I definitely think #2 is THE way to go, and not just as your “no good terrible book idea” but like I actually really think it’s a book that NEEDS to be written and it’s a book that I don’t have a tough time thinking that probably NOBODY IS WRITING IT. I imagine there are a gaggle of new-ish moms out there writing about various levels of pre and postpartum depression, psychosis, and/or related nightmares, if only because it’s kind of on-trend right now. (Not mental illness so much as normalizing all pregnancy experiences and all choices in raising our children, rather than demonizing people who had a different experience or made a different choice than we did…for example breastfeeding, taking psych meds or not, abortion, just to name a few…)

But I don’t think nearly enough discussion is happening around your 2nd idea. I had a very good friend who was raised by religiously zealous parents. They were also enormously abusive. They raised her to believe she should be steeped in guilt for every decision she made. She couldn’t win, so she just kept losing. I can’t even tell you how many times she was sexually assaulted, and then blamed for it. Her entire adulthood was about getting over her childhood, but she never did stop WISHING her answers were at the church. She finally gave up after being seduced by her pastor (she worked in the office), who threw her under the bus when his wife found out, and accused her of being a demon sent to lure him away from his good work for the Lord, after which she was categorically shunned by the entire congregation. It broke her. She developed an autoimmune disorder and accompanying severe pain, which she was medicated for. That went on for 2 or 3 years, until she died at 35 of a Fentanyl overdose, leaving behind a 14 year-old daughter and a severely autistic 8 year-old son. When they found her she was wearing 7 pain patches. Her pain wouldn’t subside, and she kept forgetting she’d already put one on because it still hurt. Doc fail, big time. My friend could really have used no good terrible book idea #2 when she was a teenager. Knowing she wasn’t alone, and that there was a way through, may have impacted her life in a big way.

Besides, you want to help teens. Everything else comes after, so if you can catch them young and offer the hope early, maybe it will lessen the impact of whatever else is yet to come. Please do it. I’d buy the book, and I’m not young or religious. And I was ever only one of those in the first place. :)

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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