nowhere to go.
What’s your favorite book that features mental difference or mental illness?
I know I’m using this book a lot in this tag, but it was just so beautifully written and so relatable to my own experiences and feelings. It’s not just my favorite mental health work, but it’s also one of my all time favorite books in general.
What’s your least favorite book that features mental difference or mental illness?
So this is another book I read that at the time I really enjoyed and didn’t really understand that it was a bad representation of mental illness at the time. Love saving these two characters from their mental health problems is something that even isn’t safe to imply. Looking for someone outside of yourself to save you and cure you from your problems isn’t really going to do anything but put a bandaid on your problems. Sure, love will happen if your mentally struggling or not, but it isn’t going to cure it. Books like this might give readers the wrong impression.
What’s a book that takes you to your happy place? When you are dealing with mental health struggles, what is your happy place?
I have read and reread ‘The Giver’ so many times. I’ve been attached to this book since elementary school and it has been my favorite for years. It makes me think of how important emotion and color is to make our lives beautiful. To inspire our compassion for ourselves and for others. It puts me in a mood of appreciation for life.
Honestly, my happy place and what I need a lot when I’ve been struggling during the week is my time with my boyfriend. Being held by him. Being held by someone that you know loves you and who knows who you are and you hat your going through feels like a weight being lifted. He helps me to feel at peace with myself and to know that everything will be ok. Also his constant jokes always put a smile on my face.
What’s your favorite quote from a book that features mental difference or mental illness? What’s something you want other people to know about mental difference or mental illness?
‘But some people are just starfish–they need everyone to fill the roles that they assign. They need the world to sit around them, pointing at them and validating their feelings. But you can’t spend your life trying to make a starfish happy, because no matter what you do, it will never be enough. They will always find a way to make themselves the center of attention, because it’s the only way they know how to live.’ -Akemi Dawn Bowman (Starfish)
Nothing better describes the selfishness of living with someone who expects you to live and be exactly the way they want you to all the time. If you don’t fit into their box you face their wrath. So many traumas from this abuse caused me to want to people please and to have this deep feeling that I’m going to mess up and hurt someone I love badly. However, I am not broken. There isn’t anything wrong with me and it’ll all be ok. So, that’s what I want everyone to know. Wherever you are and however dark a place you find yourself you will get to a better place and it will all be ok.
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