Post ID: 2140

Mental Illness in a Protagonist  

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(@lilyn_g)
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Joined:12 months  ago
Posts: 8
16/02/2017 3:12 am  

Have any of you read any novels where the hero/heroine of the horror novel dealt with a mental illness during the book?

The only one I've ever read that I can definitely recall was Ania Ahlborn's The Devil Crept In. 

If you have any suggestions, please list them 🙂


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(@hannah-neurotica)
Founder of Women in Horror Month Admin
Joined:3 years  ago
Posts: 19
16/02/2017 6:12 pm  

Good question!

In terms of the criteria you are looking for,would it be a character whose mental illness plays a critical role in the overall story or could it be only alluded to in the descriptions/minor interactions?

Also, there is another similar theme that you made me think of: the metaphorical concept of the woman appearing to be mentally ill when really it is the world that is crazy.

I will be back with some suggestions after I think this through. =)


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(@lilyn_g)
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17/02/2017 2:17 am  

I would like the mental illness to be a definite part of the story. And something more than just depression. While I don't deny (I suffer from it myself) that depression is definitely a mental illness that deserves recognition and treatment, I feel like it's the go-to for whenever someone wants to make their character have a rough time.

But, horrible things don't just happen to mentally stable people.

 

And yes, that is a good theme too (with the appears ill, but it's the world that's crazy.)


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(@librarian_lizzy)
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22/02/2017 9:25 pm  

You might check out The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It's one of the most jarring books I've ever read. Her works deal with the topic of mental illness in women in interesting ways. Here's the link to a good intro to the book and Jackson as well:  http://lauramiller.typepad.com/lauramiller/shirley-jacksons-the-haunting-of-hill-house-an-introduction.html


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(@librarian_lizzy)
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22/02/2017 9:39 pm  

Dark Regions Press recently published a shared world anthology called Madhouse. All of the stories are centered in a mental health facility. While the stories are intense, and deal with more than just depression, I'm not sure how accurately mental illnesses are portrayed, and there is the case of a doctor and facility run amok. Still, a good read. I reviewed it for the Monster Librarian: http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/TheCirculationDesk/book-review-madhouse-a-shared-world-anthology-edited-by-benjamin-kane-ethridge-and-brad-c-hodson/  

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is another interesting story. The author wrote it when she was trying to cope with postpartum depression if I remember correctly. Here is the link to a good PDF version, with some lovely illustrations: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/theliteratureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digitalDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf   

Mental illness is also a trope in Gothic novels (oh those Victorians). I'll do some more poking later on. I hope all of this is helpful 😉 

~L


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(@lilyn_g)
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22/02/2017 10:10 pm  

I've read Haunting of Hill House - definitely an interesting read!


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(@lilyn_g)
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Posts: 8
22/02/2017 10:11 pm  

I'll definitely check out the shared world book you mentioned, thanks!


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(@breagrant)
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Posts: 1
08/03/2017 10:05 pm  

There's a book called Borderline by Mishell Baker that came out last year about a woman with borderline personality disorder who gets recruited to be a part of a secret organization. It's more sci-fi than horror but is really great. It just got nominated for a Nebula Award. 


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