Why I Wrote a Book About My Mental Health Journey
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.
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