Oh, you have the flu? You’ll get over it.

What if that was how someone responded to you when you called in sick with the flu, unable to come to work?  Or when you were on the phone with your cousin, and she asked how you were?

In a Forbes article by Robert J. Szczerba, we are asked to consider what if physical illnesses and ailments were treated as mental illnesses were by the current status quo.

…imagine you just cut yourself. Or threw out your back. Or had an asthma attack. Or were diagnosed with diabetes. And the response to your malady was “You just need to change your frame of mind, then you’ll feel better.”

These responses seem heartless and insensitive, not to mention socially inept. Yet because mental illness is so misunderstood, this is the type of “helpful advice” that people diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses confront on a daily basis. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Mental illness is still so misunderstood. Often those who have never experienced mental illness think that it is something you can just get over, something you can fix with a “change of thinking,” etc.  And those who have mental illness are often misread.

You have depression. You can hardly get out of bed. You start to miss work. You forget to pay your bills. You are labeled as lazy. As irresponsible. Immature. And more.

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So instead of treating mental illness as something less real, less serious, less “physical,” try and understand that it is something going on inside of your body too.  And people can’t just get over it. They need help. They need understanding.

 

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No Apologies for Being

We really love this song by Alessia Cara.

“Wild Things” is an anthem for the ‘misread,’ the misunderstood, the outsiders. A catchy, empowering tune about self-acceptance and self-love. It urges listeners to embrace their uniqueness, their differences instead of not being their true selves, instead of trying to conform to the societal definitions of ‘cool.’

So aye, we brought our drum and this is how we dance
No mistakin’, we make our breaks, if you don’t like our 808s
Then leave us alone, cause we don’t need your policies
We have no apologies for being…

How often do those with mental health issues and illnesses feel this way – outcast, shamed, mocked, uncool… until they are silenced and afraid to be themselves, their wild selves. It is especially hard for adolescents, teens, and young adults. The pressure to be ‘cool’ is always on.

But cool is being yourself. Cool is being open and real with who you are – mental illness, scars, struggles, pain, and all.

Have no apologies for being.

With our stories and characters, Misread Press is dedicated to helping our readers to be confident in themselves, to empower them, and to give them a place to feel understood – “where the wild things are” – in our case, where the ‘misread’ are.

Check out more on Alessia Cara on her website. And follow her on TwitterFacebookYouTubeTumblrVine, & Spotify!

It Looked Like Nothing

Today, Brandon Stanton, the photographer who created and maintains Humans of New York (HONY), captured the image and words of a man who once mocked mental illness and later realized how real it can be.

“I knew a girl in high school that always complained about having anxiety.  I used to make fun of her a little bit. It looked like nothing to me. So I assumed it was nothing.”

Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mental illness and struggles usually do LOOK like nothing. You often can’t see the pain, the suffering, the wounds – sometimes you can see the scars – but it doesn’t look like anything or ever any one thing. Mental health issues affect all of us it just is a matter of when or how. But know you are not alone, and there is help.

“I knew a girl in high school that always complained about having anxiety. I used to make fun of her a little bit. It looked like nothing to me. So I assumed it was nothing. And I dealt with it by trying to convince her that it was nothing. I called her recently to apologize. I’ve had really bad anxiety ever since my father died. And it’s definitely not nothing. It’s the indescribable fear of nothing.”

Writing a YA Novel – What NOT To Do

This article posted in the Writer’s Digest today, teen reader and writer, Jamie Margolin, is pretty spot on!

Just like writing any other book, you have to really get into character.

Watch trying to take on that “teen-speak,” YA readers get annoyed by ‘love at first sight’ situations and it’s 99.9% of all romance novels for teens, the “troubled teen” character has gotten old, even teen readers are tired of stereotyped characters, and most writers really aren’t getting the “strong female character” right – making her macho, emotionless, ‘tough.’ Lastly, cut the “happily every afters.” They, too, know that life isn’t tied up neatly in the end, and that things are always messy.

Check out Margolin’s post for more on these 6 tips!

 

Meaning behind the Logo

If you were wondering, our logo carries a 3-dimensional and powerful meaning. Mental illness can often feel like an unmovable, painful, heavy burden – the elephant. Stigma and shame keep people from talking about mental health: the elephant in the room.

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up.” – Robert Tew

The white and black are meant to express a representation of yin and yang. Yin and yang describes how opposing forces are in actuality complementary, connected, and dependent on one another.  Mental illness is often in opposition of what you want for yourself but is also a part of you and your story. Your experiences and situation can be used in harmony to your benefit.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths… Beautiful people do not just happen.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

The girl sits back to back with the elephant symbolizing that she has come to terms with her struggles, her illness, and/or her confidence to talk about these issues and be open about her story and true self.  Our books (and communities), like that which she reads, are meant to be an aid in this process and to empower adolescents and young adults to embrace themselves fully and be catalysts for the elimination of mental health stigma.

You are not alone. You can overcome and be confident in sharing your story, and in doing so, help others do the same. You are beautiful!

Link of Hearts

Check out Link of Hearts, LOH, a company that creates products designed with a purpose – “to inspire and connect with someone directly, to touch one’s heart and encourage someone get through the day, and be a voice for mental illness.” Each piece is created with inspirational words and phrases, many of which are customizable. These pieces are simple yet powerful and act as a daily reminder of hope.

loh

Here is a promo video for their recent event in Venice, CA to raise awareness for depression during Mental Illness Awareness Week back in October.  What a great company! We aspire to offer the same hope, confidence, and feeling of self-worth to our readers and fans.

The next event is in May, “Hearts & Hopes,” for Mental Health Awareness Week. Stay up to date on those details by following their site and on social media!

YOU CAN GET THROUGH THE DAY BUT ASPIRE TO CONQUER THE DAY.

You can find their lovely products – jewelry and candles – here.

We are excited about a potential partnership with them. More on that in the coming weeks!

LISTEN

From Wear Your Label:

“How often do we really listen? From Teen Truth co-creator Erahm Christopher and producer Brooke Dooley, LISTEN The Movie focuses on the powerful impact one moment can have on another person – and more importantly, what happens when that moment is missed. LISTEN unearths issues of mental illness and breaks down stigmas surrounding age, social, economic and ethnic differences. Inspired by real youth all over the world dying to be heard.”

Listen.

 You could change someone’s entire life with just one simple act. Always listen. Always be aware. There is a difference between hearing and listening. And listen closely, because many suffering – mental illness or not – are afraid to speak up. Be a positive influence – for yourself, for your family and friends, those around you, and those you don’t know at all.
Who knows what someone else is going through? You don’t. Until you listen.
Don’t misread a situation or person.

 

*Wear Your Label is  a clothing company dedicated to starting conversations about mental health and encouraging individuals to take ownership over their own, rather than living in fear of the labels so often define us. to create conversations about mental health. Fashion tackling the stigma of mental illness:

What do I call you?

1 in 5 is often misread because 1 in 5 experience mental illness in a given year according to NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness).
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Someone asked me last night, “So if you and people like you don’t like being called ‘crazy,’ then what else am I supposed to call you?”

“A person.” I said with raised eyebrows.

That sent him blushing and staring into his drink, ignoring the tension. We don’t call people with cancer, ‘cancerous people.’ We refer to them as a person who is sick, or a person who has cancer. We are just people. Just like any other person. And, yes, we might have a disease or a passing illness, as some are, but that doesn’t make us ‘crazy.’ We are just one of the many millions who are so often misunderstood and misread.
43 million (not accounting for children) experience mental illness, and the total population is 318 million. That’s 13.5% of all US inhabitants.
Be confident in who you are – mental issues or not. Be comfortable in your skin – scars and all.
Know that you are not alone.

“To be great is to be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

92% still love print!

A recent article in Huffington Post affirmed what Misread Press already knew to be true – print is far from dead. We aren’t surprised, though, according to headlines we should be… a recent study found that 92% of students preferred a truly tangible, ink-on-paper book – and the main reason was “the smell of old books.”

Other reasons for this continued love and preference for print books:

  • Being able to truly see and feel the progress you’ve made while reading – rather than making an onscreen percentage.
  • E-books aren’t as waterproof.
  • Students/readers spend enough time starting at screens, which often ends in headaches and sore eyes. You don’t get that with print books.

We agree, but digital is wonderful in its own right! Misread Press plans to publish our books in e-book and print format to satisfy readers who like digital, who like print, and who like both.

What do you think? Print? E-books? Or both?