So I guess you could say I am a natural reader.
My mom is a huge bibliophile and I started reading books the second I could read them myself. It was more of a casual thing than anything at the beginning, but as I got older it took on a whole new meaning to me. I have a very unique home life i suppose; my older brother suffers from severe brain damage, and has the mental age of about an 11 month year old child. His physical body never developed properly and he has always needed constant 24 hour care. In saying that, I was usually left to take care of my younger brother, who has Asperger's. I practically raised him if I am being completely honest with you all. Not that this bothers me, I love him to death and it is just the way things played out. It is kind of odd actually, because sometimes he even slips up and calls me mom. It is not that my parents were never present, they just had their hands full. They are lovely and supportive people, and I love them very much. But, because of all of this I was forced to grow up rather fast, and never experienced a "normal" childhood.
As time went on, I noticed something was wrong; I did not feel like myself at all, and I was behaving so out of character to the point where other people would question my actions. I was too afraid to go to a doctor at first in fear of what he would say; I was an example for my brother, a parental figure, so I felt as though I had to be alright no matter what. To make a long story short, I have bipolar disorder. I am not very open about it, and I can literally count on one hand who knows about my illness, and that is including my parents.
In saying this, I was wrongly diagnosed and medicated the first time I went to a doctor, and because of this I was sent into a series of manic episodes. Reality became almost suffocating and I couldn't properly or healthily deal with it, so I found my escape in books. I would read at least a book a day, finding solace in the pages and stories of people I wished I could be.
I started reading the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare when "City of Fallen Angels" was released, and I swear to whatever greater power you believe in that it changed my life. I felt so immersed in the story and I tore through the books in about 4 days. I was so inspired by the characters who literally had the world on their shoulders yet still managed to live life and save the world.
I returned to the doctor and underwent more testing, finally receiving the proper diagnosis and taking the right kinds of medication.
Later on that year I got my first tattoo; I have five at this point in time but I knew that my first one had to be something to do with literature. In saying this, I got a tattoo of the angelic rune from Cassandra Clare's series, and I could not be any happier with it.
I thought that reading in general could not get any better until Cassandra Clare released the Dark Artifices series and I was introduced to Julian Blackthorn. I had never read about a character who was so much like myself and who I could relate to on such a deep level. It was like a floodgate had opened and I just remember crying because I was so overwhelmed. Reading from the point of view of someone who I felt so associated with was like putting a piece back in my head that had gone missing.
Reading is like another form of oxygen for me. It helps me when I relapse or when I just need the company on a lonely night. When I feel like being someone or somewhere else for a while, I know a book can fulfill this need for me.
Books simply make life more bearable, and I am so fortunate to the have the ability to use such a magical tool on a day to day basis. I pray for those who don't have the means to read, and I hope that they too can find a means that brings them happiness.
So to all the authors out there who unknowingly saved me from myself,