Will try keep this short as I have a pile of stuff out on my bedroom floor (sorting) and there is an open home tomorrow.
After a three-year battle, I finally won against Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for a lump sum payment for my mental injury of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I'm not going to go into detail in this post, as I haven't even read the doctor's report yet. Although it is satisfying that the doctor who assessed in my favour used to work for ACC. After seeing me on a 'good' day, at my 'best.' After years of therapy.
Just revisting some journal entries from five years ago, when I had my first solo art exhibition (which I pitched as an art as therapy exhibition). I'd set a 'ridiculous goal' of an exhibition when I was severely unwell and struggling. My main diagnoses are bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I still have permanent disabililty after treatment.
I did the painting below, More than Good Enough, during that exhibition. It expressed the mixed feelings of the exhibition process. I didn't put prices on the paintings, as I didn't want people to judge. One of the main reasons I did the exhibition is because I didn't feel good enough and that my art wasn't good enough (in fact, most of my art in the past ended up at the dump).
Extract from my journal from over 5 years ago, when I was starting therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):
"I won a positivity award at work…Seems ironic as feeling so negative internally about it.
Might paint Snowball – a longhaired fluffy white cat…with purplish eyes…a book cover for Pet Purpose? What is her hope?"
I've actually been a writer for many years, but most of it hasn't seen the light of day. I've even destroyed a lot of what I have written. The raw stuff (journals etc) can inspire books later. I spend years writing my books, as I am processing plus working with disabilties that affect my cognition and memory.
I had some space last night to go through some of the extracts I'd torn from journals from 2017-2019. The rest of the 8 journals were burned recently.
I still haven't done everything on my list, since I published my book. Partly because I haven't felt motivated to, as my Dad died the same week.
Last night I cleared out a few things from my wardrobe. I came across some notebooks with amusing anecdotes from when my son was little. This anecdote keeps playing through my head.
An online friend asked 'What now?' after he saw I'd published my book. By the way, he said he's not going to read it (even though he's is in it), or he might 'burst an artery or three.' (Not all your friends will be a fan of your books). I did send him the parts where he's mentioned and he thought it was a fair assessment, neither embellishing, nor demonising.
I'm going to answer some of the 'What now?' in this blog post.
I recently published a memoir. After the intense focus to get it finished, the frustrating parts of the self-publishing process, the triumph after finally achieving some huge goals, I felt down. This tends to happen for me, with accomplishments and it can be exaggerated with bipolar disorder (now managed best I can).
I had therapy today and I want to touch on that. I'm now at a stage where I'm more maintaining my mental health, rather than actively processing trauma. Hence moving beyond advocacy.
The ebook and paperback formats of my memoir, Bipolar Courage: Are You Sure You're Not Autistic? is already live on Amazon (all major platforms), just a few hours of publishing it. I'll link some of the main marketplaces at the end of this blog. There is a free app to read on any device, if you don't have a Kindle (I don't have one).
I've included a sample chapter 1 in this blog post, free (I can't get the paragraph indents to align in this blog but they do in the books). It's an unconventional love story, in the world of autism and mental health advocacy.
I was aiming to publish it in September, the beginning of a New Zealand Spring. I've done it! (Incredibly challenging with my disabilities).
I've just submitted my book for review as a paperback and an ebook on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which uploads to Amazon. It's a bit of a nightmare everytime I do it. I've done it a total of 4 times now, with 3 books. Always forget in between, so need to look at my notes. There were some additional issues such as embedding errors, that I haven't had before. Will outline a few things, to go back later with more detail, as I intend to write a guide for those who are keen to self-publish.
Finally, my memoir, is ready to publish (as print-on-demand) and e-book. A project taking two years.
Last night, I tweaked the cover. I also converted to an EPUB for the ebook. The print book format stays as a PDF. I've noted down instructions as I did things (yet again), so that I can write a guide for those navigating this daunting process.
Disclaimer: the author of this blog is not an expert by profession and her opinions should not be taken as expert advice.