T. A. Hernandez
Book Review: Get In My Head - Daniel's Story by SM Holland
I've been a fan of S. M. Holland's Get In My Head series since the first book came out, especially as a social work student and now a mental health professional working with children and teens. The author always handles these subjects with great care and sensitivity while also maintaining authenticity in how mental illnesses can affect a young person. In Daniel's Story, we meet a young man whose OCD spirals out of control when his parents decide to get a divorce, triggering some very intrusive negative thoughts and compulsions. We watch Daniel go from being on top of the world to hitting rock bottom and then slowly clawing his way back with the support of those around him. And that journey back is what I love so much about these books. They're full of hope, showing not just the pain and turmoil that can come from mental health issues, but also how people can and do bravely fight for themselves, learn about themselves, and find ways to cope, survive, and thrive. Daniel's Story ties in pretty closely to another one of my favorite books in this series, Sara's Story, so that was kind of fun. And as a therapist, I have to say that I really appreciated the positive representation of the therapist character in this book. He was a little quirky, but he also came across as being genuine and skilled. So, so often, I see fictional therapists depicted as being incompetent or unethical or even predatory, and while those types of therapists are certainly out there, most of us are just genuinely trying to help people. It was refreshing to see a more positive portrayal here. It was also interesting to see a more nuanced portrayal of OCD, with a focus on the intrusive thoughts that are a key feature of OCD. We got to see how those thoughts affected Daniel and where they might have come from for him. A lot of times, people think OCD is just about needing things to be organized or clean, and it's so much more than that. This book really dives into that, which I appreciated. If you're looking for a book that deals with mental health issues in a realistic but sensitive way, I would highly recommend this book and any of the others in the Get In My Head series.