My Current Writing Projects

My Current Writing Projects

While When Stars Die is still on sub, I not only finished hardcore revisions of a contemporary novel I started several years ago, but I also finished outlining an entire novel in the paranormal romance genre, a genre I didn’t think I was going to ever visit again. Not only that, but I have made a major change to the third book in The Stars Trilogy. But before I get to that, I want to talk about my contemporary novel a little bit.

It was originally called The Glorious In-Between because the story focused more on the queer-platonic relationship between two asexual characters, but after receiving some feedback that the protagonist didn’t really push the story along, that stuff happened to her but she didn’t make much happen, I had to completely tear the plot apart and redo it. There’s still a queer-platonic relationship in it, but it’s not the main focus. Instead the focus is on something entirely different, and I hope that new focus means my MC is now the one making things happen. That one is currently being critiqued.

As for the novel whose outline I finished, it is currently untitled; a title won’t come until I’ve actually started putting the story itself on paper. However, what I can say about it is that it’s a magical girl story (sans transformations), something I’ve always wanted to write since watching Puella Magi Madoka Magika for the first time. I was fascinated with how that show turned the magical girl trope on its head and ultimately turned into something dark and delicious. Being drawn to magical girls myself and the concept of girls/women having incredible powers inaccessible to boys/men, I knew I wanted to transition this concept to novel format. Of course, they won’t be called magical girls. It’ll be a play on words.

Like The Stars Trilogy, it’ll take place in the 19th century. But unlike my trilogy, it’ll take place in our world instead of a made-up one.

I don’t know when I’ll able to start writing this. I’m hoping to hear some good news about When Stars Die soon, so that’ll have to take precedence. And also, I start PT school officially tomorrow. I’m hoping I can fit my writing life into it as well as take care of my mental health.

As for the third book in my trilogy, All Stars Align, it’s been several years in the making. I outlined it once, did have the draft written, started re-writes, but I just wasn’t happy with it. The entire novel was from Amelia’s perspective because a reader of mine recommended I do that; however, I wasn’t feeling it with her perspective–I wasn’t close to it. It seemed wrong because the stakes weren’t high enough for her. Her primary concern has always been her younger brother, Nathaniel, and her story had already been told in When Stars Die. Alice’s story is told in the sequel. It’s time for someone else to have the spotlight.

So I’ll be re-doing the outline and giving that spotlight to Nathaniel because the stakes are highest for him. I won’t reveal any spoilers as to why this is.

But that’s what’s going on, and I ask that you all wish me luck!

Cover Love: ‘Court of Savages’

Cover Love: ‘Court of Savages’


Every so often I’ve decided I’m going to do a post on a particular book cover I love during that moment. I can’t promise to commit entirely to it, which is why I’m not pinning down how often I’m going to do these. After all, I start physical therapy school next month, and I don’t know how demanding it’s going to be for me personally. So I may only be able to blog once a month.

In any case, as is obvious I’m going to be talking about Court of Savages(I recommend reading the blurb before reading the rest of this.) I thought of doing a book review, but I neither really read book reviews and am not that interested in writing them because it involves having to take notes to keep track of major plot points, and that’s not something I want to do when I’m reading a book. It’d kill the enjoyment for me.

But I will say I enjoyed Christy Sloat’s novel because it’s the sort of dark novel I enjoy where the main character definitely doesn’t get what she wants, and some might argue gets what she deserves.

In any case, let me pick apart what I love about this cover.

What initially drew me to this book was a blurb Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly Publishing posted on their Twitter page. And then that drew me to the book on Twitter, and the cover sucked me in from there.

What I love about this cover is its air of mystery. Just like the Gahana Royal Hotel, everything is kept a secret from London. It’s all hush-hush and essentially under wraps, and the cover portrays that perfectly. And the woman on the cover, I like to imagine, could be any of the female monsters that are in the book. She may even be snotty London  Stiles because London is no less monstrous than the beings inhabiting the hotel. The fact that you can’t even see her eyes indicates that the true intentions of everyone are meant to be hidden, including London’s. And even as you read the book, even right near the end, you aren’t sure of what London’s fate is going to be.

I love the placement of the woman. When I took a drawing class in college, I learned that subjects placed a little to the side create the most interesting portraits because the eye is used to latching on to an object and centering it. When a subject is not placed in the center, naturally it’s more interesting because the eye is forced to look at the rest of the piece while picking the subject apart.

And let’s talk about that color red. You can argue it’s sexy and alluring, but when you read the blurb, it takes on a more dangerous tone. Of course, there is plenty of sex to go around in this book, so yes, I think the color red is also supposed to be alluring, but deceptively so. London is obsessed with her looks. She’s obsessed with attractive men and getting them to find her attractive. But that red color is a warning, and paired with the woman’s hushing gesture, what readers are about to embark on is definitely not a tale for the faint of heart.

As for the flowers that tie this cover off so nicely, they can represent a variety of things. It’s hard for me to tell what types of flowers these are (maybe a rose or two?), but I think by this point I can safely say that these lovely flowers are meant to be beautifully deceptive since not all flowers are safe to be around. Every rose has its thorn and all that. And London’s character is definitely one you’d want to approach with caution.

(In case you can’t tell, I recommend the book itself.)

Why You Should Read Your Book Aloud

Why You Should Read Your Book Aloud

Read Aloud

I just finished reading out loud my WIP titled The Seeming Impossibility of Everything. I did this for When Stars Die and The Stars Are Infinite. It was my first publisher who suggested I read out loud–especially the second book because he wanted to cut down on extraneous words before moving forward with the project.

I’ll admit it wasn’t my favorite thing to do. After all, that second book was 105,000 words when I first submitted it, and I managed to parse it down by 11,000 words. It was a lot of painful work. TSIoE wasn’t as bad because it’s about 75,000 words.

When we read only in our heads, the book sounds different to us. Reading it out loud essentially makes us become the reader, so we’re able to see the book how a reader might.

When I was a tutor at my university’s writing center, we had all students read their papers out loud to make it easier for them to catch their own errors. We weren’t allowed to directly point out errors to them.

Now you can make it easier on yourself by having Microsoft Word read it out loud for you, but I never checked if Google Docs has that same function.

  1. You catch repetitive words and phrases. It’s so much easier to figure out what words you’re overusing when you can actually hear what you wrote. When you’re reading in your head, you become more passive, making it easier to to gloss over words and phrases you’re overusing.
  2. Awkward sentence structure and run-on sentences. Reading in your head is naturally a lot easier than reading out loud. Reading out loud means that if you suddenly start stumbling over what you wrote, you might want to go back and re-write that sentence because it’s likely poorly structured. You can also easily catch run-on sentences, though some writing programs point this out for you.
  3. Typos. Reading in your head makes it likelier that you’ll gloss over a great deal of what you’ve written since the brain is excellent at being able to construct entire sentences without needing to read every word in the sentence. The brain is so focused on creating meaning out of the words that it looks at the bigger picture rather than all the details within. But reading out loud, however? You are forced to read every single word, so you’re able to see where your typos are. It’s not a guarantee you’ll catch every one, but you’ll find more than you would not reading out loud.
  4. Lack of logical cohesion. As you’re reading through your paragraphs, you’ll be able to unveil where some of your story logic may fall apart. For example, in WSD, my MC’s best friend was caught in a trap, and my MC suddenly realized she didn’t stand a chance at being able to free her. I ended the chapter at that and started the next one with her sitting underneath the cloister of a cathedral feeling defeated. The logic fell apart because what happened to her best friend? I never even mentioned what was going through her head to make her decide to just abandon her best friend. But reading out loud helped me not only catch that but come up with some logic that didn’t involve tearing the entire scene apart.
  5. Pacing. Reading out loud will be able to tell you if you’re going too fast or two slow. It’ll also be able to tell you if you’re using too many short or long sentences in succession, which can absolutely affect the pacing.
  6. Missing parts. When you’re writing that first draft, it’s assumed you are just writing down whatever comes to mind. If you’re using an outline, it might be a bit more organized, but you’re still writing down whatever comes to mind based off the bullet points in your rough draft. You’ll immediately find incomplete points by reading out loud, thoughts that you started but just let fly off into the ether.

In short, just give reading your manuscript aloud a go.


Cancel Culture

Cancel Culture

Untitled design-3

I think many of you know JK Rowling has been saying a lot of inflammatory things about the trans community lately. I even caught her on Twitter saying some rather uneducated statements about mental illness and how we’re overmedicated, which I find highly offensive as someone who solely relies on medication to keep her stable. I don’t care if the statement winds up being true. She is not a doctor and is merely stating an opinion she shouldn’t be stating given her platform and her lack of knowledge on the subject. There are many mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, that cannot survive without medications, even though there are individuals who try to manage but still have a lot of problems, so her having depression doesn’t make her an authority on this matter since some depressions are situational and others are hereditary. (But all bipolars and schizophrenias are born from DNA.)

In any case, there is no cancel culture. She is a TERF, which is a trans exclusionary radical feminist. She wants to stand up for women’s rights, but not the rights of trans women. She denies their womanhood.


However, this isn’t the biggest issue. Authors with big names like Noam Chomsky and Margaret Atwood are signing a petition for an end to cancel culture, completely oblivious that there is no such thing as cancel culture. This is fans deciding they do not want to associate with sexist, racist, ableist, bigoted authors/artists/what have you, and deciding to not purchase future works from them.

It is also not censorship because the government is not coming in and forcing these authors to remove their books from store shelves or anything like that. Fans are simply refusing to support these artists anymore. Publishers have that same right. So do booksellers.

It is a myth born from  people with a platform having been given free rein to say what they want for far too long, and marginalized communities are tired of it and are speaking out against it now.

People complaining about being cancelled claim they are expressing views that are not bigoted. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but you know what is an even bigger problem than false accusations (much like false rape accusations)? Expressing bigoted views. Being bigoted. That is a much bigger problem.

These people aren’t being silenced because they are still free to express whatever views they want, no matter how big or large their platform is. Even if their account were banned they could create another one. No one’s storming their homes, ripping them out of their beds, and sending them to reeducation camps or the gulag or outright disappearing them.

If you express a bigoted view, do not be surprised when you are torn down because you deserve it. And if you do not step away and try to understand why your views may be bigoted, don’t be surprised if people continuously attack you.

Now I don’t believe in sending actual death threats or threats what-so-ever, but cancel culture is not a thing. 

JK Rowling, you’re a billionaire, and while I know you are not a typical billionaire because you understand what it’s like to languish in poverty, you have a massive platform and are instead choosing to revel in your own blindness, ignore your critics, and remain in your echo chamber of yes men. And that’s a shame because you wrote such a great series of books for children, and I suddenly think less of you and those books now.

When Stars Die: Chapter One

When Stars Die: Chapter One


So unfortunately Gnome on Pig Productions folded. The publisher had high hopes it would be able to push on through this COVID mess, but it was another victim in a long line of businesses that have had to shutter, so The Stars Trilogy will be seeking new representation, starting with When Stars Die. 

I will start seeking a new publisher (only two are on my list for now), when my books have been removed from all distribution sites, like Amazon and B&N. In the meantime, if any of you know other publishers that accept previously published works, I will be eternally grateful. I’ve already been through Pandamoon and Clean Teen in the past, so those two are off the table.

In the meantime, you will be able to read the first full chapter on Wattpad.

Styling a Writer’s Desk

Styling a Writer’s Desk

If you’re wondering why I’ve been writing posts so close together, it’s not because I lost my job again (I haven’t), I’m just in a bipolar mixed state, so throughout random times during the day, I’ll have bursts of energy, even if it’s drowning in some form of depression. But I want to talk about something fun to see if other writers are as anal about their writing spaces as I am. I am very much into cute culture, so everything on my desk is pretty much cute and pink and pastel or just outright cool looking. I have more desk pieces, actually, and posters I’d love to hang, but they’re in a storage unit. I’ll likely collect them soon since I don’t want anything happening to them, and I’ll keep them in the closet until I graduate PT school and my husband and I get our own place. Anyway, this is what my desk area looks like:

Big Pic


So you can see I have a lot of little decorative items because I don’t do any work in that space. If I want to handwrite things, I’m usually chilling in my bed, and sometimes I’ll work on my laptop in my bed. It’s all cutesy stuff. (I should definitely do something with that space above my computer monitor, shouldn’t I?) I also recently brought out that butterfly panorama light-up thing because my nights haven’t been so great–or I haven’t been doing too well at night. The mixed states just get worse, so the light and the butterflies are rather comforting and keep me from harming myself.

I have an even more close-up version of all my little trinkets:

Part Desk

The little cat set-up I purchased during a manic phase. It was just irresistibly cute, but it makes for great desk decor. It’s from Calico Critters, and I honestly wouldn’t mind purchasing more things and actually building up a collection. You can also see I pretty much adore cats, from the cat keychain on that pink binder to the cat sitting on the card with the cherry blossom tree to the cat pen to Hello Kitty to the aqua-blue squishy cat and of course the Calico Critters themselves. Hidden behind my computer monitor in the previous pic is a golden good luck cat I purchased in China Town in New York. In the previous pic, I also have a cat mug a personal training client purchased for me for Christmas. She also gave me a matching pencil case.

Now here’s a close-up of an original piece of art I purchased from my former place of work:



I am absolutely in love with this piece, as you can tell by the opaque heart I put on it. It’s a cherry blossom tree, and cherry blossoms are my favorite types of flowers (even though I have never personally seen one). And this piece was inexpensive, which was absolutely shocking. I think it was $35.00. It deserves to be so much more, but since the artist left no information about her, I could only guess she simply wanted people to enjoy  her work without spending copious amounts of money–though I never judge artists who do demand high prices. Art supplies aren’t cheap, and their labor is valuable.

And what makes this piece so special? It’s the only one, and I will ever be its only owner, until I pass it down to either my niece or nephew, whoever is an art appreciator.

Now for the last part of my desk space:


Yes, I hung up my Certificate of Admission to the University of St. Augustine. I’m just so proud of getting into this university because I never saw myself going to grad school, let alone getting a doctorate in the sciences. It’s also the only school I applied to, and I had to work really hard to make sure I got in the first time. I had to tailor both myself and my application to convince them that I was/am the right fit for this school. I have to believe I will make a great physical therapist.

As for the little ballet trinket tacked to the wall, I’m sure that’s supposed to commemorate the birth of a baby, but I bought it to celebrate the year I got en pointe, which was 2012, also the same year I started ballet. It was a big deal to me because I thought it’d take several years for me to get en pointe, but it only took 10 months, so by the time I decided to switch from private lessons to group classes, I was already in grade 4.

So there’s my writer’s space, styled in all its glory.

Now I want to see yours.

The Importance of Diversity Readers

The Importance of Diversity Readers

Why You Should Consider A Diversity Reader

Even though I have found a new job, it does not pay as well as my last job, and the hours are not yet consistent because of COVID. While I’m personal training a few people on my own to help make up for some of the lost income, it still isn’t enough. I was going to use my last job to help pay some of my tuition for physical therapy school so that way I don’t graduate with a heaping pile of debt, but that went out the window when they laid off roughly 50% of their staff–and I was one of those unfortunate victims. So now I am going to offer diversity reading services, which I will officially release in a tab on this website when the contract is finalized.

So what is a diversity reader? A diversity reader is someone who goes through your manuscript and makes sure that you’re accurately portraying marginalized characters. For example, if you do not have bipolar disorder but are writing a character who does, I could go through and make sure you’re portraying this character in an accurate manner that doesn’t play into stereotypes those with bipolar deal with on a daily basis (we’re crazy, we’re dangerous, we’re irresponsible, we should be locked up). Even if you do have bipolar disorder, not everyone with bipolar disorder experiences it the same, so I could offer some inspiration you otherwise may not have thought of. Of course, you’re still allowed to have creative license with whatever you write, but the point is that books have gotten much more diverse than even just twenty years ago, and what was acceptable then is no longer acceptable now.

I’m going to tell you why I chose diversity reader over editor–and it isn’t just because editing is more work. I watched the final season of 13 Reasons Why and was sorely disappointed with how the show treated Clay’s panic disorder, which I was recently diagnosed with. They treated his disorder as if it were more of a burden to others than to him and that he was absolutely batshit crazy, excuse the language. His friends called him Clay Cray, and the show never once addressed that this is not okay and that it’s ableist. Yes, in real life, people are ableist, but the point is that when Clay revealed he had panic disorder since he was a child, his friends should have apologized, and that never happened. We are all in control of our actions, but panic disorder can make you feel disconnected from yourself and can make you black out. I have felt disconnected and even suicidal, but I have yet to black out, thankfully.

I also was not happy that they made him lose his mind, grab a gun (or was it a taser?), and threaten to shoot a cop. People with panic disorder are more likely to implode than to explode. They could have shown him imploding instead and still have him wind up in-patient. But now people who watched the final season, especially impressionable teens, are probably of the opinion that this is how people with panic disorder are–ticking time bombs ready to go off at any minute. I understand the show is a drama, but it’s like they did minimal research or didn’t actually get someone with panic disorder to vet it. It was insulting. So this is what made me consider being a diversity reader to earn some extra income.

Diversity readers do not exist to censor your work. Our feedback is just that–feedback. Feel free to take it or leave it. I don’t care what anyone says about diversity readers. If you’re a white person writing from the perspective of a POC, you better darn well get a diversity reader who is a POC because a white person’s experience is NOT the same as a POC’s experience. It’s the same with being neurotypical and writing from the perspective of someone with a mental illness. Mental illness changes your brain and your thought processes and how you experience the world, even when you are stable, and a neurotypical person cannot possibly understand that, even with all the research in the world.

So once I get my contract written out, I’ll write an updated post with topics I’m willing to look over.


Vanilla Chai Tea and Writing Update

Vanilla Chai Tea and Writing Update

tea and writing

Before I get into an update on my writing life so far, I want to mention how I am currently working on my website to make it more tea/writer themed since tea has always been a hobby of mine, one I’ve recently picked back up since discovering a place in Aiken that actually sells loose-leaf tea. We used to have a Teavana at our Augusta mall, but they closed down since Starbucks bought them out (a disastrous move, might I add, because there is nothing Teavana about what Starbucks has done to its products). In any case, it is called The Confection Cottage run by two women named Lady Kelly MacVean and Chef Kirstie Wohlfeil. You don’t have to live in the Aiken, South Carolina region to enjoy her teas, as you can order them online.

My most recent purchase was a vanilla chai tea. It’s a black tea, and I am used to using water to make all my black teas. However, I wanted to create a dupe that New Moon Cafe sells because it was just sublime. So first I made it with 8 oz of water at 100 degrees Celsius, seeped 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla chai in a tea bag for 3 minutes, then added two teaspoons of half and half, two teaspoons of milk, and two teaspoons of sugar. It was good, but it had a watery flavor to it that I didn’t think was right for this particular blend. So I decided to try milk, and this is the dupe I came up with (it is perfect):

  • Boil 16 oz of milk to 100 degrees Celsius (about half will boil out anyway) in a tea kettle
  • While you’re boiling, put 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla chai blend in a tea bag and rest it in your cup.
  • Now pour the milk over the bag and steep for 3 minutes.
  • Once you’re done, still add 2 teaspoons of half and half or 1 teaspoon of whipping cream. Stir.
  • Now add 2 teaspoons of sugar and stir. You can add more if you want a perfect New Moon Cafe dupe (if you’re ever able to go there), but two teaspoons is perfect, in my opinion.
  • Now you can add whip cream and even sprinkle cinnamon on top.
  • And yum! It is amazing. It is bliss.

On to writing!

I started a book five years ago that was dubbed The Glorious In-Between, a book about an asexual character (Shailene) who forms a fast friendship with another asexual character (Sean). They had a kind of squish (an aromatic crush) relationship going on. However, the problem with TGIB is that a lot of stuff was happening with my main character, but she wasn’t doing anything herself to progress the story. In fact, it was the secondary character, Sean, doing all of the progressing. Now after a few recent beta reads, I’ve renamed the novel Panic Switch and have given Shailene panic disorder because upon doing research, I don’t think there are really any YA books at all that touch upon panic disorder (if I am wrong, point some out to me because I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to read them). Sure there are books on anxiety, but generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder are not the same thing. I have been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks myself recently and am currently working on them with my doctor.

So I am re-writing this entire novel where it now centers around Shailene having to cope with this new panic disorder diagnosis while also trying to find closure for her recently deceased twin sister Annabelle who committed suicide. While the scenes are very much the same, the plot is completely different, and I think this time around–I hope–Shailene has much more control of the plot than Sean will.

Now on to All Stars Align. I will admit I am being slow with this one, but I am at least writing it. It is happening. It may not be submitted by the end of this summer (more like the end of this year), but I’m taking my time because I’ve noticed I have partial burnout with this trilogy–I have discovered I am simply not a series writer. Two books and that’s it. That’s why I want to take my time because I don’t want to short readers by getting out a subpar story all for the sake of finishing it before I start physical therapy school.

I also have a little surprise I want to unveil in the future, but first my books (When Stars Die and The Stars Are Infinite) will have to get fixed on Amazon first because the e-books still aren’t up and now the paperbacks supposedly only have a few in stock or are entirely unavailable. Apparently this has been a common complaint amongst the indie community. You can get them on Barnes and Noble though.

The Time I Tried to Kill Myself and Failed (Obviously): A Realistic Discussion of Suicide

The Time I Tried to Kill Myself and Failed (Obviously): A Realistic Discussion of Suicide

Content warning: suicide, suicidal ideation, and even discussion of an attempt 

The way we experience the world is nothing more than the sum of our brain chemicals–and at any given moment, these chemicals could go awry, affecting how we perceive the world. Through zero fault of our own, a jarring shift in our perspective of the world upends our current sense of safety and security. According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults are afflicted with a mental illness of some kind. 3.9% of the adult population in the year of 2015 reported experiencing suicidal thoughts. While it’s not mentioned what percentage of those are the result of mental illness and what percentage are the result of situational, I’m going to concentrate on those who experience thoughts due to mental illness because I still do not think it is as understood as it should be. Any time I see neurotypicals speak of suicide as a result of losing a loved one to it, it’s generally in the context of a vague situation–and frankly, I don’t want proselytizing about the beauty of life from someone who has never been paralyzed by plans bulleting through your mind. Or even from someone who wanted to kill themselves because of a divorce or some other situational event. They’re not the same. I would know, as I almost went through a divorce last year. I was able to talk my way out of those feelings, but I can’t do it when I’m suicidal because of my bipolar.


My first real attempt occurred during a bipolar mixed episode, where I was both manic and depressed at the same time. I was feeling intense despair at the loss of my hypomania the day before and also intense despair in general, especially because I could not understand what was happening to me. At the time, I didn’t see an end to it. Despite all the self-awareness in the world (I have been told numerous times in various hospitalizations I am unusually self-aware), that was not enough to act as a shield against my brain pummeling me with suicidal thoughts. It was not enough to keep my glands from secreting suicidal hormones. The feeling was quite terrifying, and in that moment I was planning what to do.

What would be the most painless way for me to go?

No painless ways exist. I researched it years prior. I think there is one painless way, but it would have required ordering some strange things off Amazon.

So I decided to drink myself to death. I was already familiar with vomiting from drinking too much, so it couldn’t have been much worse than that. That was from three drinks with 40% alcohol. Keep in mind, I don’t drink that often, so I don’t have any resistance built up in me.

Now if I recall, my choice of poison was a vodka that was 50% alcohol. I ended up drinking like five mixed drinks with more than a shot’s worth in each one. I also had a lesser percentage after the five, just to finish up an older bottle. I really thought that would do me in considering my low tolerance. At the very least, I thought I’d throw up. A few months prior, I took like three shots of fireball back to back and was laid out by the toilet, so surely 50% alcohol was going to do something to me.

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And all I got was drunk; I also had to go to the bathroom quite often.

Other than that, I didn’t vomit or even feel nauseated.

Turns out mania makes you more tolerant to alcohol, meaning you have to drink more to get drunk. It’s likely due to the increased metabolism, which made me drop twenty pounds without trying over the 6 month time period I was rapid cycling (let’s be honest, I really only wanted to drop 5 lbs.).

Anyway, did I mention I was alone during this whole trying-to-die affair? Well I was, at least until my husband came home and I admitted what I tried to do–either that or I half-lied. I don’t remember. What I do remember is staying in bed and him checking up on me. I also remember thinking about how ambivalent I was that I didn’t succeed. I might have been somewhat disappointed. It’s not like I was any less suicidal and had become filled with a renewed sense of thankfulness for the overabundance of dopamine that kept the alcohol from doing me in.

That’s not how bipolar disorder works. That’s not how any mental illness works.

I hate empty platitudes directed toward the mentally ill who are either suicidal or have attempted suicide before. 

In all my time of being suicidal, it has never helped to know people love me. I know that, but I am not some thing that exists for the enjoyment of others, to have my joyless existence (when I’m ill) feasted upon until I’m a husk who cannot enjoy life because she has no energy from being so exhausted living for other people. To all of the neurotypicals out there, you might think you’re being helpful by insinuating that if we cannot live for ourselves, we should live for others, but you’re not. Living for others is exhausting. Your brain will just not let you see the good in life, which is why medication exists in the first place. When you’re mentally ill, suicidal feelings are also not a choice, a flotation device you choose to grab on to when life simply becomes too much. I didn’t just think, ‘Gee, suicide sounds great right about now to put an end to this bipolar nonsense.’ The feelings hit my head like a wrecking ball the morning I woke up feeling overwhelmingly confused about where my head was.

So am I in favor of suicidal people being able to euthanize themselves then? Absolutely not! When you are suicidal, you are not in your correct frame of mind. None of your thoughts are rational. That’s why it’s important for suicidal people to never be left alone because that’s all you can do is keep a suicidal person safe. Like depressive peaks, suicidal thoughts aren’t forever, even if they feel like they are.

You can be depressed every single day of your life and never experience a single suicidal feeling. It takes a particular toxic chemical mixture to elicit suicidal thoughts, and once that mixture has either settled down or the right chemical has been added or removed, the thoughts do just go away in a snap. Thoughts of self-harm are much the same way. Why do I want to hurt myself? I don’t know. Mental illness in itself is not rational.

It has also never helped to know that I have a future. Yeah, okay, I know that, but I don’t care in the moment because I feel freaking miserable. There is nothing in the world that can outweigh the misery of mental illness. And please spare me the sentiment that I just need to keep getting up every day and keep trying. What do you think I have been doing? While a lot of people don’t like the label, I am high functioning, but it doesn’t make my illness any less severe. In fact, it arguably makes it more severe because I’ll be pushing myself to do things I shouldn’t be doing. I won’t take mental health days, even when I know I should.

Inevitably, all that pushing lands me in the hospital sooner or later.

I simply won’t mentally care for myself because my perfectionist streak makes it somehow seem a sin that I stay in bed all day, only getting up to use the restroom.

Also, keep trying? As we speak, even though I’m currently at baseline, I have been rapid cycling some time  since near the end of last year, probably the middle of fall or something. I thought it was my period, but to my displeasure, my pdoc revealed it wasn’t. Now I’ll be back on the med merry go round again.

Neurotypicals with their empty platitudes will never understand what that’s like, to think you have found your golden ratio, only to be battered with the realization it’s not enough AND it’s also causing health issues. I mean, I started out on a med that made me crazy manic, and then got put on another med that made me hypomanic, but went unnoticed until I crashed into depression three months later, and then got put on a med that gave me awful panic attacks, and finally switched to a new doc who put me on Lamictal, which worked for three years before stopping for good.

That’s the thing. I depend solely on medication to keep me balanced. Bipolar disorder is not one that can go without. There are those who try to manage without using meds, but they still have plenty of episodes. And those who claim they’ve stopped meds and haven’t had problems since? They were either misdiagnosed, are lying, or eventually slip into a depressive or manic episode.

My rapid cycling likely isn’t as severe this go around because I do have Lithium and Depakote racing through me. But here’s the thing: They can’t be increased. Lithium has most likely given me hypothyroidism while I apparently have Depakote toxicity or something. My skin is dry, I have dandruff, my hair looks like Hagrid when unstyled, I’m pretty sure my cycle has either been disturbed or has stopped altogether, I have gained weight that kind of makes me hate my body (for my comfort, I always have to make a point of saying I’m not overweight), and I might have some digestive problems. Who knows?

I am not bitter about the hand I was dealt, despite sounding it. I am a realist who despises inspirational quotes, financial advisors, and life coaches–especially all of the aforementioned who have published trite books. They never consider that life is sometimes so horrifically abysmal and impossible that no amount of “advice” is going to fix the nightmare that is your life because sometimes no matter how hard you try, how hard you fight, life is unkind at the best of times and an absolute Karen at the worst. But keep in mind I said sometimes. So telling me my life is in my hands, solely to do what I please with, is unhelpful.

Mental illness robs you of any control you have over your life. Medication gives it back, but certain mental illnesses will need a rotating cast of it.

Today I still look at my attempt and feel absolutely disconnected from it. I don’t mourn my decision. I don’t revel in the outcome, grateful I didn’t die. I don’t chastise myself for doing something so foolish, promising that I’ll never do it again. Truth be told, I am terrified that any future attempts will be future successes. Or future attempts will land me in the hospital. Not all psychiatric units treat you kindly once you’ve attempted. One patient was put in handcuffs, and not the soft kind, when she was walked from the ER to the unit. She was by no means a criminal.

Bipolar disorder has a high suicide attempt rate, more than 50%. Its successes are also high when compared to other mental illnesses, like clinical depression. If any of you knew Steve Cash of his Talking Kitty Cat channel, he had bipolar disorder and unfortunately succumbed to it. I won’t say he died of suicide because if he didn’t have bipolar disorder from the start, he wouldn’t have had suicidal thoughts. So bipolar disorder killed him. Bipolar disorder might kill me. Apparently my life expectancy is shorter thanks to it, for whatever reasons.

By the way, I do believe life is mostly beautiful in spite of how tumultuous my 20s have been. Here’s to my 30s!


What I Use for My Covers on Wattpad

What I Use for My Covers on Wattpad

*This is not a sponsored post*

First off, I’d like to share my Wattpad, something I recently decided to resurrect. I only ever had one story on there for a few years, until yesterday when I decided to put more short stories on there. “I Am the Bell Jar” and “Dead Poet’s Pendulum” were published at one point, but all rights are mine again, so I’m sharing them for free on Wattpad. To me, “Dead Poet’s Pendulum” reads a bit more amateurish, but I was 18 at the time of it being published. Despite that, I only did some proofreading before publishing on Wattpad because I want to preserve my voice as it was at the time.

I think I had “Sister Evelyn” published on a weebly website I used to have, but it’s part of my Stars universe, as well as another story that isn’t included in the covers above simply because that is a cover I purchased from a designer, not one I made myself.

I plan to add more Stars shorts and then may bundle them in an anthology on Wattpad.

Since I am considering myself absolutely broke for the time being, purchasing pre-made covers has not been feasible. There are people offering services on Wattpad, but most charge in some form or another, and, again, I’m not spending more than a dollar in these uncertain times.

So what is a writer to do? Well, I decided to turn to Canva, this brilliant, amazing website I have been using for my blog posts’ cover photos as of late. It is a database of thousands of photographs along with a myriad of elements and what not you can use to customize whatever it is you want to work on.

Doing book covers on here is the easiest thing imaginable. You don’t need any editing or photo shopping skills. All you need to do is go to ‘create a design’ in the upper left hand corner.

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Then you choose the option for a book cover, and it will bring up a template that is the perfect size. While I’m unwilling to spend several dollars on having others create book covers for me, I don’t mind spending just one single dollar for the perfect photograph to use as my book cover. And that’s what I do. I browse for a photograph I think will fit my short story, drag it into the template, purchase it, and start working on the text.

Creating book covers on your own really makes you realize that the text is what makes a cover truly bookish. Now I don’t know what the Pro option is like for Canva, so you can’t create brilliantly fancy text–multi-colored, for example–but there are plenty of options for the type of text you can choose from. If you look at my cover for ‘A Treacherous Flame’ on Wattpad, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I mean fancy text. You just can’t do that on Canva, probably not without upgrading to the Pro option. But like I said, I don’t know.

The other amazing thing about Canva is that it will let you know if your text or image is centered or not, or even if it’s extending beyond the borders. Basically, as you move the text or image around, it’ll bring up a grid that serves as a guide to tell you where it makes sense to place whatever it is you’re working on.

But that’s what I use and it’s what you can use if you’re strapped for cash. You can make some pretty amazing covers for self-publishing on Canva.