“Mental illness turns people inwards. That’s what I reckon. It keeps up forever trapped by the pain of our own minds, in the same way that the pain of a broken leg or a cut thumb will grab your attention, holding it so tightly that your good leg or your good thumb seem to cease to exist.”
Before I talk about what I thought about this book, let me tell you that this was – in a way – an accidental read. I was in the mood of a mystery/thriller read and while I was browsing through my collection, I selected The Shock of The Fall based on its blurb.
Yup, it isn’t pitched correctly. However, I’m glad it happened because it was a heart-breaking and a beautiful book to read – and sometimes that’s what you need to grow as a person.
I have two videos to show you, one of which is also on my Instagram feed and it’s where I share a quick idea of the book and some thoughts (I’ll clip at the end of this post in case you don’t follow me there). The other is how I see a mental illness or discomfort spreading in the mind.
This is how I experienced Matthew’s story in the book, like the frustrated brush strokes and the careful spread of a messy darkness. The book follows the aftermath of his brother, Simon’s death. We’re not sure about what really happened to him and what exactly is Matt going through until a little later in the book. Matt’s story is not in a timely order either, it’s a mix of memories and thoughts like we remember our past to be.
“That was sort of our family portrait. It’s not the kind of thing you think you would miss. Maybe you don’t even notice it at all those thousands of times, sitting between your mum and dad on the big green couch with your brother on the carpet getting in the way of the telly. Maybe you don’t even notice that.
But you notice it when he isn’t there anymore. You notice so many places where he isn’t, and you hear so many of the things he doesn’t say.
I hear them all the time.”
It’s about his struggle to come to terms with Simon’s death and the void he can’t seem to befriend and fill. In many ways, Matt’s story is our story. It’s our own struggles and emotions; and our own form of darkness.
The reason why I feel it’s a must read for everyone is because it’s through this story we can attempt to understand what anyone who deals with any mental discomfort would go through. I relate to it because it’s very similar and yet extremely different from the chronic illness and physical discomfort I had. And I’d like to keep repeating mental and physical illness in the same sentence till people start realising how demanding to be felt and important to be treated they both are. Mental and physical, mental and physical, mental and physical….The physical has pathogens and the mental – something we’re only able to describe as a form of darkness.
“It’s like we each have a wall that separates our dreams from reality, but mine has cracks in it. The dreams can wriggle and squeeze their way through, until it’s hard to know the difference.”
My freind, Apurva, is someone I’ve seen deal with her mental discomfort and this is what she wishes people would know and understand: “It’s a whole world in itself. And no, you just can’t get over it by going out or thinking positive. It’s like having a living universe in your mind. With voices and whispers and thoughts going at each other all the time.
That needs patience. A lot of patience.”
Let me know if you’ve read The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer and how you liked it; or if you’ve read anything similar and would like to suggest some books! Here’s my video I posted on Instagram to share a little something about the book:
Thank you for your time! I’ll see you in my next one!
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