One of the big issues in the new novel I’m writing is mental illness in teens. For some reason I’m especially heartbroken by the vulnerability of these sick kids in our society today and the missed opportunities to help them. All the warnings that go dismissed, ignored, and misunderstood are leading to higher and higher rates of suicide among our youth—and school violence.
More teens harm themselves than harm others. That’s depression. It is when the pain turns inward. Depression says:
· Everything seems hopeless. It just goes on and on.
· Everything is falling apart.
· I am not enough.
· Who I am on the inside doesn’t match the outside.
· I feel empty and alone.
· No one can see me.
Straight A’s is about a girl who feels that everything is falling apart, and there is no way out. Stress and perfectionism push her into a corner. Her cries for help are seen by friends and recognized, but for many in our world today, this isn’t true.
When I talk about my book, it makes people squeamish. SUICIDE! Ugh. What a nasty topic. Can’t you write about something nice like romance? Why would you write about something horrible like that?
Because it’s important.
Because it’s real.
Because it hurts a lot of people. Because it’s killing them. Literally.
Talking really does help. Writing in journals helps. Sharing with friends, making art, talking to a counselor, and lots of things like that helps. It’s important that feelings of hopelessness and despair do not stay bottled on the inside. Terrible things grow in that darkness.
Healing happens in the light.