I recently decided to spend some time at my mom’s place for the past week for a change in pace. I thought I could get some writing done without my usual distractions but found new ones instead. One particular thing that caught my attention was Like a Thorn by Clara Vidal. I remember picking up the book during my first year of college at a used-book store. I didn’t think much of it during my first read-through; now, having met with people who suffer from mental health issues, I’ve gained a newfound respect and appreciation for the book.
The story is about Melie’s decadence into mental depression and serious obsessive compulsive disorder. The story of her confusion, fear, and unhappiness is beautifully crafted. Vidal slowly lures you in with curiosity and concern for Melie and then suddenly drops you in a maze of hopelessness and confusion when you least expect it. It has several fits of ups and downs; giving you a light of hope one moment, then crushing it the next.
Like A Thorn is a book about the fear and confusion of growing up knowing that something is wrong but not knowing what. It is an outstanding read, but it is not very pleasant. The book subtly emphasizes of taking mental illnesses seriously, no matter the case.
Very recently, an initiative by the Philippine Psychiatric Association was started in order to protect the rights of the people with mental disabilities by petitioning the passing of Senate Bill 2450 Mental Health Act. The cause is supported by various personalities including RA Rivera, Rico Blanco, Jasmine Curtis Smith, and Agot Isidro. Visit MHActnow.org to learn more.
I highly recommend the Like A Thorn if you want a peek into the mind of someone who is struggling with mental issues. I believe it is one of the more effective ways of spreading awareness about the mental disabilities.