Excerpts of Chapters Two & Three of “Mental,” As Recounted in Word Art

 

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On A Writer’s Necessary Self-Confidence

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I believe a writer must be self-confident to get published by a big fish–I’m not saying arrogant, just self-confident! It is a lonely, sometimes disillusioning process to find an agent who will then help you find a publisher; and if you do not completely believe in your novel and in yourself, you will find yourself in danger of quitting and never reaching your publication goals.

 

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You, dear readers, have everything you need to be successful at reaching your goals already–it is all within you!

 

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When I get a rejection letter, I remind myself this is one agent’s opinion and that there are thousands of potential agents out there! I make myself send out two letters for every rejection letter I get!

 

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Celebrate your uniqueness! Celebrate yourself! I know I have written a different kind of book–it has a long running poem with rhyme and meter and a novel within the novel. I know it has a stellar plot, awesome characters and it’s double narrators (identical twins) all give it an edge! Ordinary? Most definitely not!

 

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I am on a strict, daily editing and writing schedule! No matter my mood, I am writing and editing seven  days a week for an least an hour a day! No exceptions! I find this makes interesting work pour out of me, work before I would have self-edited in my head and heart and never produced.

 

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The following pins I made for Pinterest to encourage and inspire!

 

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I Choose Joy

 

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Believe me, this wasn’t always the case…

I spent the majority of the last year unable to choose anything. My Bipolar Disorder had morphed from being mainly depressed or stable to being mainly manic. I ran up all of my family’s credit cards, then took one out in my own name and maxed it out. The final tally was near $10,000! When that manic spree ended, I was devastated by my actions. Just about the only good things that came out of my madness were that my husband didn’t leave me and that I painted a bunch of pretty decent art.

My husband and I couldn’t get along because I was so out of it. I remembered what my dad had done to me when I was 17 during my parents’ divorce–the sickening memories from my childhood that I had dissociated from for years had returned after 22 years. I couldn’t manage the memories of being raped by my father, of him coming into my  room once I hit puberty, of him telling me during the divorce that he wanted to date someone just like me, of my stepmother telling me years ago that my father had himself been a victim of incest…It was all just too disgusting and too much, so with my marriage on the brink of divorce, and those memories of my sick father, I took the pills and hoped for the best outcome for me, my daughter, Chloe, and my husband.

But I was saved to continue my personal journey–to write novels, poetry collections, articles and memoirs that focused on overcoming mental illness and abuse. My husband may not fully agree with this statement, but I believe with everything I am that God saved my life because I felt such a strong burst of air fill the lungs I was too overdosed to fill myself, the breath that saved my life that night…

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And so, I choose to be joyful when I open my eyes in the morning. Most days, the majority of days. And I work on myself, my marriage, my relationship with Chloe, who is 6 now.

It’s not always an easy choice, but if I don’t choose joy for myself, how can I help my family choose it, too? So, sometimes it’s a hard decision, but I do it anyway.

And my life is rich now, filled with beautiful people and beautiful things. I am looking for work for the first time since I went on disability in 2008. My husband converted our guest room into an art room, and Chloe and I have been painting every day since. I have a few friends. I am trying to stick to a schedule of writing everyday. I thank God for the good things in my life. Chris and I are doing a kind of couples therapy that consists of me finding worksheets and workbooks online so we can work through our issues with each other. Chloe tells me I am her favorite person! My extended family and I are repairing the damage I caused by being symptomatic for almost an entire year.

And something wonderful is about to happen–I’m turning 40 in August 2017, just six weeks away…I remember when I first got super sick in my early twenties, I looked ahead to my future and never thought I would make it to this age. It is truly a miracle, that after 7 serious suicide attempts, I am healthy and happy at 40! Every day is a blessing, every moment is a gift!

Maybe I’ll even get published in 2017! Six months left! Fingers crossed!

More to follow!

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I Can & I Will!

 July 2017 by Marie K Johnston

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I would like to thank everyone who reads this post in advance.

I have come a long way in my journey in the last three months. You see, I have Bipolar Disorder and I made a very serious attempt on my life on March 8, 2017. I took over 300 pills, laid down in my bed, and flatlined (according to the doctors who later treated me) multiple times in the next 8 hours.  Around 3 am, I opened my eyes, lying there, unable to move or breathe. All of a sudden, I felt air force itself into my lungs and I realized it wasn’t coming from me–the force of the air was so strong, I breathed in the biggest gasp of air in my life! I realized that breath came from God, to save my life. I didn’t even believe in God, but this was definitely a God experience. I was so relieved–I had never really wanted to leave my husband and daughter, at all. I had just been so depressed at the realization I had had a few months before that yes, my father had actually raped me during my senior year of high school, of all the recovered memories, that I had become very suicidal. I ended up making a slow journey to my husband on my suicide night, alerting him, knowing an ambulance would be called, and falling down and slipping into unconsciousness.

The doctors told Chris that if I lived, I would be on dialysis for the rest of my life. They told him I had damaged all of my major organs, including my heart. When I did wake up, I couldn’t eat because the pills had ruined my stomach. We stayed in that recovery room for what seemed like a month, my husband never leaving my side, as I drank tons of water and tried to heal. Then after seven days in the recovery room, the doctors were amazed at how well I was doing. It really was a God thing–I knew I would recover fully, and after about a month, I actually did! Of course, I had to go to a mental hospital, but after doing a lot of work on my incest experience, they let me go home after 3 days.

The reason I am writing all of this down for you is because I had a kind of epiphany about the way life works–everyone has a purpose, and I believe if you have not yet fulfilled your purpose, God will not allow you to take your own life. I believe I am still here to do a few things–be a mother and a wife, be a daughter, and be a published author. I believe I am meant to be a published author to write books detailing my experiences so that I can help readers with a mental illness or who have survived violence, or both.

The piece I submit for publication is meant to help people, even though it is technically literary fiction. “Mental” is really just about healing from major damage inflicted by others, but specifically it is about healing from incest.

I recently watched a movie with Chris. It was about a writer who had penned a tale about the rape and murder of his wife and daughter. This wasn’t a true story, it was from his imagination. I found myself getting angry and making comments about this while we watched. I always get upset during rape tales because of what my father did, but this was bigger anger. I realized I was angry with the person who had written this film–why subject an audience to this? What will the audience get out of writing about these topics? I reformulated why I write anything down–I feel compelled to write about people triumphing through adversity and challenges, not just subject the audience to a horror show of violence.

So, this is, I believe, the point of my personal journey–to help the mentally ill and violence survivors by telling my painful story.

I have begun writing Pinterest ads that are positive and uplifting. with my website address on them. So far, no one has visited this site, but I only started making these positive life ads yesterday. I am confident that people will soon start visiting, so I am going to try and make a daily blog recounting the things I am doing in my life to become a whole individual.

Thank you for reading! If you like these ideas, please follow this website.

Thank you for reading this first in a line of many blogs on the topic of healing from, then thriving in spite of, mental illness and sexual abuse/incest!

 

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