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Why I Wrote a Book About My Mental Health Journey

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Recently, my first book, “The Mind of an (Almost) Typical Girl,” was published.

This was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to become an author. Since I was very young, I’ve loved to write and hoped I could be published one day. This book is so much more than a little girl’s fantasy come to life, though. I hope it becomes bigger than just me.

The thing I find unique about my book is that it isn’t me writing about growing up. It’s my writing that is growing up. The book begins with a poem I wrote when I was only 11 years old and ends with a poem I wrote this year, at 21 years old. This book is the compilation of a decade of my life rolled into less than 50 pages. Every piece of writing starts with an age: the age I was when it was written. I tried not to edit these pieces of writing because I wanted them to be an accurate representation of myself at that age. As I’ve gone through these ages, writing the whole way, I was developing mental illnesses; this is what I hope will help people.

Growing up, I didn’t know there was anyone else like me out there. I felt so alone in the world and I didn’t tell anyone exactly how I was feeling because I felt I couldn’t. Things got tangled up in my head and it was so hard to express myself. When I searched for descriptions that aligned with what was going on in my own head, I came up empty. With nowhere to turn for understanding, I began the labor of writing down how I feel. I used metaphors to describe things I couldn’t quite grasp and spent years pouring over them, trying to get them right. Those metaphors are included in my book, which is essentially a compilation of stories and metaphors. I know, perhaps better than most, that not everyone can wait years for understanding and not everyone can spend hours on end writing. I hope this book can help both people like that and those around them.

For those not living with a mental illness, as I am, I hope it can help them understand what their loved ones or even complete strangers go through. I ask in the preface of my book that my readers forget about my disorders — my autism spectrum disorder (ASD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety. I ask they disregard them all for the time being. I want my book to be seen as the writing of a person; not a mentally ill person, but just a regular person. I feel that, if people can understand me and my writing in that way, they will start to understand what it’s like for me to live with my disorders.

I hope I can give other people with mental illness something to point at in order to explain how they’re feeling. It can be hard for people, especially young people, to express this. I know I never could. Because of that, I believe I struggled with my mental illnesses alone for longer than I had to. I don’t want any young person — or older person, for that matter — to experience the loneliness I have experienced; I hope this book can show them that.

I didn’t do this to make money. I don’t particularly care how much money I make with this book, either. All I want to do is help people. That’s it. I want to reach as many people as possible with my work and hope against hope I can help them. At the end of the day, though, it would be enough for me to help just one person.

“The Mind of an (Almost) Typical Girl” is available on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble website.

Image via contributor.

Originally published: April 11, 2019
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