Christian book focusing on mental health

Chandre Campbell (18) has made her debut as an author with the novel ‘Where is Your God?’ – a Christian book focusing on mental health.

She says the novel spotlights depression and suicide, as well as a personal relationship with Christ.

Campbell, who lives at Swakopmund, says she grew up in a religious family.

She says she loves writing as she finds it a great way to learn and it allows her to express her thoughts, emotions and experiences.

“Writing is a way of escaping reality and creating new realities and I love the fact that I can create a whole new world – something no one has ever seen.

“Writing to me is a defence mechanism, a refuge. When I write, I can be anywhere but here. It’s a magical experience and though sometimes stressful, it’s the most aesthetic way of enjoying life,” she says.

Campbell says she writes with her emotions, and aims to create characters readers can relate with.

“Our lead character in the book is Justina Felcon, an 18-year-old girl who lost her parents at a very young age and who lives with her aunt and uncle.

“Her uncle is an alcoholic and is verbally and physically abusive. Justina has a strong and stable relationship with God,” she says.

Campbell says after Felcon’s best friend takes her own life, she descends into depression and ends up blaming God for everything bad that has ever happened to her.

“She deals with the everyday teenage baggage of high school, friendships, drama and of course, a love interest. The book tests the faith of the character and everyone else who has been through difficult times.

“It’s so easy for us to wonder where God is in times of difficulty and for Justina, this is basically just a question she’s asked herself when it felt as if she was alone,” she says.

Campbell says writing the book was a way of creating something beautiful and acknowledging God.

She has been writing since she was 14 years old, she says.

“I’m the kind of person who likes keeping a journal and noting things down, or losing myself in books and short stories. Exactly two years ago, I lost one of my best friends to suicide and the only way I knew how to grieve was through writing down my emotions.

“It eventually ended up turning into a fictional story, with a few of my own life experiences,” she says.

It took her about a year to write the book, she says.

“It’s been such an emotional roller coaster, representing feelings you’re trying to hide and allowing people to read all about the emotions you once felt and things you may have gone through.

“I’d say I fell in love with the characters and the plot, and that just means the world to any writer,” she says.

Campbell says she wanted the seriousness of depression to be recognised and wanted people to see that “even the strongest Christians go through difficult times”.

“It’s not what you have been through, but it’s how you approach your past. The message I tried to give is that it’s okay to feel the way you feel, just trust God’s timing and his decisions. When I first decided to write this book, it was all about the story and about bringing awareness of how serious depression can be.

“I wanted to be the voice of everyone who have battled suicide and I wanted people to understand the raw emotions accompanying it. I wanted the victims who have died at their own hand, or who have attempted suicide to be understood,” she says.

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