John Green: An author aiming to change lives
This name has probably appeared on your bookshelf at some point, but the story behind the name is so much more important. He bought us the famously heart wrenching ‘The Fault in our Stars’, and his beautifully written first novel ‘Looking for Alaska’, of course it’s John Green.
John Green spent his early life moving from different schools, and said that his teenage years were miserable due to being bullied. He graduated with a double major in English and Religious Studies, this fuelled the fire in him to take his religion more seriously.
His intention was to become a priest.
After graduation, Green spent five months working as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital. His intention was to become a priest, but his experiences of working with children with life threatening illnesses gave him the idea for ‘The Fault in our Stars’, and he decided to become a writer.
With a flair for writing and a sensitive soul, Green knew that he could write about very delicate topics and normalise the characters that are dealing with illness and loss. He opens up about his sensitivity and how he deals with his mental health, and by opening up he can encourage others to feel open too, particularly as his audience is generally teenage based.
John joined with his brother Hank to create a Vlogbrothers channel in which they discuss topics such as religion, philosophy, and mental health.
John uses this channel to open up about his OCD and how this affects him. He also suffers with labyrinthitis, which is an ear infection that can cause you to feel dizzy and unbalanced. He believes that mental health is stigmatised as not being as important as physical illness, and in a YouTube video about his OCD, says that mental illness is “highly stigmatised and sometimes romanticised”, he uses the example of a police detective with OCD who manages to crack the case more effectively than others could.
Please, please, seek help.
John Green states that his mental illness doesn’t have any “super power side effects”, and his writing of the book ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ attempts to discuss what life is like living with thought spirals. His biggest encouragement at the end of the video is to “please, please, seek help”, and he adds useful links below to help those who are struggling.
Using his fame to discuss sensitive topics that others may avoid makes John Green a real inspiration. The Vlogbrothers promote and support humanitarian efforts, fundraisers and mental health charities.
They hope to stop the stigma of mental health.
In doing this, they hope to stop the stigma of mental health and encourage it to be treated with the same effort as treating a broken bone. He is also a great believer in education, and his Ted Talk ‘Learning is Awesome’ and his video titled ‘An Open Letter to Students Returning to School’ both discuss the importance of education but have an understanding of why education in schools may not be for everyone.
So be inspired by John Green today! Be open about your mental health and don’t be ashamed to seek help, follow your passions and take time to fully understand others.