Not-so-fictional fear

Since October is traditionally (if you don’t live down under) the month of all things scary, we decided to go with a fear theme. From scary books to personal fears to writing fear–we’ll delve into it all this month.

Now, fear is a funny thing. It’s not rational. It’s not discriminatory. It often makes zero sense. It comes in all shapes and sizes and when it hits it can knock even the bravest of creatures out for six. And that’s what I want to talk about today … the biggest fears, those that knock you flat on your rear and don’t only make breathing hard, they make living feel near impossible. Some people would call them phobias, others might refer to them as mental illness. Either way, I want to share some books with you where fear bursts off the pages in such a realistic way the reader gains a first hand understanding of living in constant fear.

Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Under Rose Tainted Skies (Louise Gornall): This is an amazing story about a girl whose fear of, well everything, leads to Agrophobia (fear of the outside world). By the time I reached the end of Gornall’s book I really understood how fear could take over.

The Boyfriend List (E Lockhart): The main character suffers from anxiety and although her fear doesn’t define the story it’s a very realistic recount of what living with anxiety is like.

Am I Normal Yet (Holly Bourne): OCD is about way more than compulsive hand washing and a fear of germs. Holly Bourne does a great job of showing this through relatable characters and a riveting plot.

Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell): This book portrays social anxiety beautifully. A fear or phobia of interaction with strangers and even friends is something that many people can’t relate to, but let me tell you, Rainbow Rowell nailed it.

I love that modern fiction has cast awareness on what it’s like to live with fear. I read Tomorrow When The War Began in my early teens. The concept of that series still sticks with me as an adult, making me fearful of situations happening in our world today. Statistics say that 1 in 5 Aussies are affected by mental illness. It’s surprising that with the sheer number of affected there’s still so much stigma around the issue. So much in fact, that many sufferers don’t seek help or feel accepted.

It’s mental health week here in NSW, the perfect time to pick up a new read focusing on a real life issue. These books showcasing fear are a wonderful empathy-creating tool.

Have you read any books featuring characters who live with fear? I’d love to hear about them.

Stacey Nash writes about characters who have to overcome their fears. To find out more about Stacey’s books or to connect with her on social media, check out these places: www.stacey-nash.com, instagram, twitter, facebook.