I know for a fact that a lot of people are struggling with mental illnesses. Many people look “normal,” but still struggle with depression, anxiety, as well as more serious things like suicide attempts, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.
I’m not talking about the blues, or the “depression” everyone gets from time to time when life sucks for a little while, when someone dies, when finances go bad. I’m talking about depression in the sense that a person needs to take medication in order to get through the day. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just like people who take medication for high blood pressure or diabetes. And I know plenty of people who take medication for a mental illness; you’d just never know they did because they seem “normal.”
It occurred to me today that you seldom read about mental illness in novels. I’d like to see a main character who’s on anti-anxiety medication, or who is in recovery from drugs or alcohol. Off the top of my head, I can think of two books with main characters like that. Maybe I need to be the one to write it. Before Jennifer Weiner, most authors didn’t talk about an overweight main character, but let’s face it; we all know women (or are women) like her main characters.
What made me think of this was an article by Stacy Pershall of Loud In The House of Myself. She is open about her struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder, which even in the mental health industry has a great deal of stigma attached to it. I’m attaching a link to her original blog post, which compares the similarities of Borderline Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia.
Can any of my readers think of novels with main characters struggling with mental illness? Not memoirs, but fiction?