Dancing Without Music is Now Available

When major depressive disorder, seizures, and an eating disorder leads to hopelessness, lack of interest, loss of pleasure, and worse: alcohol abuse, self-mutilation, isolation, anxiety, panic attacks, physical illness, and suicidal feelings, seventeen-year-olds Mia Callan and Milo Chatham who only recently began dating find this brutal array of dangers overwhelming, and possibly even deadly.

Bullying on and off social media, spiked drinks at first parties, stalking, and sexual assault are just some of the obstacles they have to face as burgeoning young adults.

What happens when they try to get out of danger? Will it follow them anyway and wreak havoc upon their lives and those of their loved ones. Will they find the correct medications that will allow them to live normal lives full of success, satisfaction, and sobriety? Can a first true love win in the end?

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, novel in verse, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on Bookshop, TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

Book review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Farrar Straus Giroux, 2013

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This book is about a misfit trying to find her place in the world. For most of her life, Elise has been an outsider when it comes to making friends. So the summer before her sophomore year, Elise uses current trends and fashion in one last attempt to be accepted by her peers. However, it goes horribly wrong, and Elise attempts suicide but realizes that she isn’t serious about it. When Elise, an avid music lover, has trouble sleeping, she goes on long walks, and one night she happens upon a hidden dance club. Elise feels that she has finally found a place to fit in with the kids in the club in addition to the DJ playing the music.

Elise’s road to acceptance and freedom isn’t smooth, and through the bumps along the way she finally finds who she’s meant to be. Elise is smart and funny and very relatable. She is so real and suffers from such a painful combination of self-scrutiny, naivety about others, and deep convictions about what’s really important in life and who is really on her side, half of which are wrong. Most of her observations and sentiments are spot on, though some of her interactions with her family seem to be her pretending to be someone else. It does deal with tough subjects of suicide, fitting in and cyber bullying in a moving, insightful, inspiring and often comedic way.

Elise’s love of music is a huge part of her story, and there are many references to bands and songs throughout, so some teens or twenty-somethings will love it. Older readers might not be interested enough to follow Elise on her journey of self-acceptance. Others will see it as a brilliant story about a young woman trying to find where she fits in the world, discovering her talents & joy through music and finding her own sense of community which will make it a fun, inspiring read.

Enjoyed this post? Why not check out my YA novels or Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads, LinkedInBookbub , or AllAuthor.

Self-harm with Mental Illness

Discovering that your child is self-harming is profoundly shocking and upsetting for every parent; but it’s quite likely that your child is self-harming in ways you haven’t even noticed. Plus, they may or may not outgrow it as adults self-injure as well.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Self-harming is an epidemic that affects many people, especially the young: 9% of girls self-harm in the USA and 6.7% of boys reported non-suicidal self-injury. And those numbers don’t reflect the study participants who chose to keep it hidden.

Most of the coverage of self-harm in the media focuses on cutting, referencing children with self-inflicted wounds on their arms. But the reality is, this is only one form of self-harm, and many other forms get overlooked, as do adults who do non-suicidal self-injury. 

Signs and symptoms of self-injury may include:

  • scars, or a pattern of scars
  • fresh cuts, scratches, bruises, bite marks or other wounds
  • excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn
  • keeping sharp objects on hand
  • wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
  • frequent accidental injuries
  • interpersonal relationship difficulties
  • behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability
  • statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness

The following list will help you identify other ways that your child may be self harming:

Most Common: scratching, pinching, cutting, burning, hair pulling, and ripped skin

Less Common and often overlooked: Eating too much/too little, excessive exercise, and self-isolation. These often-overlooked examples are ways that young people self-harm, affect their bodies and their health over longer periods of time.

Another set of behaviors that can be neglected are aggressive tendencies such as: punching walls, getting into fights, and putting themselves in risky situation such as promiscuity.      

Why do young people self-harm? The reasons behind self-injury are complex and unique to each child, because each child/adolescent self-harms for different reasons. The most frequent reason was relief from thoughts or feelings (overwhelming emotions). Some of the other most common reasons include schoolwork struggles, loneliness, being bullied, underlying mental health difficulties, and many more everyday stressors.

This illness usually starts in the early teens (but school statistics questionnaires find it common as early as third grade) but can go way into adulthood, and most of the time includes an underlying illness such as depression or anxiety.

How do I think other people perceive me?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

While I have anxiety, OCD, and schizophrenia, I oftentimes feel that people think I’m sitting in a corner in utter anguish and hearing voices. I have stressors like everybody else so I have rough days, but those are usually days that would be stressful to anybody. Some examples are work issues, writing challenges, family matters, and such. I feel like pulling my hair out some days.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

But the voices are well-controlled with medicine, and my OCD can be uneasy at times, but it’s not noticeable. My delusions are kept in check with consistent therapy. Now for my social anxiety: I’d say that’s the most challenging for me. It’s hit or miss. Adrenaline usually helps me make the day. However, there are days when I just can’t handle the bustling crowds and choose to stay home and read a book or paint. But all in all, I think that I’m underestimated and viewed as the images above show: cowering in a corner, frantic at my computer, or hiding behind a tree.

Book review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Delacorte Press, 2015

Fourteen-year-old British teen Audrey is making slow but steady progress dealing with her anxiety disorder, which she developed after a car accident and tremendously difficult bullying. This mysterious altercation(s) with the mean girls at her school has sent her deep into an anxiety spiral so her life has changed dramatically since she has been battling depression and anxiety disorders. She is now always wearing dark sunglasses, unable to leave the house, doesn’t attend school, and has an attack if she talks to anyone besides her family. Audrey records what goes on in her house since she has a very hard time going outside and the drama of her family. Her brother Linus’ friend comes into the picture, and her recovery gains momentum.

This YA romance novel with excellent dialogue was a witty and sassy quick read. It showed us the recovery from mental illness as opposed to the descent into it that many others reveal. Her dysfunctional family provided some comic relief, even though the author kept the mental illness topic gentler and more lightweight than other books on the same subject.

It was a lighthearted, limited angst, ofttimes humorous story about teen life, anxiety, first love, and family love that discussed mental health therapy techniques, but I’d have loved to hear more of the backstory that caused her the issues the book talks about.

Book review: Under Rose-tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

What happens when one day you just wake up with mental illness, like agoraphobia, anxiety, or OCD? For thirteen-year-old Norah Dean that is her reality. There is no concrete reason why her, but now seventeen-year-old Norah no longer leaves the house without having a panic attack. She can’t even walk down the stairs without a ritual. So she has extremely limited human interaction with that being her mom, therapist, and an occasional guy from Helping Hands. She relies on social media and her house to feel a sense of security.

Then seventeen-year-old, courageous Norah meets charming neighbor Luke, and now she wants to get better and get over her illness. This novel is about Norah’s struggle with her insecurities and self-perception, but can she do anything to stop it. Norah, the heroine, works hard to not let these things define her throughout the story.

The author’s descriptions of social anxiety were spot on and had me recognizing similar feelings myself. Louise Gornall didn’t shy away from mental illness; instead, she explains the mortifying effects of mental illness that can leave one sheltered and lonesome. On the lighter side, the book had humorous dialogue, particularly between the mother and daughter. It is a brutally honest read that also leaves you entertained and appreciative that Norah was beyond her illness and for shedding light on mental illness with an accurate portrayal of her mental illness and self-acceptance.

Book review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Harperteen, 2016

Paula Stokes YA novel, Girl Against the Universe is a fresh, informative, and powerful look at PTSD, grieving, and the rollercoaster of falling in love when your world is imploding. In this book we follow the protagonist, high school junior Maguire Kelly, who believes she makes bad things happen. After all her father, brother, and uncle died in a car crash that Maguire walked away from, a tennis mishap with Jordy, an unfortunate fall by his sister, or the neighbor’s house catching fire. There was even a time when a rollercoaster went off its tracks injuring her two friends leaving her thinking she’s a jinx.

So, what does Maguire do about it? She buys good luck charms and performs rituals, compulsive behaviors, so bad things don’t happen when she’s around. What she doesn’t do is listen to the logical explanation by her therapist. Instead, Maguire shields herself and hides away in her bedroom. That is so no one else can get hurt. What changes? Maguire meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who enlists in helping her break her unlucky streak. They’re supportive of each other both in and out of therapy. It’s a very realistic, contemporary romantic tale about young love, therapy, and family relationships at a time when the character believes the whole world is against her.

Now Available

Angela Grey is a writer with paranoid schizophrenia, OCD, PTSD, and social anxiety. She has created memorable moving tales about the sometimes unexpected and challenging road to first love: Secret Whispers (a story about schizophrenia), Déjà vu (a tale about a teen with bipolar disorder), and Of Laughter & Heartbreak (a piece about obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Until my next post, why not check out my YA novels about mental illness, memoir writing, novel in verse, or even my Native American mystery series on Amazon, or follow me on Bookshop, TwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreadsLinkedInBookbub , BookSprout, or AllAuthor.

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