Entangled in Darkness

Entangled in Darkness - Lindsey Webster Lindsey Webster has provided a dark and gritty portrayal of bipolar disorder in Entangled in Darkness. Annalyn is initially a happy teenager heading off to college and her first apartment. Her family is dysfunctional at best and she is glad to leave the drama behind but hesitant to leave her youngest sister Janey. Annalyn has moved in with her best friend Lexie and is fully prepared to being "an adult" or is she?

The first days of college can be overwhelming but Annalyn seems to be drowning in thoughts of not fitting in and meeting expectations. She rapidly spirals down into a depression that is as painful as it is puzzling. She stops going to classes, becomes paranoid about others’ behavior and speech, and finally stays in bed neglecting her physical hygiene. At first I wondered why neither Lexie nor Annalyn's mother sought mental health support for someone so obviously depressed and paranoid. The reason's why became slightly more apparent the more I read. This deep depression is followed by a suicide attempt, which again is not treated, only to be followed by a manic episode. It is the mania that results in an arrest and mental health intervention in the form of a hospitalization and medical treatment. Annalyn's mother insists that she is in the right place and refuses to allow her to leave while the father loudly proclaims that he'll have his lawyers get her out in no time.

The sad truth is that mental illness impacts the entire family not just the individual. Annalyn's illness adversely affects her younger sister Janey, who might be showing early signs of the disease as well. The father has a history of mental illness and also attempted suicide as a young adult, but is in serious denial about being "labeled" and feels he has the problem under control. The mother simply feels that the father has "moods" and everyone should be accommodating and is truly unaware of his past mental health history. This denial of the reality of mental illness ultimately results in tragedy. Entangled in Darkness is not for the faint of heart but it does provide an interesting and realistic glimpse into the horror of untreated, and poorly treated, mental illness.