Charlie Hill has a promising job, a wonderful best friend, a perfect husband, and an anxiety disorder that she is desperately trying to hide from the rest of the world. But the stark reality comes to light when an unexpected event puts Charlie in a position to make the most important decision of her life and risk everything in the process. Trapped introduces a woman on the brink, trying to gain control of a situation that is becoming increasingly impossible, who believes that no matter what she chooses she loses. No matter what she does, no matter what she says, it’s all her fault. It will always be her fault. Charlie is about to learn that sometimes when we wait too long to decide what we really want life goes ahead and chooses for us.
Why This Novella Matters
Millions of people every day suffer with mental illness, and I’m one of them. As someone who struggles daily with anxiety and depression I know that one of the most debilitating aspects of mental illness is the feeling that you are completely and utterly alone – that no one else understands how you are feeling. I wrote this book because I’ve been there. I’ve lost sight of everything I hoped for: my dreams, my future. I’ve spent my entire life struggling, trying to contain the inner chaos that is my mind. But through my struggles I’ve learnt something: I am not alone. For thousands of years people have suffered with mental disorders – and we will continue to do so – for some of us, it’s just part of being human. You are not alone either, and I hope that reading this book will help you recognize that.
About the Author
Latasha Schaller’s life has centered on her love of the written word, she even has a few tattooed on her body as a reminder of their power. It’s not difficult to understand, then, why this avid reader chose to complete her Honours Bachelor of Arts in English or her Masters in English at Lakehead University in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. While post-secondary education is not a requirement for becoming a writer, Latasha found that it opened her eyes to a new world of critical thinking and self-examination that has made her writing more powerful.
Trapped is Latasha’s first novel and far from her last. She knows firsthand the struggle through the darkness into the light and will continue to use her writing to help others with their own fight.
Excerpt from Trapped
“Charlie, are you okay?” The quiet tears quickly build into a sob as I continue reading the inscription. I’m shaking uncontrollably I’m crying so violently, letting out everything that I have been desperately trying to hold in.
“This – I – You – I…” I can barely get anything out. I’m ugly crying now but it won’t stop. The only response I can make is a shake of the head, ‘yes.’ I can see his body relax. I give myself a few minutes to calm down before trying to speak again, knowing that if I try too soon it will only bring on another wave of crying. “Thank you, this is – this means so much to me. You mean so much to me, and I couldn’t do this without you. I’ve been so scared that you’re still having a difficult time accepting this. So reading this? It just means a lot. I know it bothers you that I need to see a psychiatrist, it’s just that –”
“No, Charlie, please don’t think that. It’s not that I’m bothered by it; it’s just…I just feel useless sometimes, like I should be able to help you but I can’t. I know there are times, even in the past, when something has been bothering you but you won’t talk about it with me. And I don’t want to force you to talk about things with me if you don’t want to…so I don’t push.” I can hear the sadness creep into his voice and I begin crying again. I’ve hurt the man that I love without even realizing it. Am I always this oblivious to the effects of my actions? How many times have I unknowingly hurt him?
“It’s never that I don’t want to talk to you about something. I don’t want to burden you with my problems. The majority of the things I get upset about are all in my head – they’re things I’ve created in my own mind and they rarely have anything to do with anything that you, or anyone else for that matter, has done or said. I don’t like talking about it because I know it’s all in my head; they’re my own problems to deal with.
“But I don’t want you to ever think you aren’t enough for me or that I don’t want you to help me. Because that has never been the case. There is no one in the world that I trust more than you or that I feel more comfortable with. You’ve definitely seen my crazy more than anyone else has because I know you can handle it and I don’t want to hide things from you. It’s just…I need to talk to the psychiatrist because he’s someone completely removed from my world – he can view my life and anxiety impartially. This is what he does for a living – helping people – and there are just some burdens that I can’t ask you to carry. I know that you would, but I just can’t.”
The car is quiet for a few minutes as both of us sit there letting my words seep in. I hope he understands what I’m trying to say because I honestly can’t think of another way to say it. I don’t know how to explain the fact that there are just some things about myself that I can’t let him see or know. It would kill me for him to see just how broken and crazy I am. I know he loves me, but…I don’t know if he would still love me if I let him see everything, if I showed him just how fucked up I am. I can’t risk it. I’ve shown him more than anyone I have ever known, but I can’t risk it. I don’t like this side of myself so how could I expect him to? There are some thoughts and feelings that are better left unsaid.
We pull up to the house with the remaining presents still left unopened on my lap. The only noise either of us makes as we go inside is the closing of the car doors and the jingling of the keys as Patrick lets us inside the house. Did I say something wrong? Did I make things worse? The silence is closing in around me. Suffocating me. I’m about to say something to break it when he pulls me in for a hug; I let the presents fall to the floor as I wrap my arms around him, burying my face in his neck. I breath in deeply, instantly calmed by his embrace and the comforting combination of his deodorant, body wash, and cologne. He makes fun of me when I say that he smells good, but there’s just something about it that feels like home.
“I hope none of that was breakable,” I whisper. He quietly laughs.
“No, we’re all good.” But he’s not just talking about the presents anymore.