You may have seen, I recently had a chat with published author S.M. Holland
about mental illness in the realms of fiction.
If you saw my interview, you will already know that thanks to the collaboration, my Quarterly Newsletter subscribers have the chance to win a free eBook copy of her soon-to-be-released book: Get in My Head: Daniel’s Story!
Time’s running out, so make sure you head over and subscribe to go in the draw!
If you’re already subscribed, but want a chance to win, keep an eye out for the January Newsletter that should be turning up in your inbox by the end of the month and follow the instructions there to be in to win.
The bell rings again, but instead of sitting at my desk, my feet are glued to the floor.
Principle Johnson walks out of his office.
“Daniel? Why aren’t you in class? Did you hear the bell ring?”
“Um. Yep. Yes. I did.”
“So, what are you doing?”
“Don’t have a clue.” Because I can’t remember my password, and little Timmy is going to fail at life because I’ve been ditching little readers club and he’s never going to learn how to read and it’s all my fault. I shove my hands in my pockets, because that seems to be the only thing keeping my skin from melting off my fingers.
“Uh, actually. I need to go. Right now.” I turn and run out the door.
“Hey, Daniel? Daniel! I’m calling your parents.” His voice is stern, annoyed. But that only makes me feel worse. Just another person I’m letting down.
I tap the door handle four times before jumping into the driver’s seat of my car. I tear out of the school parking lot and quickly slow down so I don’t cause an accident. It’s a slow creep to my empty house where I race up the stairs, strip off all my clothes and jump in the shower.
I squirt a bunch of soap on the scrub brush, and run it over my skin, making sure I don’t miss an inch. That should be enough scrubbing.
But I can’t stop. I turn the water on as hot as I can stand it, and do it again. Until all the faces of those I’m letting down wash out of my mind and down the drain.
I slowly turn the water off, making sure I catch every last drop on the top of my head and grab a clean towel. The ring from my phone floats into the bathroom, and the calm feeling dissipates. I rush over to my back pack and pull it out just as it goes to voicemail.
“Shit.” Seven missed calls from Mom. But I don’t call her back. I wait until the call back number says eight and then call her back. “Hey-”
“Where are you?” Her voice is rushed and panicked. “Are you okay? Do you need me to come get you?”
I try to hold onto what little tendrils of calm I have left from my shower. “I’m fine. I just had to take a shower-”
“Daniel… You already had one this morning.” Her sigh weighs heavy in my ear. And on my shoulders.
I don’t say anything. What is there to say?
“I think maybe we should see a doctor again-”
“No! Don’t say that. I said I’m fine. I’m headed back to school anyway.” I look down at my hands, slightly raw from all the washing.
More silence. It might as well be fingernails on a chalkboard.
“What time will be you back at school?” She finally asks.
“Maybe before third period.”
“Before third period.”
“I’ll call the school to let them know you’re on your way.”
“Okay.” My heart sinks. I don’t want to go back to school. But I have to go back to school or I’ll lose my class standing.
“I love you. You can talk to me, okay?”
“I know. I love you too, Mom.”
Get in quick!
You have until the 14th of February to be sure you’re in the draw to win a free e-copy of Holland’s soon-to-be-released book, Get in My Head: Daniel’s Story!
S.M. Holland is an author, mental health advocate, and world traveler, currently living in Indonesia. She spends her time writing the “Get In My Head” series, books that focus on teens with mental illness. Her mission is to continue to open conversations about mental health so others can be free to share their stories.
You can find her on the following platforms: