Writing has always been a huge part of who I am from the moment I picked up a pencil and penned (penciled?) that first story: It Came Floating Up. It was a chronicle of a mysterious Sargasso seaweed monster off the coast of Corpus Christi. This was as a seven-year-old, I think you should know. I was precocious.
From there, I went on to write about a vampire bat with a blood-sucking problem and later, as a teenager, I wrote about a character named Sabre Nero and her adventures with her pet squirrel. After that, I wrote some romances that I shared with my friends and it was in college that I found myself writing women’s fiction primarily.
I’ve loved to write since I was able to read. I’ve always loved the idea of telling my own stories the way that other authors have told theirs. There’s some sort of magic in picking up a book and reading a passage, feeling your own thoughts echoed back at you, written by a person that you’ve never even met. I’ve always wanted to provide that for another person the way that someone else provided it for me.
I spent college meandering between majors, straying from creative writing into funeral service and eventually coming back to my one true calling. I’m nine hours away from graduation, though I put it off like the plague. Something about that forty-five-minute drive and the anxiety of being at school again.
Writing has been how I coped with situations throughout my life and how I continue to cope today. One subject that is very dear to my heart is mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder and PTSD. I feel that they are both very often misunderstood and misrepresented in pop culture. It’s not uncommon for the scary bad guy on Criminal Minds to be “bipolar” and thus, a serial killer. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people with bipolar disorder are far more of a danger to themselves than anyone else.
Recently, I’ve been writing primarily about PTSD and the aftermath of rape. That’s a huge cornerstone in the foundation of the novel I’m currently working on: Stand Up Guy. The main character is raped by someone that she trusts and has to rewire her brain after suffering from PTSD for a very long time. Ultimately, who can be trusted? It seems that by letting anyone in, we are giving them the opportunity to destroy us. This is a quandary that she struggles with throughout the book.
My own journey with PTSD has been similar to hers. Though our stories are not identical, they share similarities. For nine years I kept secret the fact that I’d been raped. I had mentioned it in passing to people but never truly let myself feel the depth of the wound. Holding it inside for so long made me sick. So sick that I ended up in the hospital for six weeks. Fortunately, I’m better now and I plan on blogging about that journey in the future, but for this post, I just wanted to talk about what keeps me writing, and it is this: I must.
That sounds trite, but writing is the only release that I’ve found for the energy that builds up inside of me due to bipolar disorder and PTSD. Writing is a place that I can go where no one is judging me, at least not until I share that writing with the world. And even then, if it helps one person, it was worth it.
I hope that someday my story and the story of my heroine in Stand Up Guy can affect someone’s life the way that so many stories have affected my own.