If you’ve ever struggled with your mental health, or you’ve known somebody who has, the short stories in Concealed will no doubt resonate with you in an incredibly powerful way. If you haven’t, you can treat Concealed as a window into the minds of those who battle with mental illness.
The collection focuses on the darkness that goes on inside us, even when we look perfectly happy and even healthy on the surface. Although it is never explicitly stated which mental health conditions are being explored in each story, we can pull together clues and come to our own conclusions. However, knowing what is ‘wrong’ with the protagonists isn’t necessarily important. What is important is understanding how they feel and how their lives are impacted by mental illness that so often goes unseen.
We also get insights into the lives of those who love and care for people with mental health problems. We see their pain at watching friends or partners or family members suffer. We see their own happiness and mental wellbeing falter as they provide support. It was some these stories which hit me the hardest, because when I’ve struggled with mental illness I’ve always cared far more about the wellbeing of those around me than I have cared about myself. It proves that mental illness is cruel and its effects far-reaching.
All of the stories within Concealed are short snippets into unhappy lives, but the collection is divided into flash fiction and microfiction. Both are wonderful, but there were a few microfiction pieces that really punched me in the gut because they resonated with some of my experiences and feelings so strongly that I felt as though I could have written them myself. I won’t share them here because it feels far too personal to let you into my darkest thoughts. Instead, go and read the book for yourself and see which stories resonate with your own life.
V.P. Grey is an indie author who writes blogs and stories here on WordPress. Do go and support her by reading her work or buying her book. Concealed is a powerful and important collection, and in an era in which we’re aiming to remove the stigma around mental health and talk about our mental wellbeing, it should be read far and wide.Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com