My work history is all over the place, so I'll stick with the most recent. A decade ago, I was a cosmetologist at a high-end salon. In a single week, I quit my job, shaved my head, and joined the Navy (looking back, I was definitely in the middle of a hypomanic episode). While in the Navy, I met my husband, and we decided to start a family. I got out while pregnant and haven't gone back to work since. I currently homeschool our feral son and spend my days doing that, cleaning, and writing. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, the Alliance of Independent Authors, and The Authors Guild. I also have a Creative Writing bachelor's degree from Full Sail University. We have two dogs, and when my husband, who is still on active duty, heads out to sea, the rest of us spend time traveling between family members across the country.
Let's address the "mentally unstable" bit.
I have been diagnosed with a lot of different things. I've tried a lot of different medications, going holistic, therapy alone, and outright denial. My current diagnosis is bipolar 2, social anxiety, and PTSD though it hasn't been a major issue for a while. In mid-2019, I started the meds again after going without them for about two years. At this point, I don't foresee myself ever coming off of them completely and if I ever claim not to need them again, smack me.
What it all boils down to is that I occasionally lose my mind. No biggie.
There is a reason for me including and prioritizing the "mentally unstable" part of my life. I want to see mental health and self-care as a part of normalized conversation. I want treatment to be seen as important. I've had people tell me I shouldn't take the kinds of medications I take simply because they aren't viewed as vital and thought to change a person. I'm bipolar. If I don't take meds, my personality is all over the place. What can medication do that my head doesn't do to itself? Listening to those people created a very negative time in my life. Now I am being treated, I have been declared stable, and I'm happy. By embracing my bipolar disorder, I embraced all of myself. The good, the bad, the manic, the depressed. It wasn't until I embraced that part of myself that I could embrace my desire to write as a career. The two go hand in hand, so it only seemed fair to pair them together with my image. The image of someone who, though occasionally unstable, has a handle on her mental health. The image of an artist who is not glorifying the "tortured artist" persona and instead seeks to balance that part of herself. I'm an advocate for therapy and medication, and I will be until the day I die.
Okay, I'll climb off my soapbox now.
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