“They” say you should write about what you know; the truth is far easier to convey than a fabrication. I follow this logic. However; in my experience, I know that this is not always easy. Sometimes it is more difficult to speak the truth than it is to lie. Generates vulnerability. It feels like exposing your whole self to the public in order to reach your target audience. There is wonderfully crafted fiction, well researched non-fiction, and there are beautiful children’s books in the world. My books don’t fit within those parameters. I write about what I know: I write about my experience, and hope to give others strength with my words.
The truth is that when you grow up with a mental illness like mine, you become “self-focused,” according to my therapist. Not “self-centered,” or “selfish.” I have been so aware of my illness from the beginning, and especially attentive for many years concerning the shifts in my mood. “Am I manic? Do I have endless energy? Am I avoiding sleep, feeling it is a waste of time? Am I losing my appetite? Is my handwriting sloppier than usual? Am I talking more than usual, but mumbling incoherently?” or “Am I down? Am I sad and tearful about everything? Am I anxious for unknown reasons? Do I cry every morning because trees are being cut down and I feel that nature has taken a huge hit from mankind? Do I sleep more? Am I feeling ‘not in the mood’ to get out of bed? Am I disinterested in every routine activity? Does it take a lot of work to speak, or even to smile?”
I have been so hyper aware of my moods and trying to control them that I had energy for almost nothing else. My doctor assured me that I am not a selfish person, but have been self-focused for so many years trying to fix the wiring in my head. Nothing is truly broken, but sometimes, I admit, it is harder than others to keep my head above water. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I at age 16. I did not have a good time in high school, when I wasn’t truly awake and aware of my surroundings. This illness progressed, and I am trying to keep up. Sometimes it feels like treading water, but most times I can reach the shore. I ask myself all the time, “How and why did this happen to me?” Of course, I have no answers. No one does. But I squeeze all the lemons I am given, and play the cards I am dealt. I believe that sharing my story and helping others is my purpose in life. Writing words people want to read and need to hear. Writing what I know.
I want to thank all of my readers for your support and interest in my cause. Thank you for tuning in as I release my 100th blog article!
Throughout the one hundred Fridays which led to this day, I have written articles about standing up for what you believe in, being yourself, realizing you are not alone, and defining yourself despite your mental illness. I have told fictional stories, and informed you all about my experience with many areas of mental illness. I have told my story; I have enjoyed sharing it with you. My intent was to instill hope in your life, inspire you, shed light on issues that must be spoken about, and comforted you. Most of all, I hope you feel like part of something big. Perhaps now, you can acknowledge that you are surrounded by others who may share your loneliness. You are not alone. I plan to continue my journey with you. Many stories await.