Poe, Mental Health, Let’s Talk


209 years ago Edgar Allan Poe was born. Known predominantly for his macabre poetry and stories, he is also considered the creator of modern detective fiction. His works have influenced literature worldwide. The appetite for Poe hasn’t diminished in two centuries.

Jamie Poole’s best friend is Lenore Taylor. There are references to ravens throughout the series. Less than subtle nods to a great author.

Many may forget that Edgar Allan Poe’s life was troubled with mental health issues. His death is swathed in the mystery of how exactly he died. Conspiracy theories abound. What is known is on October 3, 1849 he was found delirious and in distress after going missing. Conspiracies center on where he might have been. Was he taken against his will? Why? He never recovered, dying on October 7.

Edgar Poe was born January 19, 1809. “Allan” wasn’t added until later--after his father abandoned the family and his mother died of consumption. He was taken in by the Allan family who named him Edgar Allan Poe.

His life was marked by many tragedies beginning with the loss of his parents. There were successes. He served in the military. He worked as an editor. He married. His wife died. Love wasn’t always a successful venture. This is not meant to be a thorough biography of his life.

He was a great author. He also struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs. This may have attributed to the mysterious events leading to his death. It is sad to think that someone who has given countless readers pleasure died under unfortunate conditions.

In Canada January is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the USA it is May. Regardless of what month is set aside, it is important to be cognizant of mental health issues. Science is discovering insight into PTSD and new treatments. More awareness is growing around mental health. More work is needed. People with mental health conditions are often plagued with stigma and discrimination. It can be too easy to stereotype.

I’ve lost friends to depression. People close to me deal daily with mental health issues. I bet you can relate. Not only does Lenore reflect my love of Poe, she reflects the shadow of the mental health struggle, including the stigma. She reveals in The Tome of Tubal-Cain that her mother is diagnosed with a disorder.

The Jamie Poole Book series is science fiction-historical fantasy. It also reflects real life. Real life includes dealing with mental health. Lenore Taylor struggles with her family dynamics. If we were honest, we have all experienced this in one way or other. It might be our family. It might be our friend’s or someone’s we know.

A solution for mental health issues will never be simple, because, hey, this is life! But there will never be a solution if we never talk about it. Regardless the month set aside to discuss mental health, it’s a discussion worth having. Let’s talk. #BellLetsTalk

#EdgarAllanPoe #writing

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