Saturday, October 7, 2017

Red Ribbons Book Release

Hi all, I'm here today with the exciting news that Red Ribbons is now available for purchase via Amazon and CreateSpace!

In this novel, which I worked on for a full three years, I share what it is like to live with mental illness, struggling with depression, eating difficulties and self-harm. Following up from its prequel, Just Perfect, Red Ribbons chronicles Christina's life as she fights to regain control.

As I'm writing this announcement, clouds are stacking up. Within minutes the sun will have disappeared behind them. And this is the atmosphere from which some of the deepest, darkest scenes, too, have been written. Some of the scenes from when my own mental health difficulties seemed unsurmountable. The difficulties I've now decided to share these.

Although initially I would have never done such a thing - being ashamed of my past, my struggles and the stigma attached to them - I am now embracing my story and sharing it in the hopes of helping others. Why? Because this stigma must be broken. Because no one should feel alone and because no one should be afraid to admit what they have gone through and what has brought them where they are today.

Why else? Because my mental health difficulties are far from understood. When I admit struggles with anorexia, I am still faced with thoughtless comments and jokes concerning body and food. These are not helpful, and they convey so much naivety that there's no wonder sufferers feel misunderstood! Hence, this book. For sufferers, for supporters. For everyone.

Self-harm is not for attention, and eating disorders are not born out of a desire to be thin. For me, anorexia wasn't about the body at all! It wasn't about how my legs looked, nor about how my bones stuck out, nor about about which clothing size I fit into. It was about the feeling. It was about the comfort it provided - the safety. It was about the wall I build around myself in order to protect myself from pain. I never liked my bones sticking out, but nevertheless I felt like it was the only way I should look. I never liked to be exhausted after walking up the stairs, but I felt like I didn't deserve the energy. And that made it so hard to change. Anorexia was never a thin body, a number on the scale, nor a clothing size. Anorexia was a state of mind, a serious illness, and it should never be seen as a beauty ideal. Neither should any mental health disorder, and hence I ask you to grab yourself a copy of my book, to pass it on, and to spread the word.

Before I close off, I want to just leave you with one last extract from my novel. Read it, process it, and remember it. Remember you are strong, and that no obstacles are insurmountable. Thank you for all of your support, and for trying to understand whilst so many other swim around in a sea of unknowing.

That’s what depression does. It drags you down until you end up inside a gray spiral. It lures you into one of those dreams where you fall and fall and fall and there is no end and oxygen is running out and the light dims and everything disappears. Water fills your lungs and you can’t find the surface and you’re struggling against it but you’re unable to breathe.  
Depression intoxicates your brain and turns your friends to foes, your family to strangers. You push them away so you won’t hurt them the way it hurts you. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by a darkness that clouds your head and fills you with nothing but your own suffering. Your twisted ideals form a second skin, a second home, and it is almost as if the first one never existed. You want to curl up in bed, to curl up and disappear. You want to die rather than to climb back up to the faint light you can only barely make out.  You want sleep. It is like death but without the commitment. And you are sad, but not quite. It is more like an emptiness has settled inside your bones, seeking refuge in the silhouette that once was vital with life.    
Nurturing a depression is like nurturing a brick. A brick that isn’t all that heavy, and so you carry it around for days, months, years. You can no longer put it down. The weight doesn’t change, but the burden does. You no longer remember how light it once was, how irrelevant. Even when you pretend it isn’t there, its rough surface scratches your palm. You cannot let it fall. 
You feel numb. You feel powerless. A heavy cloud hangs over your head, its shadow tainting your world a somber gray. You are running up a muddy hill, every step taking more and more of the energy you no longer possess. And you’re afraid. You’re afraid that, gradually, you’ve turned into the devil inside your head. That you are one. You aren’t. You know that you aren’t and you know there’s a way out. People can get through anything as long as they see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
When you are depressed, there is no light.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts and comments with me! I absolutely love to hear from you :-)