Back in June, I went to a launch party where I met Georgia of Georgia's Bookish Thoughts, and it turned out to be a very serendipitous and fortuitous meeting. We got talking about YA books and book blogging, and I mentioned I was holding Mental Illness in YA Month. She asked what I had been reading for the event, and when I mentioned Pointe by Brandy Colbert, she asked me if I had read Little & Lion, and told me how important it was to her. Fortunately, she agreed to write a last-minute guest post to tell you what she told me about why Little & Lion is just so important.
On Seeing My Mental Illness in a YA Novel
Last year, I was diagnosed with something called Cyclothymia. Initially, I was scared to even admit it to myself, and then I happened to be reading Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert, which to my surprise helped me deal with the diagnosis. Unbelievably, Cyclothymia was mentioned. What, other people have actually heard of this illness? I'm not alone in my knowledge of it? This is amazing!
'Daph was going through some issues of her own. Not as intense as what Lionel has, but similar. Cyclothymia, another mood disorder. Some people call it a cousin of bi-polar. A mild form. There’s no approved medication specifically for cyclothymia.' (84%)This small mention was and still is incredibly important to me. It continues to validate my mental illness, way past the date that I read it and I'm so grateful to the author for it. I could not have read Little & Lion at a better time. Living with Cyclothymia can be an incredible struggle; I can be easily agitated, mind running 1000mph, have very low mood, and much more. I still find it hard to talk about, so sometimes it's easier to just suggest people read this book.
Good mental illness representation is very important, it helps those dealing with the illness feel valid and heard, and helps educate those who know little to nothing about the illness. Reading this book made it very apparent that the author did her research on both Bipolar itself, what Little & Lion is mostly about, and Cyclothymia - which I think many wouldn't have bothered to include. I hope that others who have read this book took it on board and decided to further read about Cyclothymia.
A quote from Little & Lion that I think is necessary to include here is:
"Lionel said as much to me once, how so many of the same people who are quick to empathize with physical disabilities don’t understand why someone with depression can’t just get up and get on with their day like the rest of the world." (63%)If you are mentally ill, you will completely understand this struggle of others not bothering to understand, and sums up why there's still so much stigma - especially towards illnesses where anti-psychotics need to be taken, such as Cyclothymia.
Thank you, Georgia, for such a fantastic guest post! I don't know about you, but I hadn't heard of Cyclothymia before talking to Georgia, and I think it's probable most who read Little & Lion hadn't heard of it before reading it. And, as it was for Georgia, representation is so incredibly important - even a side character having your mental illness can mean so very much.
Be sure to visit Georgia's blog, Georgia's Bookish Thoughts, and follow her on Twitter Instagram and Goodreads.
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