Thursday, 9 June 2011

Sorry for the Gap

Hi Everybody

(and particularly Eliza. Thank you for your comment a couple of days ago, Eliza. I tried to answer it a couple of times, but something went wrong and I couldn't post the comment. Hopefully I will manange to publish this post ok).

Anyway, yes. Sorry for the absence. I was feeling a bit vulnerable and stopped posting for a while because I wondered if writing about mental health brought it more to the forefront of my mind and whether I would be more comfortable if I buried these issues.

I do feel better now, but I am not sure whether this is because I gave the blog a break , or if I just got snowed under with trying to do too much generally and that I have calmed down because I am less busy now. A little less busy...

This afternoon I called the agent who has had my memoir for the last two months, and was told that someone will be in touch by the end of next week, hopefully. This is a good thing in so far as it is not rejection - on the other hand I don't think it means that the agency are seriously considering taking me on, because they have only seen the first fifty pages of the book. Must just have been buried in the slush pile all that time.

If the agent decides no, then I will probably self-publish, probably online. It is the only way to stop myself tweaking the book forever - once it is out there, there will be no further room for amendment. However, I am still considering whether to try to hide my identity - I have spent so long pretending to be well that it will be a huge leap for people to see the potential for the opposite in me, and I am quite scared at the prospect. Because people won' t be able to help themselves re-assessing me in the light of the 'schizophrenia' label - it is human nature.

The obvious thing would be to change names of all people and places and write under a pseudonym - but then that would be the coward's way. Also, the book is less likely to get read without photos, or at least an author photo.

So. Still dithering. I am about to send the book (in pdf form) to a friend I can trust and then wait for her opinion. And canvas hubby's, of course. But he tends to think what I think, as all good husbands should.

Apart from all that, things are going well. I am reading a book called 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families' which has some interesting points to make. Also reading a book called 'When God Was a Rabbit'. Not sure what I make of that yet. Have finally decided to re-subscribe to The Times, because I miss the fact that I used to sit down and relax every day while I read it - I still buy the paper but not as regularly and I hate the thought that I might be missing out on useful information, although I would not always find information that I considered to be useful every day in the paper.

Been reading Gretchen Rubin's blog 'The Happiness Project' which is kind of like comfort food for the soul. Been writing my journal. And of course (deep breath) doing the school runs, preparing the meals, washing and cleaning, driving children to various destinations, and walking the dog.

I saw one of my sisters today, and she was very complimentary about my ability to remain calm and to get so much done. I told her that I am far from calm inside most of the time, but she persisted and kept asking how I manage to do so much for the children, how I physically keep going. And I said (while still denying that I am the paragon that she kept insisting I am) that basically my 'secret' is that I love it. I love them. I sit at the table with my four kids, three times a day (breakfast, after school snack and dinner) and just drink in their faces, and their words. I feel so grateful to have them (after feeling for so long that I never deserved kids of my own and being sure that I would never have any I now feel validated by their existence).

Sorry to sound all American. By which I mean soppy and apple pie (sorry Americans, for pigeonholing you. I know not of what I speak. I am a cliche too. A prejudiced English one). But this is the crux of it all - no matter how tired I am, and notwithstanding that sometimes I get snappy and unfair towards the kids, they know that I adore them all, that I always have and I always will. And hubby too of course - I just don't mention him in the same breath because obviously he and I have a different sort of relationship - appreciation without worship. I don't think worship would be good for his ego...

But I think that's what makes our family work (and even as I write I know I have not really discovered any magic formula and that all this may one day go pear-shaped) the fact that we have mutual appreciation of each other. I am a willing slave, although I try not to let on to the kids about that, because they take advantage enough already. In fact, I am constantly reminding them that I am not their servant - but ultimately I am, and so is their Dad, and we are both pleased to be needed.

Is any of this interesting or relevent to anyone out there? Do please let me know! Also, any advice on my ongoing dilemna - whether or not to reveal my identity when I publush my book - would be appreciated. If the agent takes it, I will let him decide - and I am guessing he will say it is imperative for marketing purposes that I don't try to hide. That's fine, I am prepared for that. But if not - do I still stay undercover? Let me know. x.


  1. I'm of two minds about hiding my identity. The strongest reason for hiding it is that I am particularly vulnerable right now due to being in therapy and having a history that makes me quite susceptible to abuse/stress.

    There are a lot of good reasons not to hide my identity. One is building up self-esteem and acknowledging these experiences as a part of me. Most of the other good reasons help others, however, such as fighting stigma.

    I imagine that publishing the book under your name will have less of an impact than we realise. People who care about you will want to better understand. People who don't care about you won't read your book or think about it, other than a quick assumption in their head. To be honest, most people like that already had assumptions in their heads! Perhaps you could email authors of similar books that did publish under their names and ask how they were received?

  2. Thanks Eliza. That is a good idea, I will do some research as you suggest. I did break the news to my daughters last week about my mental health history, and that has gone quite well so far (except now I keep wondering if their perception of me has changed). I am in the process of trying to get some therapy on the NHS, I am not sure how long it will take, but this is certainly something I can discuss with the therapist, as and when. All the best. X.