Welcome to the world of SIDE EFFECTS, where we will follow college freshman Hannah on her journey to learn how to better care for her mental health…and the supernatural side effects that she struggles with along the way.

When I was in college, after a particularly bad patch of sadness, fear and self-isolation, I was officially diagnosed with depression for the very first time. It was an eye-opening experience, to be able to look back on how I felt over the course of my life and understand WHY I felt the way that I did. Along with therapy and medication, I was able to realize that I didn’t have to feel that way anymore, that there was a path back to myself, and that my depression did not need to define who I was.

This is not an uncommon experience for young adults, many of whom fight invisible battles with their mental health every day. But diagnosis is only the first step in the journey. Along the way many people contend with medication changes, insurance issues and the realization that mental health is as important as physical health…and that seeking treatment for mental illness should not be stigmatized.

The stigma around seeking help for mental illness is what drives SIDE EFFECTS. Hannah exists to shake apart that stigma, to allow more people to talk about their mental health, and the medication and treatments that come along with healing from a mental illness. Like Hannah, I needed friends to help me to the therapist’s office, and although I never developed electrical powers or was able to learn to astral project myself, I did find an even better superpower: learning how to be brave, how to be vulnerable, and how to become my full, true self.

We are hoping that with this book, readers will be able to see themselves in Hannah, in Ella, in Iz, and know they aren’t alone – and that they can help others with the invisible battles they are facing, too. 

Christina Harrington