Top 5 Wednesday. Mental health..

Every Wednesday, people from all over the bookish world gather ’round to share their top 5 lists concerning whatever theme that week. All under the watchful eye of the Mother of all Top5’s, Lainey.
This week, it’s all about mental health and illness. When I saw this topic, I figured that I would not participate in this Top 5. The first that came to mind, were young adult novels that are not really my cup of tea. But then I started thinking. There are other books out there, that I do read, which feature topics of mental health. While the books may not center around the topics of mental health, they do feature the issue in some way or another. So behold, five books that have an element of mental health and/or illness.

5. Stephenie Meyer, New Moon (depression)
The Twilight Saga was and never will be my favourite series, but apart from the last one – which was absolutely rubbish – I enjoyed the first three books. When Edward leaves in New Moon, Bella gets all depressed and does nothing. Meyer put this to the page by leaving four pages blank, only stating which month it is.
It might not be the most complete picture you can get of depression, but as an overall depiction of emptiness, it does the job.

4. Mark Lawrence, Prince Of Thorns (Personality disorder)
Jorg, oh Jorg.. He is one sandwich short of a picknick, isn’t he? If you look up “anti-hero” in the dictionary, his picture is next to it, but it’s alright, seeing what he’s been through. I mean, compared to him, Revenge’s Emily Thorne is fussing over a broken nail and shoes that don’t match her dress..
Jorg has issues.. Big issues. While I have yet to read books two and three, I suspect he’s a little psychopath or at least has a severe personality disorder because of the stuff he’s been through. Hence the entry here.

3. Kim Harrison, The Hollows series (Addiction)
Kim Harrison’s The Hollows is a series featuring different kinds of beings, vampires being one of them. Throughout the series, the vampires provide a good illustration of addiction. First and foremost, because of their bloodlust, of which Ivy – one of the main characters – shows great restraint, but also relapse and the self-loathing after succumbing to their addiction.
This series has two kinds of vampires, living ones who still have their soul and can still walk in the sun, and the undead. Later on, we see how the latter ones can possess the – weaker – living vampires in order to walk the surface by day. This leads in time to an addiction to sunlight and in return, the host craves the power of a Master. Really well done, how this is all portrayed.

2. Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay (PTSD)
When I saw this topic, I immediately thought of Mockingjay in which Katniss suffers from severe PTSD. Back when, I read reviews where people disliked Katniss’s apathy towards everything and everyone, her trying to stay secluded and losing the spark she had. Well yes, it’s a major change for the main character’s personality, but this is what a severe psychological trauma does. It’s not like someone ate the last cookie..

1. Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook (bipolar disorder)
The best, however, is Silver Linings Playbook. Granted, I’m cheating a little cause I’ve only seen the movie and the book is a bit different and less precise when it comes to diagnosis, but let’s go with it.
Apart from the fact that it is a really good movie, this came out while I was in the midst of my studies in Psychology, so the characteristics of every single disorder out there was crammed in my head. While it could have gone south easily, I really liked how they portrayed the bipolar disorder and Tiffany’s mania. Silver Linings really gave it a silver lining by letting the characters shine and achieve things even though they are ill. It goes to show that while mental illness is no topic to disregard as a mere ‘whim’ or something like that, it’s also not something alienating and does not define a person. So I may have cheated with this one, but it’s for all the right reasons..


Click here for a complete list of all the participants in T5W.

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