So I have just submitted my first article to a mental health website!!
I hope that the two exclamation marks indicate how excited I am about this.. (I figured using more than two would just be excessive..!!)
Anyway- I have dreamt of being a published author for as long as I can remember, but when, 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, I thought I was going to have to kiss those dream good bye. For many years I barely had the concentration to write a shopping list.
I remember reading an article, probably about six or seven years ago, about a man who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia or some other serious condition, and then had managed to turn his life around and start up a business, or an organisation of some kind related to mental health support and awareness provision (I can’t remember exactly, it was a long time ago).
I think my mum actually saved the article for me, and gave it to me with an optimistic and positive message- don’t give up on your dreams, don’t give up on the idea that you may, one day, be able to use your experiences to your advantage in some way.
She, being my mum, could see the best in me and could still see the sense of possibility which my life still held. However, at that time in my life when I was still doped up to the eyeballs and had zero social life or any kind of positive life reinforcement, I remember reading the article and almost crying.
At that stage, I couldn’t see how I would ever be able to achieve anything meaningful; I couldn’t imagine ever progressing to a point where i might be able to make anything of myself. I was too depressed, and still too immersed in the illness. I remember throwing away the article with a sigh and a sniffle, and thinking thanks a lot mum, that made me feel brilliant.
Mum, obviously, knew more than she was letting on.
It is when I think back to moments such as these, that I am able to fully comprehend how far I have come in the last 10 years. I have always prided myself on being fairly self aware, and yet when mum gave me that article, I couldn’t see, in a million years, how I would ever be able to achieve anything like that.
I couldn’t see that I would ever be able to achieve anything much at all.
Now, five or so years later, I marvel at how far my perspective has changed, and how far it has shifted back into the positive.
I had always dreamt of being a writer, and although for about eight years I didn’t put pen to paper, in the last two years I’ve probably written over 250,000 words. Since meeting Ru, and discovering that we share the same dreams and the same aspirations, I have started writing again, and started letting my creative juices flow.
Ru has been so entirely crucial to this. He said that it was my encouragement that started him writing; and I reply that he clearly returned the favour- as a few months later I began as well. Now we are both writing novels and blogs, poetry and short stories; and we are both hoping and dreaming of some day being published.
And I can see that happening, now. I can actually see it as a possibility and an eventuality. For so many years I believed that that pathway had been shut off from me, and that those dreams were the dreams of a different girl living a very different life.
Now I feel connected to that girl again.. and I am remembering how to dream again.
So I am extremely excited about this post, and am very much hoping to hear back from the people at StigmaFighters soon!
Wish me luck…!