Guest Post from Robyn Wheeler

Today I have a guest post from writer Robyn Wheeler author of Born Mad.

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In October 2010, after being diagnosed with a mood disorder I had never heard of, I decided to pen my story in hopes of helping and educating others about Dysthymic Disorder. After much research, I wrote about my deep depression, how it affected my life and everyone around me as well as the symptoms and treatment for this low-grade but chronic depression. After four months of non-stop writing and research, I was ready to publish. A long-time friend edited my manuscript prior to sending it off to a self-publishing company called Balboa Press. Then two more revisions ensued before the final copy was ready for publication. Balboa Press was great to deal with: I selected my publishing package, paid my fee and was given step by step instructions on how to proceed and what would be happening next. When the book was ready for printing, I designed the cover and dust jacket as well as a set of questions for interviews and a camera crew came to my house for filming a short trailer for web sites and promotional purposes. The title of my book, Born Mad, came very quickly for me. I wanted something short and simple that relayed the message of my story. There were some rough patches like the numerous editing changes and waiting for the next step to arrive but in the end it is well worth the minor inconveniences. After the book was ready for publication, I was given two agents, one for social media such as Face Book, and Twitter and another agent for traditional media such as radio and television. Most of my interviews are done over the phone, Internet or web cam and sometimes I do need to travel for book signings and speaking engagements. If you have a unique experience or idea and believe your message will help others or entertain and delight readers, stay determined and do whatever necessary to get published. If you have "writers block", put the writing aside temporarily for a few d ays or weeks and eventually your thoughts will come to you when you least expect it. Also, I joined a local writers group before submitting my manuscript so I could test it out on others and receive feedback, comments and suggestions on how to be a better writer, get published and sell books. Writing a book is a lot of hard, dedicated work however, nothing tops the feeling of holding your story in your hands for the first time.

Born Mad
Paperback144 pages
Balboa Press

From Good Reads:
Follow Robyn Wheeler on her journey from fits of rage as an angry child, blunders and setbacks as an adult in deep denial, to her quest for awareness and enlightenment. Robyn takes you inside her deepest thoughts and fears, as well as her chronic anger and thoughts of suicide. After being diagnosed with a "bad state of mind" called dysthymia, Robyn wrote Born Mad to help others who may be unaware that they might be suffering from a low-grade chronic depression that will make life difficult, ruin relationships, and contribute to a negative and hopeless outlook on life. Born Mad includes symptoms of dysthymia and coping strategies, as well as the story of how Robyn came to believe in God, defeat chronic anger, and become the person she was meant to be. Read about her courage and determination to be happy and how her life has changed after having a "brain transplant." If you or someone you know suffers from constant mood swings, angry thoughts, and extreme worry or anxiety, Born Mad might shed light on the reasons why and how to fight your way through to hope, peace, and happiness.

My View:
I have not yet read Robyn's book although it sounds interesting. Today more and more people, especially children, are being diagnosed with something. I am not certain where this is coming from. Is it that we have better medical care and therefore things that were missed before are understood now? Is it because we have changed as a society and the pressures that go with it are bringing about more of these illnesses? Is it a combination of the two? I have no real answer.  I have thoughts on it.
I do think that along the way of enlightened society we have lost some core values in the home. Family is no longer the valued relationship it once was. Over time, family has lost real meaning in many homes. 
Marriage, (to me, it also includes committed relationships without the paperwork),  is no longer sacred. Instead of putting the energy and time into trying to work through a bad time - we simply walk away and start over. I am not saying we should stay in a relationship that is clearly toxic. But I do know people who have decided that divorce was the only option when a spouse lost a job and could not readily find one, when an injury from an accident or illness last "forever",  (meaning a few years), or just not "knowing" their partner anymore.  I always thought you at least made an effort with these changes. What I hear now is more and more of, "we are so different now. I found someone new who has the same interest as I do." And when I ask about the children and their feelings, I hear, "children are so resilient - they go with the flow." Really? Is that really what people honestly believe? I think children go with the flow because they are children and really have no choice. That has nothing to do with how they feel or what they are learning from this dissolution. 
Living close to brothers, sisters, parents is no longer the norm. Some of this is because of job situations or other forces like it.  But some of it is due, (in my opinion), to the ease of breaking up a family. People are replacing "family" with "friends". This can be a good thing as sometimes friends do become as close as real siblings. But if you take the easy way with family and then take the easy way with friends, what are you cultivating? Who is with you to the end? Your Face Book  Farmville friends? What are your children learning? I am not knocking Face Book. I do believe it is a wonderful tool. I have many family on my family page and that is how we keep our relationships going. Living in Alaska, while beautiful, can bring home just how far away my family is. I have also made friends on FB that I rely on and would not give up for anything, (my bookies are the most supportive people I know - this blog would not exist without the help and encouragement from Jenn at Books &Barks). But these friends and family relationships are not ones I would take the easy way with. I have a whole list of people on FB that I realize really would not put time or effort into keeping our "friendship" going. If my entire FB friendlist were made up of people who I had no connection to , I would be severely depressed. Yet I know for many people social pages on the web are where they connect to "friends". I think we are losing the art of face to face conversation and fun.
Home is losing its value as a haven. I can remember when home was where you went when your day was bad and someone would care enough about you to lift your day. Now I see everyone go to separate rooms and be alone with the computer, video game or television, (which seem to be in every room including a baby's room now). I have been in homes where the family texted each other from various rooms in the house instead of having face to face conversations. I have a hard time with that. 
I think many of us have lost the ability to balance things. All of the technology I mentioned can be a good tool but it needs balance. Our children need to know that anything that is good is worth the effort to maintain it. They need to know how to balance their lives. We need to know how to balance our lives. If not, I see depression becoming even more of an issue.
I do understand that depression, bi-polar and other mental health issues can be caused by imbalances in a person's body. I always believe you should see a doctor if you have deep depression or any type of depression that lingers or comes and goes repeatedly. However I also believe there are things we do or don't do that can contribute to mental health issues. 
If you are feeling depressed always, ALWAYS, talk to someone about it. Call your doctor or a help line in your community. The good thing with all this information on mental health is that the stigma is going away. It is no longer a bad thing to ask for help. 

Are you in crisis? Please call 1-800-273-TALK

For more information on Depression and /or Bi-Polar Disorder please go to this website: http://www.dbsalliance.org

Comments Welcome!

Comments

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Robyn Wheeler said…
Dear Reviewer,

I agree with you 100% on your views. Our society needs to change, especially family values and what we deem important. In my BAD days, (before anti-depressants) I was spoiled. I thought everything had to go my way and if it didn't, someone was out to get me, not being fair or just plain wrong. Now, I know the problem was me. We need to explain to small children that they do not always get what the want when they want it, that a person needs to learn to adapt to their circumstances instead of the other way around. I write in Born Mad about my depression over possible being diagnosed with diabetes. "I didn't want it and I shouldn't have to have it," was my opinion. When a person starts believing they don't have to get ill because they don't want to, their attitude needs to change. With a believe in God, a change in attitude and medication, I changed my life for the better. Born Mad will not only enlightened readers on a seldom-talked about disorder called Dysthymia but also how my poor attitude contributed to it as well. We all need to take a good hard look at we are living out lifes and make some changes before the next generation has no hope at all.
-Robyn Wheeler, Author of Born Mad.

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