The Scars We Choose

One of the many ideas on my To-Write list was a novel about a PTSD patient. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has always fascinated me, but I didn't study it too much until psychology class last semester. If you'r'e unfamiliar with PTSD, it used to be known as shell-shock and was linked to soldiers in combat. It develops after a traumatic experience and is characterized by flashbacks, nightmares and continuous fear. We know now that anyone can get PTSD: car accident survivors, abuse victims, and nurses. You could even develop PTSD from watching something traumatic, like coverage of a natural disaster on TV.

Causes, symptoms and statistics on PTSD, not here, about half of all children who have been abused.:

I was disappointed when we only skimmed over PTSD in psychology. I started to research like a madman (I'm good at that) and discovered that there isn't much awareness for PTSD. Sure, there are some movies and TV shows where a character might have the disease. But the stories don't even begin to touch on what PTSD really is.

I decided that I wanted to write this novel more than ever. Characters and the beginning of a plot began to take shape. As I continue my research, it's amazing to see how much PTSD affects not only the patient, but everyone around them. There seems to be an idea that people with PTSD are dangerous -- and they can be -- but that isn't always the cause. I want that to come through in my novel.

And so was born The Scars We Choose. A nurse with a lot of baggage tells the story of Alex, a soldier with PTSD. The nurse, Ellie, dreads having to work with a PTSD patient, but the two end up bonding over their love of classic books (even though he hates her favorite book and she hates his), the Beatles, and their love of creating artsy things (he writes, she draws). Both of their worlds are falling apart in some way, so they take comfort in knowing that they're broken together.

I love both of these characters so much. Ellie deals with anxiety because of an accident with her older brother, and Alex acts tough and unapproachable, but he's really just a ginormous teddy bear. Since this novel is about PTSD and depression, it will have more of a dark undertone, which is something I'm nervous about. But my goal is to leave readers feeling hopeful not only about PTSD, but also about other mental health issues.

What are your latest writing projects? Have you ever written a novel about mental health? Do you have any tips?



  1. I've had PTSD awareness since the Hunger Games, because Katniss has it. It was a real eye-opener. Several my characters have it from past experience and I've done extensive research on it. It's neat that you're writing a book that focuses on the subject.

    1. The Hunger Games was an eye-opener for me, too. This is going to sound strange, but I'm glad that Suzanne Collins gave Katniss PTSD -- it would have been extremely unrealistic for her not to develop it after everything she went through. It seems like a lot of the time authors put their characters through trauma and then they have no emotional change whatsoever.


  2. This book sounds amazing. Omg. <3

    1. Thank you so much, you have no idea what that means to me ^_^ <3


Thanks for taking the time to comment--I read and reply to each one!

All content belongs to me, Emily, unless otherwise stated. Powered by Blogger.