On Mental Health · On Writing

Writing, Mental Illness and Me

Greetings fellow bloggers, readers, and all those who have accidentally stumbled onto this page for no real reason and are now skimming to see whether or not I deserve your time and attention.

I am not going to be anything other than a tad predictable right now. I want to use this first post to say a little bit about me, my reasons for writing and for starting a blog.

I really hope that as people read, they will begin to wonder whether or not I can tell my story well and effectively, and subsequently whether or not I will achieve all or any of my goals.

Dream big right? That’s the premise I’m working under, and holding onto; and in fact it exists in more than one context in my life and in my head.

I will explain.

I am an aspiring writer, and am currently waiting for my dedicated crew of awesome beta readers to finish my book and deliver their feed-back. It is a self help book, with a title which will go something along the lines of “How to recover from severe Mental Illness.”

Which neatly brings me to the second area of my hopes and dreams- I am also recovering from a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. This diagnosis was decided upon by the men in white coats eleven years ago, and since then I have been been working on recovering, and basically getting my life back on track.

I like to think that I am about 90% of the way there, and whilst this is a massive accomplishment, I still dream for more. I hope very much that one day the symptoms will be so benign that I don’t notice them at all, and I am able to exist without their influence casting shadows over my day to day life.

Writing helps, and is a fantastic way of building up my mind, my concentration and my focus; and it’s also a lot of fun! To be published one day would be a dream come true.

So those are my goals! I will talk further about them, and about my experiences of different symptoms later in this blog, for now I just hope to give you a bit of an idea about me, and my reasons for living.

I am 31 years old, living in Surrey (just on the north side of the M25), and dream of one day being able to afford to live in London. I have always dabbled in writing, and studied English lit at Uni; poetry used to be my chosen form, but I have started to write fiction in the last two years.

My boyfriend is a fantasy/sci fi writer, and is also currently working towards getting published. We have been together for 2 and a half years and in that time he has introduced me to the world of sci-fi and fantasy, a sub-genre I was aware of but didn’t really identify with (mainly because I didn’t feel like I knew enough about Star-trek), and also the author Brandon Sanderson, who has become a new personal hero of mine.

His first Mistborn trilogy blew my mind, like it literally still gives me chills when I remember the conclusion to it, and my boyfriend has promised me that this is only the tip of the ice-berg and The Stormlight Archives are even more incredible.

Sanderson is a writer of epic-fantasy, and is an author I try to emulate, and fantasise about one day being compared to!

As well as my self-help book, I am also currently writing fan-fiction of my boyfriends novel (because I’m that cute), and also have several ideas for epic fantasy novels of my own; some set in imagined worlds, and others set in this one, but with other worlds or dimensions coming into them.

I have actually decided to try to use some of the crazy s**t that I experienced when I was living in psychiatric wards and homes as the basis for some of my plots, because a lot of it was so insane I feel like I need to let my imagination reclaim it in writing, as I set about framing it into a new fictional context.

Writing a book and recovering from schizophrenia are actually similar processes; they require similar amounts of dedication and work, and they both require the person involved to hold onto a degree of faith. In the bleakest moments, when you are either grappling with potential failure, or you simply don’t feel like you have the strength to keep fighting against the symptoms, you have to be able to take a deep breath, grit your teeth and simply keep going. 

When I am immersed in my most outlandish dreams for the future, I imagine sitting next to Brandon Sanderson and Chris Beckett, explaining the thinking behind the new literary genre which my books have introduced, psychotic literature; and expanding upon my theory that schizophrenia is actually just spirituality gone hay-wire, clashing with psychology and memory and thus creating the intense experiences people have.

Sanderson will compliment my concepts of different universes, and Beckett will ask about my explorations of human behaviour, and I’ll be able to see my boyfriend sitting in the front row applauding wildly with a proud look in his eye..

Yes these dreams are big and probably ridiculous, and yes they are completely and utterly cringe-worthy; but I hold onto them.

They keep my teeth gritted and my focus in front of me- and my fingers skimming across the keyboard even when I think I see a shadow flit by out of the corner of my eye.

So I hope that I can use this blog as an outlet for me to describe some of my more persistent symptoms, a way to improve my writing, and a way to reach out to people who have experiences with mental illness, and are interested in writing (or the other way around).

It would be really useful for me if anybody reading could leave comments and thoughts, especially if they have personal experiences of mental illness and feel they have ideas on what could go into a book on recovery from it.

Anyway- happy reading, and thanks a lot for giving me a glance 🙂

 

 

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