Fleur Gaskin is a very cool lady. She was an international model for six years, appearing on runways, television commercials and magazines like Elle and Vogue. Her experience in the modeling world definitely had its ups and downs, and today she's talking about what inspired her to write Arabelle's Story, a novel based heavily on her own life. I think it's wonderful that Fleur has used the platform of a novel to help other people deal with something so difficult as depression. Check out this fabulous guest post she wrote for Writing Belle!
If I could choose to have one superpower it would definitely be the ability to read minds. I’m so very curious to understand why people do what they do, especially when it is something I personally would never do – like cheat, steal, or tell big, fat whopping lies. I don’t believe that people are naturally bad. I do believe that people make bad choices and those who do wrong do so because of their past experiences. I believe that if we could step inside someone else’s mind then we could discover the motivations behind their actions; we could learn their thought process and find out why they feel justified in their decisions. If we could all hear the insecurities and fears of even the most confident people I believe that the whole world would become a much more compassionate place.
I think that reading a book is the closest we can come to visiting another person’s mind. We don’t just see a character’s actions, we go on a journey with them. We learn about their past, we read of their private hopes and desires. We are told of the emotions that accompany their experiences. This is why I chose to write Arabelle’s Shadows in diary format. I wanted to show the inner workings of my character’s mind, I wanted the readers to really understand where Arabelle was coming from.
Arabelle’s Shadows has been described as intense, raw and personal - perhaps a bit too personal - but that’s how I wanted it to be. A major theme in Arabelle’s Shadows is depression, Arabelle struggles with it throughout the book. Depression is a disease that not everyone understands. Mental illness is so ridiculously common but it’s still rarely understood. If organs like the heart, liver or lungs can fail, why is it so hard to imagine that the most important organ of all, the brain, would have troubles too?
I have heard that the human body cannot physically remember pain. It makes sense, if a woman could literally recall the agony she experienced giving birth she might flat out refuse to ever have another baby. I think it’s true for depression too. I have been in the depths of a depression so violently despicable I imagined nothing but death would be able to take away my hurt but because I am not depressed at this very moment and time I have trouble remembering that. When I meet people with depression I also sometimes want to tell them to just get over it, even though I know it is not that simple.
I hope that Arabelle’s Shadows can help those who read it step into the mind of depression. I hope that people will begin to understand the torment and constant battle sufferers face. Arabelle was always trying to get better, she’s an optimist at heart, but then life would get to her and down she would go again.
If you know someone with depression I hope that by reading Arabelle’s Shadows I give you a tiny piece of the super hero ability to read minds and understand what your loved ones are going through.