Hitting close to home


The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva is the authors first delve into fiction works, after having written a non-fiction self-help book about mental health. She sticks with the MH topic in this book and it talks about depression, anxiety and OCD.

50068110. sy475

There are all illnesses I struggle with myself. I’m lucky that through lots of working on myself and medication too, I’m on the milder end of these now. But I’ve been there. I will say that if you do suffer from these or would be triggered by them, then this likely isn’t the book for you. The illnesses are represented really well, but this also means that she goes into detail and that might not be helpful for some people.

With the actual book itself, nothing other than our MC Amy going to work, or not going, happens. It simply follows her. I think this was a brilliant decision as it lets the reader focus on what’s going on inside her head rather than stuff happening outside. By the end of this book, I actually felt connected to the characters and was wanting to find out more about them.

Full disclosure, I was sent this book by the author to review. But also full disclosure, sorry Ms Riva, I wasn’t expecting to love it. I thought it might get 3 stars, that it’d be fine and that’d be it. But I ended up really enjoying reading this book and honestly think it’s a good read. I’m glad I did pick this up in the end (she sent me it a while ago) and gave it a go!

What do you think of books which focus on mental health struggles?

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

This was personally a difficult book to read. It was short and easy to read on a technical level. However, the content was… tough. This book is essentially a memoir of one of the most difficult times in Matt’s life, a time when he struggled with a deep depression. I knew this going in, however, what I hadn’t been anticipating was the emotions that the book was going to dredge up within myself.

I have been struggling with depression for just over a decade now, and I have made massive strides in improving my mental health in recent years. Yet this book still managed to bring me back to that place. So separate from the content, I would like to recommend that you only read this if you don’t have this illness or if you believe yourself to be strong enough. I don’t regret reading the book, and I was able to get back to my normal self in a couple of days, however, I wouldn’t want to not warn you in advance if this is something that might impact you.

Content-wise this is a very interesting account of someone looking back on their past self and seeing what they previously couldn’t. That life gets better, and that he’s still alive. It also may help those who don’t suffer from depression to understand the illness more, however, I can’t vouch for that myself. Definitely a book to consider if you’re healthy enough.



“She never stops complaining” I hear them all say.

But they don’t know the truth, they don’t know what’s inside.

The hurt I can’t express, the pain, the emptiness.

It’s always there, never leaving.


The medication helps. It makes me “normal”. But “normal” is numb. “Normal” feels nothing.

Normal has no reason to do anything. She is empty. No pain, but no joy.

It took my lows, but captured my highs for itself. Took them where no one could see.

Especially not me.


I try to recapture the old me, surely feeling something is better than nothing.

I whine, I complain, I turn everything negative.


I can’t bring her back.


Do I want to?

I don’t want the soul crushing pain, the wish for it all to end.

I don’t want to hate every inch of my skin, my thoughts, my being.


I just want to feel…