One day while my mom was grocery shopping and told me to wait for her, I went to the book section of the store and noticed the Nick Traina biography, His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina, written by his mother, Danielle Steel. As I perused the pages and cover, I realized a different side to Nick, a much more vulnerable persona than his rebellious, punk rock, Link 80 one. I also began to see the tragic aspects of his story, his life cut horribly short by mental illness. As a teenager with my own struggles with mental illness and as a huge Link 80 fan, I instantly and deeply identified with the subject and subject matter of the biography, even though the events of Nick’s life were to end up differing drastically from my own. I wanted to take the book home, but my mother, a librarian, wouldn’t usually buy books, saying that I should check them out from the library instead.
I never ended up reading the whole biography (it must have not been available at the library), although every time I was at the grocery store waiting for my mom, I would read snippets until it was time to go. Recently, however, I was able to check out the eBook version from my hometown’s library district. I’ve barely started reading (I think I’m on the third chapter), but I’m enamored with the book all over again; this time I hope to complete the biography with the dual consciousness that I’ve gained from being the same person dealing with similar issues and having the memories from my original reading but now also having the insight that comes from experience. I’m not reviewing the book other than to say I love it, yet I’m also obviously biased, but I can’t wait to see how reading Nick Traina’s biography contributes to my album review of 17 Reasons.
Tonight, I’m starting to feel like I’m trying to write a book report without having read the book. That’s okay, considering I didn’t want this to turn into a book review as well as a music review. Having said that, I haven’t been able to read any more of His Bright Light since posting the beginning of Part II in this blog entry. This is the continuation of Part II, but I haven’t continued reading His Bright Light because I’ve been too busy navigating the mental health system myself. I’ve also arrived at a realization that changes my blogging dynamic: In a previous blog entry, I asserted that I do not consider myself a “psychiatric survivor,” and I would like to take that statement back with this post and now claim that I do consider myself a psychiatric survivor but perhaps not according to the conventional definitions of this term.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to say that Nick Traina was killed by mental illness or that I should feel survivor’s guilt because I was spared by mental illness. A mental disorder appears as a very abstract threat, yet right now, to me, the mental healthcare system seems to provide concrete threats to my mental well-being and my physical health as well, the exact opposite of how things should be. So, I’m going to try to address my issues on as many levels as I can with approaches that correspond to my problems. I will take a week off from this music review next week and turn my blog into a poetry blog as I had planned to do awhile ago; I’ll just be a little late adhering to the planned itinerary. I will think and podcast about my current experiences in the mental health system as I finish reading His Bright Light. Then, the week after next, I should be able to conclude this music review series with a Part III that ties everything together.