There is a term (a legitimate medical term), called bibliotherapy, and I think, unknowingly, it might have saved my life.
Bibliotherapy– noun; an expressive therapy that uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy.
The basic concept behind bibliotherapy is that reading is a healing experience.
There are libraries that make a practice of prescribing books to people as a form of therapy. The Center for Fiction in New York City https://centerforfiction.org/ actually employs bibliotherapists to give out book prescriptions. I think this might be the most amazing idea.
But back to me, and how books saved my life.
It’s amazing how many of my peers cringe when I say I read for fun. I’d much rather read all weekend than attend a party, and a lot of people see a problem with this. How will I make friends? Expand my social network? I honestly have never needed a large group of friends. I’ve always been content with a close knit few.
The most incredible thing about books is that you can put them down for as long as necessary; if you come back in a year it’ll still be there, faithfully waiting for the turn of a page. Through books, you can explore universes that haven’t been discovered yet. You can travel into the minds of others, and see things through their eyes. And maybe if you’re lucky, like me, you can grow because of them.
Books were the only way I could escape into someone else’s horror film and leave mine behind. Keeping my mind busy was literally the only way to prolong the inevitable defeat I was facing.
When I was a child, books were not only my window on the world, they were where I could live other lives, emotions, and psychological states vicariously.
I’ve been emotionally abused as a child. It’s no understatement that books saved me. It was through reading books and comics that I came to understand hope is not a foolish concept, love is transformative, heroes and friends come in all guises and monsters can be vanquished.
If you are struggling with a mental condition the better help you can offer to yourself is to be curious about your deeper self, is to investigate your core with sincere compassion, is to read as much as you can to guide professionals to see who you really are in your specific nuances and not just in the frame of a diagnosis. Read, write down your history and your emotions, go deeper, be creative, let none define you in your singular beauty, cause who you are took a toll on you to develop and to find strategies to survive until now. Don’t deny your truth in front of none, please, because your story is unique and deserve to be told to help other people to reach and understand who they really are.
Books are the imaginative wallpaper in my house; they linger in the cyberspace of my Kindle as well: all genres, many, many nationalities. They’re a font of incredible knowledge, wisdom, joy, sadness, and my forever companion — one that will both challenge and succour me.
Let me end this blog with a story I read on someone else’s blog (I’m sorry friend I do not remember you, but if you are reading this please come forward so I can acknowledge you)
There was a village. A dog was born. After it grew up, it went in search of food. It ate some wild vegetables. One day, there was a forest fire. The dog ran away. After the fire subsided, the dog came back. The vegetables got cooked in the forest fire. The dog found them tastier and nutritious and kept eating them. Few days later, some of it had high bacteria. The dog ate it and slowly died.
Months later, there was another dog. After it grew up, it went in search of food. It ate some wild vegetables. One day, there was a forest fire. The dog ran away. After the fire subsided, the dog came back. The vegetables got cooked in the forest fire. It found them tastier and nutritious and kept eating them. Few days later, some of it had high bacteria. The dog ate it and slowly died.
Another month later there was another dog. The same cycle repeated.
Now a human was born at the same time. After he grew up, he went in search of food. He ate some wild vegetables. One day, there was a forest fire. He ran away. After the fire subsided, he came back. The vegetables got cooked in the forest fire. He found them tastier and nutritious and kept eating them. Few days later, some of it had high bacteria. He ate it and slowly died.
Before he died, he wrote a book, describing all of these things.
So, after the next human was born, he already knew what fire looked like, what happened when forest fires came, how cooked food kept him less hungry for longer time and why it should not be eaten after some days.
So, he lived longer. During the extra-time he had, he started collecting various things like dry leaves, green stems, stones water and animal dungs.
And when the fire came, he was prepared. He threw all of this one by one into the fire.
And before he died, he authored the next chapter—dry leaves preserve fire, animal-dung cause slow-burning and water puts out the fire.
And the one that came after him read these two chapters. One day, when he was sitting at the place before the fire came, he noticed a spark from wind pushing the trees against each other. So he took two dry sticks and did the same thing. Viola! There was Fire.
And the one born after him made a lighter.
And the one after this generation made electric stove.
Thus the progression went on.
So since the beginning of time, one major strength humans had was the ability to pass on the preserved information to the next generation.
The next generation didn’t have to go through what the previous generation had gone through for survival. Instead, they could better the earlier tricks and add corollary to it.
The knowledge thus got incremented exponentially with every generation.
And one such storehouse of knowledge is Book.