So, sometime in the past year, several authors got together and wrote an amazing and gut-wrenching anthology called Just Breathe. All the stories in the anthology dealt with some kind of mental illness, and more than one of me has stuck with me since I originally read it. You can’t get it now, because the rights have reverted back to the authors. However, some of the stories are now available, like this one by Jennifer, Crazy Broken Love. Jennifer took her original story and expanded it out to give us what we have now.
Here’s our story. Amy is a woman who is dealing with a very severe form of OCD. She’s been hospitalized because of it. She has a series of rituals and routines that she must follow in order to fight the Noise and to keep herself sane. For example, her alarm goes off at 6 am. She lets it go for three beeps and then turns it off. Not 2, not 4, only 3. The number 3 rules her life and keeps everything under control. As long as she can have a multiple of 3, she’s going to be OK. She doesn’t leave her house, working online, getting everything delivered, and her therapist coming to her house instead. She belongs to an online forum for others with mental illness, where she’s known as Mittwochgirl, because Wednesday is the perfect day, it divides the week in two perfectly, 3 days on either side. (I like Wednesday for that reason too.)
Then there’s Equilibre, which is French for balance. For the past few months, they have been talking through the forum and emailing each other, and they have formed a deep relationship. Equilibre is probably the most important person in Amy’s life. She’s pretty sure she’ll never meet him because if she goes outside, the Noise and the chaos will get her.
Jennifer does an amazing job of showing what it’s like to live with OCD, which is an anxiety disorder. As you read the story, you see what it’s like to live in Amy’s head and in her world. It can be a really scary place. As a person who is mentally ill, I can tell you how terrifying it is when your own brain plays tricks on you and you have to fight it like Amy did. We all have ways that we pin our mental illness into place and keep it under control. With Amy, she developed her routines and adherence to 3s. I’m not going to judge her for how she lives because she has done what she can. I relate to her so much because of my own personal perspective. I think that she is infinitely stronger than she thinks that she is.
When I read this story as the short in the anthology, it blew me away. As the expanded story, it blew me even further away.
Colton is a really fascinating character. He changed so many things, all for one purpose.
OK, that’s all for this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!