Tag Archives: Mental Illness

His Bright Light by Danielle Steel

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Delta; Reprint edition
Price: $10.69
Purchase: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

“This is the story of an extraordinary boy with a brilliant mind, a heart of gold, and a tortured soul. It is the story of an illness, a fight to live, and a race against death.

I want to share the story, and the pain, the courage, the love, and what I learned in living through it. I want Nick’s life to be not only a tender memory for us, but a gift to others. . . . I would like to offer people hope and the realities we lived with. I want to make a difference. My hope is that someone will be able to use what we learned, and save a life with it.”—Danielle Steel

From the day he was born, Nick Traina was his mother’s joy. By nineteen, he was dead. This is Danielle Steel’s powerful, personal story of the son she lost and the lessons she learned during his courageous battle against darkness. Sharing tender, painful memories and Nick’s remarkable journals, Steel brings us a haunting duet between a singular young man and the mother who loved him—and a harrowing portrait of a masked killer called manic depression, which afflicts between two and three million Americans.

At once a loving legacy and an unsparing depiction of a devastating illness, Danielle Steel’s tribute to her lost son is a gift of life, hope, healing, and understanding to us all.

***Vlog Review: https://youtu.be/YC8qgK_JpQQ***

Review

His Bright Light was written as a tribute to Danielle Steel’s son, Nick Traina who was born with bi-polar disorder and committed suicide at the age of nineteen.

This is a well written, detailed account chronicling his life and everything he/she went through trying to get help within the medical community. The failures and the successes, the ups and downs, the sadness and the joy.

It was heart wrenching and difficult for me to read. I had to put it book down a couple of times, because I felt bad for Nick and all he suffered, as well as Danielle Steel and her family.

Mental illness is real and it not only effects the person who is suffering from it, but it also impacts everyone else around them.

At that time, there wasn’t as much information regarding treating bi-polar disorder, (otherwise known as manic depression) as there is now. Although I’m grateful to see there have been strides in the medical field, there is still more to be uncovered and revealed regarding brain disorders.

I get into more detail about my thoughts in my vlog review.

If you want to learn more about what bi-polar looks like, I highly recommend His Bright Light. 

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with over 650 million copies of her novels sold. Her many international bestsellers include Dangerous Games, The Mistress, The Award, Rushing Waters, Magic, The Apartment, Property of a Noblewoman, and other highly acclaimed novels. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; Pure Joy, about the dogs she and her family have loved; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood.
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Life After Death by Damien Echols

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Plume
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0142180289
ISBN-13: 978-0142180280
Price: $17.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description:

The New York Times bestselling memoir by Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, who was falsely convicted of three murders and spent nearly eighteen years on Death Row—Life After Death is destined to be a classic of explosive, riveting prison literature.

Review:

I read an interview with John Grisham and the interviewer asked him what he was reading. He responded, a memoir called Life After Death by Damien Echols. He mentioned it was one of the best books he’s read in a long time. So I decided to get it.

When I began reading this book, I was riveted.

Damien Echols is an extraordinary writer. I was blown away by the way he writes. He is a true artist.

However, this book is no walk in the park. Nor is this the type of book I would normally gravitate to. Life is hard enough than to read about injustice to such severity, it made my blood boil.

I honestly do not know how Damien Echols survived it, much less, remained the positive person he is today with all the hell he endured. What resilience.

He was falsely accused and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. He and two others were accused of murdering three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. They did not do it. Someone else did and they still haven’t found out who.

Imagine being a teenager and spending 18  years on death row for a crime you didn’t commit? Being beaten by guards and surrounded by mentally ill inmates. Prison is full of the mentally ill who are not getting the help they need. They are put in prison to rot, meanwhile they are not well.

His memoir was difficult to read. I found myself disgusted, angry, sad, disillusioned and broken for him and all those who are on death row or in solitary confinement who are innocent.

I can’t find the words to describe how provoking this book is. This book describes the absolute brokenness of our prison system. It also sheds light on the corruption that exists in our court system.

If Damien Echols was standing in front of me today, I would apologize to him on behalf of all the Christians in his life that turned him away from Christ.

He depicts with such accuracy the judgmental and critical nature of Christians. While reading his experiences outside and inside of prison, I was embarrassed and ashamed. Instead of Christians being a light in his life, they were the complete opposite.

There is no other word to describe it other than disgusting.

I would tell Mr. Nichols, those were not followers of Christ. Those were lost, broken people, who were ignorant, confused and didn’t know an ounce about loving others.

As a result of this, he is not a Christian today. He became a buddhist in prison. He was treated better by Buddhists than Christians. After what he went through, I can’t quite blame him.

There was one part where he describes that when there was an execution scheduled, Christians would appear, but not on any other time. It was as if they enjoyed the excitement of someone being executed.

I can’t write it the way he describes it in his book. He is truly brilliant and a gifted writer. His writing is palatable for you see and feel everything.

I am glad he is free now and with his wife Lorri who helped him the most. There were many others, but she was the persistent one, who never gave up.

He also made mention that the prison system is designed for those to be forgotten by society, including family and friends. He said what gave him some hope and kept him going was receiving encouraging letters from strangers.

Overall, I would have to say this was the best book I read in 2013. Yes, it was the hardest to read, but it was most certainly the best. I highly recommend it, but it’s definitely not for the faint at heart.

Damien Echols was born in 1974 and grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. At age eighteen he was wrongfully convicted of murder, along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley, Jr. Echols received a death sentence and spent almost eighteen years on Death Row, until he, Baldwin, and Miss Kelley were released in 2011. The West Memphis Three have been the subject of Paradise Lost, a three-part documentary series produced by HBO, and West of Memphis, a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Echols is the author of a self-published memoir, Almost Home. He and his wife, Lorri Davis, live in Massachusetts.

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The Truth About Sinéad O’Connor

There is a feud in cyberspace between Sinéad O’Connor and Miley Cyrus. Miley revealed that her Wrecking Ball video (which I have not seen, nor care to), was inspired by Sinead’s iconic video of Nothing Compares 2 U.

This comment prompted a response from Sinéad by way of an open letter to Miley, which I found to be beautiful and caring of her to write in the first place.

I agree wholeheartedly with what Sinéad wrote, minus the curse words, and voiced similar thoughts in a recent post.

Unfortunately, Miley’s response to Sinéad’s letter was by posting derogatory tweets to demean and discredit her. Miley went further as to include Amanda Byrnes’ in this exchange, which honestly, I thought was a low blow.

Sinéad and I are the same age. We grew up in the same era. I love her voice. I identify with her, in the past and now. She has been severely misunderstood. I’ve always admire her courage. She is blunt, forthright and honest, which I can relate to.

I believe the media did awful things to her. When Sinéad wrote to Miley it was out of compassion and life experience. Miley’s response was distasteful. She lacked respect, and even poked fun at her struggle with mental illness.

Miley displayed a lack of sensitivity and maturity, not only by attacking Sinéad, but the entire community of victims who have been abused, suffering from depression and any other form of mental illness.

No one has walked a mile in Sinéad O’Connor’s shoes to know what it’s been like for her. They have tried to make her out as some crazy person, when she’s not. She has the guts to tell it like it is and some powerful people didn’t like it.

These same people manipulated the media to speak out against her and make her look like she was crazy. They knew by discrediting her, this would guarantee that no one would take her seriously or listen to what she had to say anymore.

Sinéad struggled with bi-polar. So what. This doesn’t make her crazy. She or anyone struggling with mental illness shouldn’t be dismissed as not credible. I know many people struggling with this disease who are exceptionally bright and articulate people. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

Furthermore, I believe the music industry provokes mental illness. The lifestyle, lack of sleep, incessant commitments, performances, interviews, drugs, alcohol, so on and so forth can break even the strongest of wills. The kind of pressure these performers are put under is enough to make anyone sick.

This is why Sinéad wrote to Miley. She was trying to convey the truth. She wrote from her heart because she remembers what happened to her in the industry. She wrote from the perspective of  her own personal experience.  She doesn’t want Miley to wind up they she did. Sinéad displayed care, concern and compassion while Miley responded with a slap in the face.

Unfortunately, Miley hurt Sinéad by what she said and posted on Twitter, and now, Sinéad wrote two other letters in response to what Miley callously said and did. What she meant for good, turned ugly and it’s sad.

I can only hope that Miley Cyrus apologizes to Sinéad O’Connor, as she deserves an apology. I pray she apologizes for attacking Sinéad O’Connor and anyone who struggle with mental illness too. Miley had better hope and pray she doesn’t find herself in a similar situation one day.

Mental illness is no joking matter.

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Why Do You Write?

I enjoy reading interviews of writers and their creative process.

In the past few days, I have been reading interviews of great authors, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Gustave Flaubert.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

I noticed a common thread in these authors is narcissism.

There seems to be a correlation between creative genius and mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway shot himself. F. Scott Fitzgerald was depressed. William Faulkner was an alcoholic. Actually, all three were alcoholics. Gustave Flaubert’s personal life was a bit ‘out there’.

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I’ve been lurking behind the scenes and observing writers lately.

Writers seem to be plagued by insecurities, much like great authors were.

Writers want to be known. They want their writing to be read and heard. They want to know their writing matters to others and is making a difference in someone’s life.

Personally, I don’t get many comments or traffic on my blog. Nor do I have a large following, audience or platform.

I have had to come to terms that it may always stay this way.

Occasionally, I’ll get a reader who tells me they enjoy my posts and likes my writing. But, not very many.

Truthfully, the more I write and share what God puts on my heart, the less people seem to like it and thus, I get less traffic.

Which is why I had to ask myself the following questions:

1) Am I writing for God, myself or others?

2) Why do I write in the first place?

3) Will I continue to write even if no one reads it and/or my audience never grows?

My answers:

1) I write for God and myself.

2) I write because I love to write. I love words. I love the artistic expression and creative process. I love reading books and writing.

3) Now this one was a hard one to answer, because as I mentioned above, all writers want to be heard and appreciated. But I’ve come to the conclusion, that I do not want my writing to be about someone else liking or accepting it. I want God’s approval. I want to write what I’m passionate about whether anyone else agrees with it or likes it or not. Other people liking my writing is just the icing on the cake.

I’ve discovered that to continue writing, the ‘why’ has to be bigger than the ‘obstacle’.

If your why isn’t bigger than your obstacle, then you won’t keep at it.

If you are only writing for man’s applause or recognition, you will eventually be disappointed and give up.

Writing for others is the wrong focus and motivation.

Writers have to be comfortable and content  for art’s sake.

Even if no one reads your writing, you should still want to write anyway.

Writing should never be about other people, but about God and you.

This is the reason why I write.

Now it’s your turn, why do you write?

 

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