There isn’t just one form of mental illness, just like there isn’t just one way of thinking of your own self let along your own mental illness. We’re extremely grateful that author Janet B. Taylor, Into the Dim and Sparks of Light, has shown us yet another side in support of UNDER ROSE TAINTED SKIES.
Unlike many authors who have MFAs in literature or creative writing, my degree is in Biology, with a specialty in Radiology. Before becoming an author, I worked for many years in a Level II Trauma Center, and witnessed uncountable, horrific injuries. People would be wheeled into our Emergency Room, bleeding, in incredible pain, often with bones so shattered you thought they’d never walk again.
But it’s a funny thing about the human body. Bones, when put back together by a skilled surgeon acts to protect the injured area, and forms a protective blood clot and callus around the fracture. New and very sturdy “threads” of bone cells begin to grow on both sides of the fracture line. And with rest and the right kind of care, the once-broken part of the bone becomes even stronger than it was before.
While reading Louise Gornall’s spunky debut novel, “Under Rose-Tainted Skies,” (which is about a young girl dealing with mental illness), I found myself smiling, nodding, thinking, “Oh hell yes. This is exactly what it feels like. Nailed. It.”
And sister-girl, I know from whence I speak.
See, my husband and I were only twenty one when our first child was born. We were stupid kids with NO idea what we were doing, though at the time we were ridiculously, deliriously happy. Looking back on it now, though, I think it was my immaturity that left me so dreadfully and woefully unprepared for the pressures of being a for-real “grown up”.
And so…when I was in my late twenties…I fell. Dude, I broke like Old Mr. Dumpty himself.
I know ‘broken’ isn’t a term one’s likely to find in the American Journal of Psychiatry. But when you can barely find the energy to drag yourself from the bed to the couch. When taking a shower is such a herculean effort it’s beyond the realm of imagination. When your kids leave for school and you fake it by smiling and hugging them and saying mommy will feel better soon, while inside you’re just waiting for them to go already, so you can sleep. When there are days you wonder if it wouldn’t be a lot easier just to let go of the whole damn thing…You, my friend, are broken.
But just like Norah, the main character in “Under Rose-Tainted Skies,” that broken part of me found a way to grow a callus. With the right kind of help and medication, with an incredible husband who never gave up on me, and with the love of my children and family, those “healing” threads began to form around the shattered part of my soul.
I don’t regret that time in my life, no matter how painful it was. It made me who I am today. Now, I am stronger than I ever thought I could be, not despite being broken…but because of it.
If you feel broken, shattered, fractured….there is help out there. TALK to someone! Don’t hold it all inside. ASK FOR HELP.
Because hey…you wouldn’t try to fix your own broken bone, would you?
I’ve read lots of phenomenal YA books dealing with mental illness this year. My favorite and the one I most recommend is a debut by Marisa Reichardt called “UNDERWATER.”