I am not famous, but I am a bipolar/ mental illness expert. It is hard to “hide” my illness, not that I necessarily want to. I had another first date with a very nice guy – manners and all, who I never expect to hear from again, at least not in a romantic way. Why? Because he found out my mental health “secret.” No, I did not offer it up and even told him I did not want to talk about it.
I am the organizer of a Meetup group for Mental Illness Support and he had seen that online and wondered about it. He asked about my book. He asked about my blog. I tried to wiggle out of it twice, but finally just said I had mental illness and left it at that. I told him I didn’t want to get into it because it scares people off.
He seemed a bit fascinated with me and my life, travel, and jobs. He was especially impressed that I had the dedication to write a book.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to write a 72,000 word book (or 206 pages)? It takes a lot of hard work. I tried to take some of Stephen King’s advice in his book, “On Writing,” to write 1,000 words a day. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I wrote more, sometimes I wrote less, but I had a goal and goals are good they get you to where you want to be.
What made it nearly impossibly hard was pouring my heart into this little piece of art. There are ugly bits. There are silly bits. There are bits you wish you didn’t have to read, but they are my life. I have scars and bad memoirs but they make me who I am. They make me a bit more compassionate towards myself and towards others. I realize if people can forgive me for my many mentally fueled mistakes I can forgive them for the mistake they make as well. I also learned to accept love in a way I wasn’t able to before.
But what happens when people read about my life? What happens when first dates google simply “Elaina J” many articles, podcasts, interviews, and essays pop up? How is that fair? I’d like to do it on my own terms. I would like to have a little time before I slam into “mentally ill.”
Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT ashamed. I am not embarrassed I simply want people to get to know me before that big, bad word “stigma” comes charging in. So many people don’t understand what living with my mental illnesses means, especially bipolar 1 with psychosis. To a lot of people it simply me bat shit crazy. I may be crazy, but there is no bat shit involved.
My book is out now. “There Comes a Light: A Memoir of Mental Illness.” You can find it in print under my full name Elaina J. Martin or by full title. It is at the top of the screen most likely. It is a yellow book with hands on it. On Amazon.com you can buy the print version. You can buy the ebook on other sites such as B&N or Kobo or a few others, just do a quick search. As proud as I am of my little baby I feel entirely vulnerable. I would love your positive reviews.
It is crazy that it has come this far, from inception to reality. The first chapter was actually my submission that got me into graduate school. Then it progressed into this all out book. Something to remember when reading, it is not written exactly chronologically, but rather compartmentalized. It is written the way a mentally mind works.
I hope you get to read it and get to know me even better.
Thanks, dear reader.