Lockdown was a not a good experience for so many people, myself included. Whilst those of us who struggled may look back on it primarily with negativity, there were definitely some positive lights in amongst the darkness. Taking the time to say hello to strangers in the street whilst out for your one daily exercise. Being able to spend more time with any pets. Time to start or complete household projects. Time to remember lost hobbies or to start a new hobby.
And now, a plethora of books written by people who had amazing stories to tell but who previously didn’t have the time to put pen to paper, fingertips to keyboard or voice to recorder.
One gem from the lockdown writing boom is “The Opposite of Butterfly Hunting” by Evanna Lynch, written on the subject of her struggle with and recovery from anorexia. If you’ve come across Evanna before you likely know her as Luna Lovegood, however she has appeared in many other roles including theatre appearances.
Evanna came to Yeovil recently to speak about her new book as part of Yeovil Literary Festival 2021. She wore a colourful butterfly skirt which fitted with the title of her book beautifully.
Throughout the event Evanna spoke very openly and articulately about her experience of anorexia and mental health issues. She explained why she had felt she needed to write the book and how she came up with the unusual title. She emphasised the importance of stories, spoke about moments from the book and explained that this book is her lived experience.
Evanna gave advice to people in the audience wanting to write their own novels. A father in the audience asked for advice on how to best support a child suffering from an eating disorder. Evanna also spoke about her passion for animal welfare and veganism and a there was a special mention of her cat Puff.
I personally felt that one of the most important moments of the night was when Evanna spoke about how most self-help books end at the point of the recovery of someone’s physical health, not at the point of the recovery of someone’s mental health. She felt it was important to end her story after her mental health recovery.
The subject of the book can be quite heavy at times and there is a warning for her younger fans in the Author’s Note before the book begins, as well a warning for those who might come across triggers within the narrative. She spoke about how she still recognises her triggers, but that she no longer steps back into the darkness when a trigger arises. She also told the audience how creativity has helped her immensely, including learning circus skills.
My hope is that honest tellings of lived experiences on the subject of mental health conditions such as Evanna’s book will be another important step forward in the continuation of breaking down the wall of stigma which has surrounded mental health.
Evanna stayed after the event to sign copies of her book and allowed photographs to be taken with her, engaging with everyone she signed for.
From the Author’s Note: “More than anything else, I hope this story helps you find the lighted path out of your own darkness.”
If you feel you need any help or advice regarding anorexia or another eating disorder, or if you are concerned about a family member, friend or colleague, then please visit: