Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger
I don't like seeing or hearing about people who feel it's necessary to hide mental illness. I get it, but I wish those people would have the courage to speak up. So many people from all walks of life deal with depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar, and so many other forms of mental illness.
For that reason, I appreciated the story in Six Goodbyes We Never Said. Naima Rodriquez struggles with OCD and generalized anxiety disorder. Her military father's death has only made that harder. While she used to become anxious when he deployed, now she's experiencing the worst in that she'll never see him again. That said, she doesn't want you to talk about it. Hence a lot of the agitation between her and her step-mom.
Andrew, Dew for short, is also suffering. The sudden death of both parents has left him alone. Anxiety attacks have become the daily norm for him. Social anxiety has become his biggest challenge. Naima's appearance in his town has the power to change everything.
When my daughter was almost two, I suffered an attack at night right as I fell asleep. I had no idea what it was. I knew my heart was pounding, I couldn't breathe, my chest hurt, my hands and feet were numb, and it felt like someone smeared BenGay on my skin. Doctors at the ER found nothing wrong with me and sent me home with heart medications to slow my heart rate down.
I've been there. I connected with Dew more than Naima, but both characters' experiences rang true. I was happy to see their stories told in an honest manner. There was no sugar coating what they experienced. Their grief was real.
The story didn't always keep me hooked. There were times I felt it was plodding along. That said, I definitely remember feeling like I was also plodding along just trying to get through a day. That ended up adding to the realism.
If you want an honest, sad, eye-opening look at mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and OCD, read this book. You might learn a few things and understand how to best help someone who is dealing with a mental illness.