Worked on this post with Tash from ConfessionsFromRomaholics we both had a big deep and meaningful chat on this topic and decided to do our own posts on this with our own personal experiences read Tash’s post here
Lately I’ve found a massive trend that has started in the book world where books that have such a meaningful message of mental illness in there, where the cure of the main characters illness seems to be to have a lover and find love. While love itself can be very life changing, can it actually cure mental illness?
I myself have suffered pretty severe anxiety and let me tell you that finding romance and love for someone has not cured me. Many books never seem to focus on the factors that do actually help a lot of mental illness suffers such as medication to ease the illness, seeing councillors to talk about thoughts and feelings and the constant battle of self doubt that takes time to get rid of.
Instead of reading a book that is about loving another person to make a mental illness to go away, I would love to read more where the main protagonist begins to find love for themselves as that is another key thing that isn’t seen a lot in books about mental illness and it isn’t an easy thing to achieve.
In saying all this, I am not in any way trying to say that people with mental illness don’t deserve love, I’m just trying to get say that books that have the trope of love ‘curing’ mental illness is unrealistic in my opinion and there are many other things that people with mental illness go through as well as just find love = being cured and free of mental illness.
Despite loving books that do have this trope, I would in the future love to see some change and hopefully more books that show the character going through their illness without having a life changing romance that cures them, I would love to see more stories where the main characters don’t rely on love, and begin to love themselves. I want to see more stories that I can relate to because as a person that suffers from mental illness, I find that it can be very unrealistic to see characters just falling in love and not looking back at ever having an illness because they are ‘cured’.
BOOKS I FOUND WITH LOVE BEING ‘THE CURE’/BOOKS THAT ROMANTICISE ILLNESS:
ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES BY JENNIFER NIVEN
THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS
MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES
MADE YOU UP
WHEN WE COLLIDED
A BOOK THAT I HAVE FOUND HAS NOT MADE LOVE ‘THE CURE’:
GIRL IN PIECES
Comment down below your thoughts and feelings on this trope below, I’m interested to know all your thoughts and feels on this too! (Also don’t feel bad if you loved some of these books that have this trope, it is completely fine we all have different opinions and connect to things differently)