Mental health survival

by | 8 September 2020 | Community Focus, Retford

A local author shares a first-hand experience of her brain’s Mexican standoff in her self-published book.

The Dark Hat – Surviving Madness, is a truthful diarised account of coming to terms with a life changing illness and turning it into a positive life experience. Having hit rock bottom, there was no lower to drop. Selling most of her belongings to get through a Manic Depression diagnosis where very little improvement was expected, her journey began.
This is a powerful, passionate, warts and all journey. Describing the author’s attempts to navigate the state system for help at 61, loneliness and her inability to return to her work and life plan, Veronica Shaw turns one of her survival techniques into a career change with a unique powerful twist.

Self Help – Post-its
Veronica turned to ‘post it’ notes to create her account of her survival journey. Her ‘post its’ were a collection of her thoughts, both dark and the funny things she was doing in her new state of brain capacity or incapacity? They were a collection of notes she lived her life by. The many random accidents she had and her various improvisations to enable her to shop, eat, sleep and complete jobs a person has to when living alone. She used them to explain life at her doctor’s reviews.

Post its to novel
This was a battle in itself. A challenge greater than climbing Everest. A brain that wants to sleep doesn’t take kindly to writing and research. A non-existent memory needs help remembering things. Perseverance and sheer determination to start writing again was a slow process. Once the trigger was set, the words started to flow. It was a painful tearful, dark time full of disappointments, learning experiences and many highs and lows. Survival and completion prevailed after 12 months.
The hardest part was facing the years of denial. A previously positive person who had always managed to make a positive out of a negative, this brain reaction was hard to bear. Veronica was always ashamed of her inability to cope. Her brain had been a powerful teacher. Still now, if she does not heed its warnings it shuts her down. It makes her randomly sleep.

Selling in a beneficial way
Once the energy and pain put into completion and learning how to self-publish. Veronica wanted to find a way to sell her books and share her experiences with those who could benefit. Her biggest issue was how to get others to understand how bad it feels. Writing it down was the answer.

Sharing the benefits
While Veronica needs to sell her books to aid with her survival plan, her books will only be sold at her pace, at craft fairs, mental health cafes, and places where it will reach an interested audience. She wants to share the pain and good experiences with everyone.

Veronica would like to hear from any organisation that would like her to visit and do a book signing. You can contact her by writing to vswritingthoughts@yahoo.com. Books are normally £12.50, including UK postage. As book signing venues don’t incur postage costs, a donate of £2.50 will be given for each book sold to the venue / charity for inviting her.

Pick up your copy
Anyone wishing to purchase directly from Veronica, can email the above address. Please contact her to order a signed copy and payment terms. Books collected from Veronica in person will be £10.00 in the Retford area. She will pick a different coffee shop every week to arrange to give out the books.