Short and Sweet
The idea of Gentle Mentals was sparked after mishearing my step-daughter say something that I swear sounded like Bipolar Bear. After a good laugh (because that obviously wasn't what she said), we joked and made up a few other characters. It was a ripe topic that I was drawn to. By the end of the night, I decided then and there I was going to make a book about it.
As the characters began to unfold, I quickly realized that I knew every one of them quite personally. My dad was riddled with various mental health conditions. God knows I have my own baggage. And then there's my husband, some of my closest friends and co-workers who deal with issues too.
As I did more research, it became clear that a lot of the content out there associated with mental health/illness makes us feel bad - from the imagery to the headlines. Why would we want to talk about it?
I told a few people about the idea. Some met me with, "Wow, you need to do this." Others, "Whoa, that's pretty dark." Both types of responses really resonated and helped to keep me chugging along. So thank you!
What started off as a fun art project has turned into something much more profound for me. If you're curious about why then keep reading. But be advised, it does get dark.
Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.