Saturday, December 10, 2005

things without words

How does one explain mental illness to a small child? Depression is so hard to describe, much less live with. To an angry three year old, it is unfathomable why Daddy doesn't want to talk right now. We talk a lot about how much we love Daddy and how much he loves us. Sometimes Daddy doesn't feel well and needs time to himself. It is ok to feel angry when he does that, especially when we want to spend time with him.

Bebe Moore Campbell does a good job of describing bipolar disorder in her picture book, Sometimes Mommy Gets Angry . A colleague of mine found the book disturbing and thought that it shouldn't be available in a browsing collection. I find that reassuring because mental illness is disturbing. No one wants to talk about it. I hope a child who needs that message does find it in the browsing collection.

Have you seen those commercials with Martin Sheen about mental illness? Argh. "Can she be hepled?" dramatic pause, "Can he be helped?" Reminds me of one of those horrible social studies or health films from high school.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your blog via old child_lit posts. It looks like you have a new one now but thought I would post to this as it was the topic of interest. I have a middle grade novel coming out in the fall from Tricycle Press that deals with a parent with bipolar disease. Just thought I would mention it. You can read a copy of the excerpt of Hugging the Rock here:

Susan Taylor Brown