Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Guest Post: Advice I Ignored: Stories and Wisdom From a Formerly Depressed Teen by Ruby Walker

The first book about teenage depression written by a teenager!
A self-help book for people who hate help. And themselves.

Book Details:
        Paperback: 169 pages
        Publisher: Ruby Walker (September 5, 2019)
        Language: English
        ISBN-10: 1733478973
        ISBN-13: 978-1733478977
        Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches

Advice I Ignored: Stories and Wisdom from a Formerly Depressed Teen

When Ruby Walker was 15 going on 16, she went from a numb, silent, miserable high school dropout to a joyous loudmouth in one year flat. Advice I Ignored answers the question everyone's been asking her since: What happened?
Full of stories, honest advice, fierce hope, and over 100 hand-inked illustrations, Advice I Ignored is an important resource for teens suffering from depression (which has reached epidemic proportions), parents who have one, and educators who want to help. Applicable for adults suffering too!

     4 tips on how to gain a sense of free will and finally start taking showers again
     Self-talk: 3 ways to stop bullying yourself and learn how to start talking to yourself like you talk to your friends
     7 steps to stop the hate and treat yourself right
     Opening up about sexual abuse/trauma
     Advice for parents whose teens are suffering from depression
     For parents and educators - signs to look for that a teen needs help, and what to do
     Advice on how to start exercising to fix your brain chemistry
     The importance of planning: making lots of small goals = accomplishing a big goal
     4 lies your trauma is telling you and why you must not believe them
     4 ways to find some quiet, make friends with boredom, and give yourself a break
     Art and writing as a creative outlet for coping with depression


     April is Stress Awareness Month
     April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
     April is Counseling Awareness Month
     May is Mental Health Awareness Month
     September is Suicide Prevention Month

Ruby Walker is an 18-year-old college student, artist and writer. Ruby grew up in Austin, moved down to Buda (TX), dropped out of high school, earned herself full tuition to a private university, and is currently studying art at Trinity University in San Antonio. Advice I Ignored: Stories and Wisdom from a Formerly Depressed Teen is the only book on teenage mental health actually written by a teenager.

Author’s Website:
Author’s Twitter:

Why’d you draw that? A behind-the-scenes look into teen author Ruby Walker’s illustration process.

This illustration is from chapter six, which is all about creativity! For me, being creative is how I tell the world, “I’m here, I’m important, and I’m not going to fade away into nothing.” When I think about that kind of defiant energy, my mind immediately jumps to this Walt Whitman quote:

"I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
 I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."


The illustration formed naturally out of that idea - the catharsis of shouting so loud, you don’t care who hears.

Chapter ten of Advice I Ignored is all about the importance of being alone sometimes. Here, I needed an illustration to fit with a passage about the fear of being alone:  "I was so caught up in running away, I couldn't look back to see what I was even running from ... The not-knowing only made my fear more potent. Here is what I did know: I couldn’t remember the last time my mind had felt like a safe place to enter alone."


I always liked the idea of an unseen monster. So for this illustration, I took inspiration from a poster for my favorite horror movie: the 1977 version of Suspiria.


This sculpture by contemporary artist Christina Bothwell stuck in my mind for years. It’s something I talk about in the book a lot: the feeling of being outside your body somehow, disconnected from the real world. Feeling unreal.


 Some of the illustrations took direct inspiration from memes… because, y’know, the internet is an inescapable part of my life.

 While I didn’t exactly base this illustration off of Matisse, I definitely think his work seeped into my style a lot. Putting things off-kilter and off-perspective creates an unsettling feeling that I wanted to use. Like “Oh, the whole world is crazy, everyone is staring at me.”


For a lot of the illustrations, I did the first draft in MS paint! Sometimes it’s kind of freeing to work with a program that has very few features. It forces you to simplify.

 I know it’s extremely cliche, but for this illustration I did really just ape off of Starry Night.

This one was a throwback! I did the first drawing in 2016, based on a lyric from Guns for Hands, a Twenty One Pilots song I was really into at the time. The lyric goes, “And you swear to your parents, it’ll never happen again, I know, I know what that means. I know.” For the final version I ended up blacking out the words, because the truth was, nobody ever knew that I had self-harmed until years after I quit.