By Merryl Hammond, PhD
I’m an avid reader of “Mind You,” and feel connected to this diverse audience of people who are also affected by mental illness/mental health issues/insert your preferred term.
I’m hoping to reach out to those of you who are affected by bipolar disorder (including cyclothymia) or schizoaffective disorder.
I’m a Montreal-based nurse, with a PhD in public health and adult education. I was diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar type I in 2008 at age 51. It completely derailed me. Almost overnight, I flipped from being a researcher and health consultant to a locked ward patient. Since my recovery in 2015, I have made it my mission to educate about and de-stigmatize mental illness in general and bipolar in particular. As part of this effort, I published a best-selling memoir in 2018, Mad Like Me: Travels in Bipolar Country.
Tales from Bipolar Country: an anthology
So many people, having read Mad Like Me, have opened up to me about their own personal experiences with mental illness. I’ve heard such powerful stories that would help us if they were shared. So I have now decided to compile an anthology, Tales from Bipolar Country, that will include personal pieces from:
- people like me who have bipolar disorder (including cyclothymia) or schizoaffective disorder;
- our family members, friends, and informal caregivers; and finally
- the health and many other professionals (legal, social services, therapists, etc.) who take care of us.
(Note: I am including schizoaffective disorder due to the overlapping symptoms with bipolar, common treatments, and frequent misdiagnosis as bipolar early in the course of the illness.)
Who’s participating so far?
I’m delighted to announce that a few “big names” have already agreed to join this project. Mind You’s own highly prolific author, artist, blogger and psychiatrist, Dr. David Laing Dawson will participate, along with Julie Fast (Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder; Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, among others) and Marya Hornbacher (Madness: A Bipolar Life; Sane: Mental Illness, Addiction, and the 12 Steps, among others). As well, I am approaching Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Dr. Candida Fink, actress and bipolar advocate Glenn Close, memoirist Terri Cheney, and many others.
However, I want to emphasize that you do not need to be previously published or a “big name” in the mental health community to participate. I’m looking for real stories from real people. Your perspective, your experience, your insights…
A special invitation to you
I understand that life is hectic – even more so if you have or are supporting someone with a mental health issue – but I would be honoured if you would consider contributing a short piece about your personal experience for this anthology. Deadline is end of April, 2020.
If you’re interested in exploring this project further, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for Writers’ Guidelines.
Please consider this invitation, even if it means stepping way outside your comfort zone. Many say that the act of expressing themselves in writing really helps them gain perspective or promote their recovery. And I assure you I will work closely with you as an empathetic compiler/editor.
Share this call!
Please pass on this call for submissions to anyone in your network who might be interested.
Many thanks in advance for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Merryl Hammond is a health professional diagnosed with bipolar disorder ten years ago at the age of 51. In Mad Like Me: Travels in Bipolar Country, she takes readers through the vivid details of her struggles with bipolar. By being fearlessly honest in retelling events, she hopes to demystify this misunderstood mental illness, and to humanize the people it affects. Her mission is now to fight the stigma against all forms of mental illness, in all age groups. Her memoir is a testimony to hope and recovery, and to her family who stood by her through both the pain and the triumph of their shared saga. Essential reading for patients working towards recovery, families who may need insight into what it’s truly like to have bipolar disorder, and therapists, psychiatrists and other health professionals. Readers and reviewers have called it “mesmerizing,” “enlightening,” “stunningly sincere,” “beautifully written; powerfully honest,” and “a bullseye.” Her next project, Tales from Bipolar Country, will be an anthology that gives voice to people with bipolar, their family members, and the health and other professionals who work with them. Please visit merrylhammond.com or facebook.com/MerrylHammondAuthor.