This is not the book I thought I’d be writing

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It’s no secret that I struggle with mental health – I like to think it’s quite an open discussion. As much as I discuss it for my own wellbeing, it’s also important to talk about mental health to help others feel less alone in their own struggles. Because, let’s face it, mental health (good or bad) can be a lonely experience.

This year has not got off to a great start. It’s been so busy I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. If it’s not the day job that’s stressing me out, it’s my freelance workload. Either way, anxiety is keeping me up at night.

My mental health has struggled with a steady stream of anxiety and adrenaline keeping me going – which is not healthy in the slightest. The smallest of things have bothered me. Tempers have been flaring. I know why though.

I’ve put too much pressure on myself to have my shit together since I came off medication for my anxiety at the end of October. I’m currently four months into living a unmedicated life for the first time in six years and it’s been an interesting experience to say the least.

Fuck This – Taking Back Control of Your Mental Health is the book for you if you want to know about how shit surviving with unpredictable mental health can be.

I don’t want to say that the sky is bluer and the grass is greener – because it’s not (at all). Anxiety flare ups last longer than normal. I’ve yet to figure out my limitations as to when too much is too much. I’m learning about myself all over again and yet feeling like I’ve not accomplished much at all.

So, here we are at the end of the second month of the New Year. My recent bout of anxiety seems to have calmed down. I’m now taking control over my mental health in a very different way.

A project I’ve put on hold for a few years has been writing a book. I always thought it would be design related – something to do with vintage typography and illustration. This is not the book I thought I’d be writing.

Writing a book on mental health – or my experiences with it – has been on my mind for quite some time. When I’ve spoken on panels or podcasts about mental health, I realise how much I don’t let it hold me back. But I only ever share the positive side of how I went through some dark times and came out the other side as this awesome (I joke) person.

In the first week of writing I had a total of 19,000 words, and counting. There’s no official release date and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to hit a deadline. It’s a cathartic outlet that will hopefully resonate with a few people. If no one reads it then at least I’ve got a record of how far I’ve come in my own mental health journey.

Fuck This – Taking Back Control of Your Mental Health is the book for you if you want to know about how shit surviving with unpredictable mental health can be. It’ll look at: work, hitting burnout (on several occasions), taking pressure off yourself, the importance of a support system, how the gym (or Church as I like to call it) is both a help and a hindrance, the ups and downs of dating with mental health – and much more. But aside from the negatives of mental health, it’ll look at how all of these obstacles make you a superhero and how you can take control of your mental health to use it to your advantage.

If you’re hoping for the knitty gritty, you’ll be disappointed. Some things just have to stay personal. But it is the hope that the experiences I do share are universal. Fingers crossed it’ll all be done and dusted come May/June – mental health dependant of course.

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