Not a productive week for book editing. Good intentions were side swiped by a sick kiddo, the usual demands of work and family (why do they need dinner EVERY night!?) and . . . Netflix. It just sucks you in! But I was intrigued by their new series, Thirteen Reasons Why, and the hype around it.
I have to be honest, my first thought while watching was, here we go, more angst from teenagers making mountains out of mole hills. Get a grip already – life is hard!
But as I watched all 13 episodes (I know! I should have been editing!) I did gain a new understanding about suicide as a mental illness and an appreciation that someone is taking the time to increase awareness.
There’s a lot of debate swirling around about whether this series is potentially harmful for teens to watch, but I think the value of more people seeing it outweighs any risks. When you shine a spotlight on a topic it forces people to look at it and discuss it. Continued discussion brings familiarity and an increased comfort level which hopefully leads to actions and solutions. And God knows we need both of those for mental health in this country.
Not too long ago there was a stigma to having a child with ADHD. That has lessened as more parents are facing this challenge and talking with others about their experiences and struggles.
That’s why I decided to write a book about my experience with childhood mental illness. There are a lot of parents struggling with the the behavioral issues we did (I see them tearing their hair out daily on Facebook posts) and it’s important they know they are not alone. Hopefully it will start more conversations.
Maybe it sparks a series. Ya hear that Netflix?! 🙂
Editing is not my favorite part. Slow, tedious, and an opportunity to really second guess what you wrote during that first round. I’m wondering if I was drunk when I wrote parts of it (?!) and I’m grateful for the opportunity to fix that mess!
But then there are parts I know I got right because those chapters bring back vivid memories that make me feel like I’m right back in the thick of it. I’m mentally tired after editing those chapters because it’s exhausting reliving what was a very stressful time in our lives. I think it’s clear in my day-to-day accounts how chaotic it was but I don’t really address in the book about the isolation we felt. We couldn’t adequately explain to anyone what was going on and no one really understood what we were dealing with. I read an article recently referring to childhood mental illness as the “no casserole” illness that hit the nail on the head. If your child has cancer or is born with a physical defect it’s automatic for others to sympathize and offer support (as they should!) but when your kiddo has a mental illness there seems to be more of a blame game and an unspoken rule not to address it. In our case they would have had to bring casseroles for a very long time (ha!) since our drama went on for years until we found a manageable solution and adequate treatment for him.
For anyone struggling day-to-day with children experiencing symptoms of mental illness there is a great support group on Facebook Oppositional Defiant Disorder – O.D.D. that is a good reminder you are not alone. I see daily posts on this page of people at the end of their rope ready to give up and just plain worn out from trying to manage the chaos. It helps to read those posts on days when you can’t imagine anyone else is dealing with the same issues.
Ok, enough procrastinating on my part. Back.To.Editing! Thank goodness for the Creative PENN and Writers Digest – both great resources as I slog through this new publishing adventure. Great insights and tools. Let me in the comments if you have a good resource for new authors, editing, or just surviving the publishing process.