Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | By: HiDee

Bookshelf Revelations

I spent the weekend at my daughter’s place while she is recuperating from foot surgery. She is not, and never will be a model patient so I came prepared with my laptop, my Kindle, chocolate, and Pepsi. I had strict orders not to touch anything, but I was permitted to be chief cook and beverage provider. She had planned to kick me out in less than 24 hours but permitted me to stay almost 48. Given the level of independence my daughter aspires to, this was an honor!

So while she slept off the anesthetic, I prowled her house. It should be no surprise the space that held my attention the most was her bookshelves.

Stacked on bedside tables in her room were books of poetry and blank journals. Nestled among decorations and trinkets from the beach (her happy place), her living room bookshelves held books by Nicholas Sparks and Jimmy Buffet, along with some biographies and mysteries. But the vast majority of books in both locations revealed to me her daily struggle on an entirely different level.

My daughter suffers from anxiety and depression. We are going on two years now of trying different medicines to find one that helps her. So many of them have terrible side effects that affected her ability to function, so she was forced to quit taking them. Her life has been a rollercoaster of good days and bad, of emotions ranging from being deliriously happy to wanting to be six feet under. I’ve been riding the rollercoaster with her, carrying my share of fear and worry, trying to balance being supportive while giving her the space she needs to grow. It’s not been easy for this mama bear.

I opened the blinds to let in some light, as she prefers the darkness. My heart broke to read titles like Suicide Notes from Beautiful GirlsLove Letters to the DeadPurpose for the Pain, and By the Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead – all novels dealing with topics like suicide, self-harm, bullying, and depression – all things she has experienced.

Mixed in were books by John C. Maxwell: How Successful People GrowHow Successful People Lead, and How Successful People Think among others. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I'm not surprised to see these books, as they reflect her inner struggle to be successful. At 25, she is not where she expected to be.

Her books mirror the roller coaster of her life, filled with euphoric highs and gut-wrenching lows, interspersed with painful twists and encouraging turns.

But mixed in with those books, I also found hope: books of encouragement by Jamie Tworkowski, who founded To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) to help a friend. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. His website says: It started with a story.

And isn’t STORY what speaks to all of us?

We each have our own story, as do our characters. Our stories are what makes each of us unique and interesting to others.

What story does your bookshelf tell? Have you ever been surprised by what books you found on the shelves of someone you know?  Please share.


Unknown said...

Love your post, HiDee! It's hard to tell what people would conclude about me from looking at my shelves. Self-help, fiction, nonfiction, writing books, poetry. Lots of variety. What's on yours?

HiDee said...

Thanks, Lynn! My bookshelves are filled with fiction, biographies, a few mysteries, writing books, poetry, books about horses and wildlife.

Angela Adams said...

If you were to look at my bookshelves, you wouldn't be surprised. My books reflect what everyone knows are my interest...romance novels, books on writing, history, and animals. Thanks for the post, and hope you're daughter is feeling better.

Anonymous said...

I have romance novels,almost all set in Regency England, plenty of self help books, history books, and cookbooks!

HiDee said...

Thank you all for stopping by! Angela, my daughter is making progress. Thanks for the positive thoughts!

Diana McCollum said...

What a struggle your daughter has had. I hope she is doing better. On my bookshelf are cookbooks, crocheting and painting books. But mostly historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, thrillers and some non-fiction writing and self help books.

HiDee said...

You have a good range of books, Diana. Thank you for stopping by!