Monday 8 May 2017

An Honest Account of Depression | Night Shift by Debi Gliori

This week is Mental Health Awareness week in the UK and today I wanted to talk about a book that conveys the experience of depression through a beautifully illustrated metaphor. Night Shift by Debi Gliori is a picture book which cleverly and accurately portrays the experience of having depression. Through stunning monochrome illustrations and a sprinkling of text, Debi Gliori explores how depression can affect a person's entire outlook on everyday life.

Debi Gliori uses the image of a dragon as a metaphor for depression, in legends these monstrous yet elusive beasts blacken, destroy, pick fights with small creatures and are notoriously difficult to defeat. Gliori's words and illustrations capture something that 'there is no language for' and include a reminder that there might not be a knight in shining armour but at some point, there will be a shift.

I believe that books like this are important in a number of ways. As more and more books on the topic of depression are published, the stigma surrounding it and other mental health issues is gradually tackled. It is almost impossible to understand the full effects of depression unless you have experienced it yourself and it is also frustratingly difficult to explain its effects to someone who hasn't experienced it. So creatively diverse and clever books like Night Shift are a great way of communicating the effects of depression through metaphor, in the same vein as Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive (which I loved, review here). They are a great resource to pass along to friends and family and I think they would be particularly useful in mental health education in schools.

I recently opened up about my own mental health and I can relate to the thoughts and feelings that are portrayed within Night Shift as well as the aforementioned shift. Depression isn't a disease that is ever completely vanquished, I believe that, at least for me, it will always be there, constantly shifting, sometimes prevalent and other times at bay.

Depression is huge and complex and almost impossible to explain, almost, but Night Shift proves that it's effects can be conveyed, and in this case, beautifully.

I received this book for free from Hot Key Books. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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