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6 Tips For Writers With Bipolar Disorder

Like many bipolar writers (and neurotypical writers), my writing life has been filled with doubt and indecision. I had my own set of rules that constituted what it meant to be a "real" writer. Even after being published in anthologies and starting my freelance writing career, I felt like a fraud, mentally keeping a list of what it meant to be a "real" writer:

Real writers write every day.

Real writers have a book published.

Real writers make money off their writing (even after I did this, I told myself that "real" writers LIVE off the money they make from their writing... I was never going to stop adding reasons that made me feel like I wasn't a legitimate writer.)
What Makes A Real Writer?
Sure, I write often, but not every day. If I do, it might be just a few sentences, and that's not enough, right? And having a book published? I've been working on my book on and off for two years. Who knows when I'll finish it? I'm still growing as a wri…

What To Do When No One Understands Your Mental Illness

One thing every single person who has experienced mental health issues can agree on is the loneliness. From depression and anxiety to the more stigmatized disorders on the psychotic spectrum, our symptoms cut us off from others, especially neurotypicals. Neurotypicals have simply never experienced life through our eyes, so they usually have a hard time understanding what we're going through. However, individuals who do have mental health issues still might not understand because everyone is different and how their symptoms manifest is unique to each person.

Mental Health Issues Are Isolating
I have friends with anxiety and depression. I feel like I should be comfortable discussing my mood disorder with them, but I just don't. I've tried and each time, the conversation falls flat, my cheeks redden. I feel like a freak, and they obviously don't understand how I feel. How could they? How can I expect them to? Having bipolar disorder with symptoms of schizophrenia is vastl…

Book Review: January First by Michael Schofield

Even though I was diagnosed in 2015, I am still learning about myself and my brain illness, schizoaffective disorder. Schizophrenia books like Ben Behind His Voices and The Center Cannot Hold help me understand my symptoms. That's why I picked up January First by Michael Schofield a few weeks ago at Barnes & Noble. I was drawn to the story of a child with child-onset schizophrenia because I had my first hallucination around ten years old. My partner cautioned me against the purchase because he told me it got terrible reviews, but I decided to buy it because of the positive review of Elyn R. Saks on the back of the book:

Riveting and compelling... She is my hero, so I took her word for it. This review is not spoiler free, although I did leave out the incident at the end of the book.
January First Book Review - 2 out 5 stars Characters:Michael Schofield - Author, narrator, and father of Jani.Jani Schofield - Daughter, 4 years old when the book begins.Susan Schofield - Mother an…

Book Review: Turtles All The Way Down By John Green

Not all John Green novels are created equal. In Turtles All the Way Down, we are immersed in the portrait of a young woman deep in the throes of mental illness. Like Green himself, Aza has OCD, and it has completely taken over her life. She lives in constant fear of C. difficile colitis and other infections, a terrible mismatch with her compulsion to keep opening a wound on her finger. Aza's life is something that happens around the focal point of her obsessive thoughts, a perspective that is instantly recognizable to anyone who has been through major mental health trauma. 

Ostensibly, the book sets up a mystery to be solved: where did billionaire Russell Pickett run off to? Aza and her best friend, Daisy, set out to solve the mystery and get the substantial reward for information related to his whereabouts. Along the way Aza reunites with her childhood crush, Davis Pickett, who, in his father's absence, is caring for his younger brother in a massive estate. 

The strength of thi…

Book Review: Don't You Fall Now by Claudia Love Mair

In the beginning I had a beautiful boy. In the middle he lost his mind. And now, at the end — is this the end? – Kamau took to the air on his own wings, and the wind did not hold him.

-Claudia Love Mair
Don’t You Fall Now is June’s book of the month. It’s a memoir about a mother with bipolar disorder whose son Kamau becomes psychotic and falls off a parking structure. It is filled with love. I carried the book around town in my bag as I read it and at times, it felt like I was carrying Mair’s beating heart. There was no holding back. It was so incredibly honest. She shared thoughts we’d all be afraid to admit, ones she felt were selfish or shallow, worrying about her sons looks or wondering if it was better for him to live or die at one point. Her sometimes blunt thoughts were juxtaposed by lyrical prose rife with metaphors about flying. Bird imagery was a theme throughout the entire book that tied the reader back to Kamau’s initial delusion that the birds were telling him he needed to …

Book Review: Firefly Magic by Lauren Sapala

Are you worried that if you really immerse yourself in marketing and selling your work, that you’ll lose touch with the deeper reasons behind your writing?

-Lauren Sapala, Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing For Highly Sensitive Writers

Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing For Highly Sensitive Writers is May's book of the month. It's a nonfiction book published in 2018 by Lauren Sapala. Sapala is a nonfiction and transgressive fiction author and writing coach who specializes in coaching introverted, intuitive writers. She wrote about her struggles with addiction in her autobiographical fiction series, the West Coast Trilogy. She was kind enough to send me a free copy of the second installment in the series for a Q&A, which you can read here!

Firefly Magic: Heart-Powered Marketing For Highly Sensitive Writers Book Review 5 out of 5 stars  May 2019 Writers With Mental Illness Book of the Month Firefly Magic Summary
A Different Kind Of Marketing Book
Down-To-Earth And Eye-Open…