“Why did you decide to write this book” has been a question that I have been asked at least a 100 times on this wild-ride-of-a-journey over the past 10 months.
My answer though has always, in a round about way, been the same. I want to help others; children and adults with anxiety who may be struggling too. I want to make a difference, even if it’s just a sliver of one, for a blip in time. I want to be a voice for childhood anxiety, but not take the child’s voice away. *Disclaimer though…surprise! I’m not a mental health therapist or a doctor. I’m *just* a Mom, an anxious Mom to boot, who’s worried about this next generation and I wanted to do something to help.
Since publishing this story in November, I have received incredibly kind, positive and supportive feedback about this book and it’s message. But, I’ve also received some push-back. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting some whispered comments or off the cuff remarks about my own mental illness and how it affects my ability to help.
Well, I believe, even after justifying my own anxiety, that having anxiety is kind of like my own superpower. For me, it can be very helpful-like a driving force to keep going, but every superpower also has its kryptonite and that for me, is self doubt-“what am I doing?” is a constant question in my brain.
You see, this story is personal. It’s actually felt like a third child for me. My heart and soul are woven into each page and if you read between the lines of the unspoken words, my childlike heart is there too. Which is why, I felt compelled to write this story. Having a child who also shares “big worries” or childhood anxiety-however you’d like to phrase it, I wanted to be a voice big enough that the people in the back could hear when I said “sometimes it’s ok not to be ok” and “sometimes it’s ok to reach out for help” to my own child and anyone else that needed to hear it.
I’ve been cautious-self doubt again, to want to share my child’s story as part of the inspiration behind this book for fear that my child would be scrutinized, alienated, or discriminated against even later in life. But then I realized that I was looking at it all wrong. My whole message and intent is to break down those barriers, be loud about mental health and not be afraid to talk about a subject that until recently, has been taboo or embarrassing.
You see, mental illness isn’t a contagious disease. You don’t “catch it” like a flu you don’t “get one when you’re older” like laugh lines or age spots and it isn’t a right of passage into adulthood. In fact, statistics show that 70% of adult mental illness start in childhood! Our mental well being is part of us, but it most certainly doesn’t define us; and it sure as hell doesn’t make us weak. It’s not an “excuse” or a cop out and to anyone who states “well I just don’t get it” that’s ok, just know that it makes us who we are-like freckles or a birthmark. We’re all unique, even mental illness and there’s no one size fits all tool that works for everyone-except for patience and understanding.
So, to answer the question of why I wanted to write this story, it is my hope to breakdown these myths that for generations have been “truth”. It is my hope that this book gives inspiration to children and adults to have these important conversations at a young age and as each page is turned, I hope you feel the love that went each word, know that you’re not alone and always remember that you can do anything. Even with self-doubt, misinformed comments and criticism.
Mental illness is ok. Putting others down isn’t. Did you hear me back there?
Peace and love. ✌🏼