Monday, September 14, 2015

Discussion Question Monday: Depression In Books

Hello! Welcome to Discussion Question Monday! Today's question is: Should there be more books that have depressed characters/depression themes?

I have not read very many books about depression, or that feature depressed characters. They may be common and I just haven't read them, but I feel like no one really talks about it much.

The reason I think these books wouldn't be very popular is because they're depressing. Many people don't like books that make them sad! Books are for enjoyment!

I haven't heard of a book that has a depressed main character, but is also funny. It's like everyone thinks depressed people can't laugh! Which is not at all true.

The Fault in our Stars kind of deals with depression. Coming from someone who has been and knows many others that also have been depressed, it didn't really feel like depression. It was talked about, but that wasn't really the point of the book. There was no point where I actually felt like I was seeing the point of view of a depressed person. But that one is funny....

There defiantly are books that talk about bullying and people that become depressed because of it, but no one really talks about them all that often.

In my opinion, though, people that haven't experience depression (or honestly any mental illness, or even the struggles of being LGBT+) can't really understand what it's like. Talking to people who have experienced it just won't cut it. Being suicidal, cutting yourself, or even just being sad all the time is something that you just can't describe unless you know what it feels like.

I wish there were more books that were written by the actually people that experienced them. It's Kind of a Funny Story is the only one I can seem to think of that is actually talked about.

The book I'm currently writing (read it here), deals with depression, but it deals with the kind of depression I had (or have, it's complicated). Which apparently isn't the kind that most people have, and that would be why I decided to write it and then give the world access to it....

Many people talk about how we need more books in YA dealing with mental illness, LGBT characters, etc. BUT NO ONE IS WRITING THEM. If you think there should be more books about X, then write one! Telling an author they need more diverse characters is not going to help much.

What do you think? This is very much a topic I'd like to here other opinions about....

Thanks for reading!


  1. I agree that we need more books with mental illness - though I've recently come across A TON of books that feature characters with depression - I think authors (and publishers) are beginning to realise we do need more diversity in YA (from a mental health and LGBT point of view). I don't necessarily think we need more books ABOUT mental illness, but that we need more about characters WITH mental illness. I think there are too many books that focus the entire plot ON mental illness. Why can't we have books that don't necessarily focus on mental illness/LGBT, but have it thrown in as well? I think The Rest of Us Just Live Here deals with the whole mental illness thing well - we have a main character that has OCD, yet the entire book isn't completely ABOUT OCD, if you get what I mean.

    1. The reason that we can't have books that feature characters with mental illness, but without making it the entire plot, is because mental illnesses (especially depression) completely control a person's life. It's easier to have LGBTQ+ characters without effecting the plot because while it is an important part of their life, it doesn't define it. But many mental illnesses control your life much more than sexual orientation does. Obviously, this isn't true for everyone, but at least in my experience this is how it works. It also seems transgender people feel kind of the same way, but I have experienced that personally, so I'm not sure. I'm just saying that it's really hard to have a depressed character (or person) that isn't just completely focused on their depression.
      I defiantly need to start read some more books with depressed characters! There are some out there, but none have gotten very popular. Need to look for some though....