Almost a month has passed by since I published ‘The Darkened Path’ and with encouraging sales, 4 reviews have been submitted to Amazon. Three reviews gave a 5/5 and one 1/5. From the start, I expected to receive some bad reviews, not everyone is going to understand the book or why I have written ‘The Darkened Path’ the way I have. In this article, I will cover why I have written the book, why not everyone will get it and why, sometimes the wrong words can be so powerful.
Why I have written ‘The Darkened Path’.
To start off with, ‘The Darkened Path’ is my autobiography. I have opened up about the suffering I have gone through. I have gone for this approach to try and break down the stigma of mental health. It is documented and commented many times by people, that not enough is understood about mental health and that not enough sufferers speak up.
Men are worse at talking so I knew I had to try and break this mould. Even now I still do not understand why writing the book was put upon me but the desire and strength to do so has been with me every step of the way.
Within the book, I open up about some of the darkest times in my life. These are events that have tributed to me ending up with depression, social anxiety and OCD. These include the sexual attack I was a victim off and the times I came close to ending my life.
Why not everyone will get it!
One of my biggest fears when writing ‘The Darkened Path’ is that some people might find it egotistical. This I cannot help or control but writing TDP, is not for my ego. By nature, I am an introvert who likes to remain in the background. Although I am putting myself out there by writing the book, my only sole aim is to help raise awareness while I can.
Another factor in why some will not understand, even if they have suffered themselves or witnessed someone else battling, is that this is my journey with a vile and debilitating illness. Although there maybe some similarities, these can just be in the title ‘Depression’, ‘Social anxiety’ or ‘OCD’. It does not take much common sense to understand and we are all different and that we all suffer from different illnesses, differently. No two people with lung cancer will display the same symptoms nor would they be on the exact same treatment plan. The same goes for a mental health illness. The title might be the same but cause, the triggers and even the way we display the illness can be so different. Sadly, some will have a small mind and not see the bigger picture.
To the bad review
I respect that TDP is not for this reader. It is clear from the start of their review, that they might have seen a whole different path with someone, who is close to them battle depression and OCD to a level they were in and out of hospital. My heart goes to them both and anyone else who has seen the suffering that they have gone through.
I am, however saddened to read the ‘below the belt’ comment where the reviewer appears, to bitterly question my suffering, especially by someone who would of witnessed so many people being judgemental towards the person they cared for.
On a bad day, when I was at my worst, those words “assuming the sick role” and to suggest I was playing at being ill, would of affected me in a much more severe way, compared to today. Words are damaging! There are people close to me who understand how ill I have been and still could be. I say ‘could be’ simply because I know how much of a rollercoaster depression can be. I am currently on a good run but I would never say I am cured! Over the years of struggling and battling, I have seen depths so low I still struggle to talk about them and I have seen the highs and even how hard it can be to deal with being happy.
Only a year ago, the words in this review would send me down a path of further despair. A personal attack is not necessary whether you understand TDP or whether the book was for you. I hope this reviewer, finds the rest of mind to not hit out at others, who are trying to speak up!
It reminds me of a time when I went to Disney Land Paris with my sister and her care home. A relative of a child had come along to help. This person saw each resident at the home as the same as their child. When it came to meal time, she insisted on feeding my sister and that she must have mashed potato, even though Shelley did not eat mashed potato at the time. Shelley became distressed as she was hungry but was being forced something she did not like.
This is through no fault of the lady who came to help, she was still grieving and found it hard to let go, which is perfectly understandable. We just need to remember that we are all different and our paths in life are different too.
I was lucky and have been lucky to avoid going into hospital. There have been times where I have feared sectioning and even came close to admitting myself.
Let’s always remember, that no one has the right to judge another and what they have or have not gone through. The full extent is not always revealed and lets also not forget how powerful words can be! Good or bad words are strong and the latter can be extremely detrimental.
Will bad reviews derail me?
No! I know ‘The Darkened Path’ is not perfect and as mentioned, I knew the risks of writing it. If I can help people understand what it can feel like, even just from my experience, then it will make writing it worthwhile.
I will happily receive constructive criticism and I am open to working with people and organizations to raise the awareness of mental health.