John Green’s New Novel Offers Readers A Glimpse Of His Mental Health Issues

Will My Insurance Pay for Rehab?

Sponsored Legal Stuff - This is an advertisement for Service Industries, Inc., part of a network of commonly owned substance abuse treatment service providers. Responding to this ad will connect you to one of Service Industries, Inc.’s representatives to discuss your insurance benefits and options for obtaining treatment at one of its affiliated facilities only. Service Industries, Inc. Service Industries, Inc. is unable to discuss the insurance benefits or options that may be available at any unaffiliated treatment center or business. If this advertisement appears on the same web page as a review of any particular treatment center or business, the contact information (including phone number) for that particular treatment center or business may be found at the bottom of the review.

John Green’s New Novel Offers Readers A Glimpse Of His Mental Health Issues

By Britni de la Cretaz 10/12/17

"I think it’s important for people to hear from adults who have good fulfilling lives and manage chronic mental illness as part of those good fulfilling lives.”

Image: 
John Green

In 2012, author John Green published The Fault In Our Stars, a young adult novel about a teen with cancer who falls in love with a boy in her support group. The book became a bestseller and was adapted into a successful film starring Shailene Woodley.

Then, according to a new profile in the New York Times, the author became overwhelmed with anxiety and self-doubt, sure that he would never write another book. But he did—a fictionalized version of his own struggles with mental health. That book, Turtles All The Way Down, was released this week.

Green suffers from severe anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, which he manages with medication and therapy. But, while struggling to write, he tells the Times he went off his medication, hoping it would help. It didn’t—and Green’s anxiety got so bad that he couldn’t read a menu or follow TV shows.

“I couldn’t escape the spiral of my thoughts, and I felt like they were coming from the outside,” Green told the Times. Not only that, his sudden fame made him even more anxious, playing on his long-time fears of touching strangers when he'd be asked for autographs, photos, or handshakes.

Turtles All The Way Down follows Aza Holmes, the 16-year-old protagonist who deals with intrusive thoughts and obsessive behaviors. “I spent a lot of my childhood consumed with obsessive worry and dread,” Green said at an event on his book tour, according to the Times. His hope in writing this book, he says, was to help people who face the same struggles to feel less alone.

He also hopes that, for people who don’t struggle with OCD, the book will help them understand what it’s like to be in the mind of someone who does. Green’s editor, Julie Strauss-Gabel, called the book an “unbelievable act of translation” in its ability to convey to the reader what OCD is like.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive, reoccurring thoughts and repetitive behaviors the person feels compelled to perform. Most people are diagnosed by the time they are 19, and it affects approximately 1% of the adult population.

“I want to talk about it, and not feel any embarrassment or shame,” Green told the Times, “because I think it’s important for people to hear from adults who have good fulfilling lives and manage chronic mental illness as part of those good fulfilling lives.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
Disqus comments