Mental illness is a topic that I've only recently started getting very interested in. Sadly, the books I've encountered that deal with OCD, depression, anorexia, bipolar disorder, and many more, are just not realistic.
Raising Awareness: Why I think it's important
In everyday life there is no way you'll just stumble upon the different kinds of mental illness, unless you meet somebody who actually has it.
If it weren't for the internet, I had no idea social anxiety was a thing. And there aren't even only a few people that live with it. Same goes for many other mental illnesses - you just don't run into people randomly that care to inform you about it. I understand that no one wants to talk about a personal matter like that in real life. This is why I think books on those topics are insanely important.
But here's the twist. I don't think I can endure any more poorly researched novels, else my head will probably explode. I recently tried FINDING AUDREY by Sophie Kinella, I tried SOLITAIRE by Alice Oseman. Two books that are very popular and praised for dealing with sensitive topics. I don't want to make any guesses on whether those books are inspired by experiences of the authors or not - but I can tell you, both of them are pretty poor excuses for diverse books.
What really bugs me here: Being Allergic to Research
The two books I mentioned play into all the clichés you have in mind when thinking about social anxiety and depression.
The characters are cliché, the plot development unrealistic, and romanticized. It just doesn't feel like you're reading a novel about a sick person. I mean that's what mental illnesses are, ILLNESSES. It's not fun, it's not quirky, it's an actual illness that limits peoples' lives. I want to learn about it, because I think it's important to raise awareness that these things do exists. But books like these aren't helping us. They are making things WORSE.
What good does a book that deals with a controversial topic, but just fuels stereotypes?
We simply don't need it. I want books that show the ugly sides of mental illness. I want books that even just show both sides, it just doesn't have to be all sad and depressing. I'm just tired of reading about characters who are completely over the top, or miraculously cured when a cute love interest enters their lives.
So please, non-neurotypical authors, help us out. I'm craving realistic portrayal
Do you think we need more books based on experience with mental illness?
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