Thursday, I will be launching my Welsh language book, Rhyddhau’r Cranc. It is an account of my life to date that pretty much concentrates on my early and adolescent years, sharing my sexuality and mental health battle for the last 5 years. It’s been a tough battle against depression and Borderline Personality Disorder and the book is an accumulation of a year and six months writing.
I never imagined I’d ever write a book, certainly not in my early 30s. The whole thing has been a tremendous journey from start to end and the publishers (Y Lolfa) have been an absolute dream to work with. All in all, it’s been an emotional exploration of life at its best and worst. In the book, I shed light on some psychotic episodes that I’ve never spoken about in public. These episodes were mostly spent in acute care/ hospital. Writing opened up old wounds that had previously healed. In turn, those wounds became raw again, they wept for a little while before starting to dry out and heal, for a second time and all over again.
But, I like to think it was all worth it.
At times, the book felt like my sanctuary (or my ‘go-to’ place) and at other times like a monster I’d created running away with me clutched in its tight claws. I have little idea how the book will be received in Wales although, I very much hope that it is warmly received. But, I never set out to write a book for that sole purpose. My only aim from the very beginning was to be honest about my life and my mental health. I can, whatever reception the work receives; be safe that I have at least succeeded in being honest about my journey.
One thing that scares me is the possible level of exposure that I’ve opened myself up to – but, I have to remind myself, it was my decision. Each and every word was my own decision. At times, I catch myself catastrophizing and endlessly obsessing that I might be looked upon from now on as public property. In sound mind, I know of course, that people change continuously and fluidly from one moment to the next – so even the book, that’s super current, is by now, a part of my history – a part that I should feel no shame in sharing. It all made perfect sense at the time, so who am I, in hindsight, to call my history to account, to judge it or to feel shame about an illness I had no control over? But, what will others think? And there we have it. That’s the million-dollar question. That is also, the one thing I have no control over.
So, perhaps not surprisingly, in pure pre-launch excitement and anticipation, I’ve lived the last couple of days with a concrete stomach, full of butterflies.
I do hope they find their way out unharmed.
I’ll be sure to update you post launch on how it all goes.
Thank you for all your support