A more serious note
While I usually alternate between stories and blogs, this week I thought some background into this particular story may be nice.
This week’s story deals with a more serious issue than my previous ones. While not specifically mentioned, A Bear Called Owl deals with issues of mental health.
The reason I decided to write this blog post in addition to the story is to give people fair warning that I am delving into a darker area of storytelling this time around.
Mental health is gaining more recognition, and as the days of locking those with mental illnesses are over it’s almost guaranteed that it will impact on everyone’s lives one way or another, whether they realise it or not.
I believe that acceptance and understanding of mental health issues comes largely from normalising it, and for me part of that is people growing up knowing that it is ok, and that it is not something to be ashamed of.
At the same time, I had another very important reason behind writing this story. Many adults I have spoken to who have struggled with mental illness (myself included) can remember triggers going back to their childhood, some as young as pre-school. There are also people who grow up with a parent who struggles with mental illness, which can be difficult for a child to understand.
While it is difficult as adults to think that such small, innocent people could have to deal with such a big issue, the fact is it does happen, and the more we can let our children know that it’s ok to talk about feelings that they may think are shameful, the more we can start to deal with these issues when they arise.
I must stress that, while it is based around a dark issue, the story itself is not intended to be dark or depressing. I have tried to make it as child-friendly and accessible as possible while still giving a realistic account of life with a mental illness. I believe it still has a positive message and I hope that as well as entertaining it can also educate and help to foster greater understanding and communication around the issue.
This story is loosely based around a person I know, who kindly gave me permission to share it on here.
I hope you enjoy.