I had not heard of this book until Jennifer Armentrout posted the Amazon link in her reading group. Along with the post, she shared some personal details about her struggle with depression, and why she chose to write an essay for Life Inside My Mind.
“Anyway, there’s a reason why I haven’t promoted this book beyond this post, because how do you promote something where you feel like you’re finally, finally taking off the mask that you let everyone see and believe, exposing yourself as a liar.”
She also spoke of one of her lowest points, when her depression became so volatile, she contemplated self-harm. She was dealing with this at RT Vegas. I was there. I saw Jennifer, and it was my second time to meet her. The first time was at RT Dallas, and I felt like I was talking to an old friend. The second time at RT Vegas, felt different. She complimented my ring, which I actually bought because it was made of Onyx, and duh, one of her books is titled Onyx. But I saw a difference in her demeanor. I remember feeling a bit sad about it, thinking I must have said something dumb. In my world, meeting an author is like meeting the Pope. So of course I analyzed every single thing I said to make sure I didn’t make an ass out of myself.
I have anxiety. Sometimes, it’s crippling. When I am spiraling, the only person who can tell is my husband. Because he’s a freaking ninja-psychic who picks up on my every itsy bitsy emotion (love you, Husband).
But here this woman was, who seemingly ‘has it all’, surrounded by people who adore her, yet suffering alone in the deepest pits of hell. She signed autographs, made small talk, took pictures, and kept her head up. No one knew, because depression is invisible. But luckily, Jennifer confided in a friend who could help her.
Admitting to these types of emotions is HARD. No one should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed. The more we talk about mental illness, the better off we will be! No more shame, just support.
This is just a reminder that we need to be more vigilant in reading others. If we notice something is amiss, SAY SOMETHING. Ask them how they are, ask them what you can do to help, or just listen to them. Or better yet, treat every person you encounter with all the kindness you can muster. You really never know what someone is going through.