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Books have an uncanny way of becoming more than just a story. The right story, at the right time, you don’t just read it, you live it. It becomes a part of you, its words echo inside you at pivotal moments, it changes how you view the world, or view yourself. ¬†Words are important, if you hear them enough you start to repeat them. As a writer, what we say in them matters.

When I was in the middle of writing Bestial I suffered the worst events of my life. Many of us find it hard to open up about our mental health, we have a biologically driven desire to hide weakness, but what that does is perpetuate a culture of shame, repression, and ultimately desperation. Let me be open, and honest: I was depressed, I was suicidal.

I honestly believe that writing saved my life.

Through Yvaine I was able to express my darkest thoughts. She personified all my worst depressive traits: the self-loathing, the isolation (mostly of her/my own making), the despair, loneliness, hopelessness, and the utterly selfish and wrong notion that to remove ourselves from this mortal coil would be the best solution. I let her feel for me while I was in a state of unfeeling shock, and I let her take me on her journey of self-discovery while I was still unable to trust myself.  She showed me her strength, and I learned through her how to make my own.

My hope is that by writing a flawed, depressed character who suffers through heartbreak and loss that if anyone who reads it happens to relate to Yvaine and her struggle, my struggle, that they will also learn their own strength by following her journey.

Don’t be ashamed if you suffer, it’s what makes you stronger. Talk about it, be open and honest, because to hide it is to say that it’s not appropriate for discussion, that it’s wrong somehow to tell other people if you hurt because mental pain is harder to see than physical pain, and therefore less. It is not less. You are not less for going through it.

I’m still recovering from everything I went through, I may never fully recover, but when I wrote the ending of Yvaine’s story I also wrote the ending of my own story, and maybe that of others:

I am not so weak as that, reminded the beast inside the girl, who would not let her forget herself again.

 

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