Am I Ill, or Just a Writer?

You probably do not want to be inside my head. It’s incredibly strange and confusing, and sometimes downright disturbing. But, in order to make this post comprehensible, I need to give you give you some idea of what happens.

I could be doing anything; I could be working (which usually involves copy writing or proposal writing), housework, watching television, shopping, or even driving. All the while, there are things happening in my mind. Like all normal people, I may be thinking various thoughts, working out problems, or planning.

Then, something happens. I’m never aware of when it begins, only when it ends, usually abruptly.

I start to hear voices. Yes, voices. No, they aren’t usually talking to me and telling me to do things. These voices are like transmissions from some other place, time, or world. They are going about their own lives and days, and I’m just experiencing it through them.

The voices get louder the more I ignore them. If I am particularly busy, I have to find a way to drown them out. Usually, I turn on the television and let something play in the background, something I know well and can drift to from time to time. I cannot do that forever, though. Because the longer I go without paying attention to these voices, the harder it gets to ignore them.

So, eventually, I let them take over.

I wish I could adequately describe what it’s like, but nothing I could say would do so. The best analogy I can give you is like being in the midst of your favorite film, not merely watching it, but living it, sans cameras, a part of the action, or at least an internal observer. The real world disappears and is replaced by something else. I stand where they stand, the sources of those voices. I listen, I follow them, I feel their emotions. Sometimes, they communicate with me, and I speak with them, and together we experience their lives so that I may use them as a writer.

Anyone watching me do this would think I’m a completely insane person walking around and talking to myself.

You may be thinking, “Cool, it sounds like you have an extremely vivid imagination.” In the mildest moments, yes, that is true.

But, there are some problems.

When I said these voices get louder and harder to ignore, I meant that I have little real control over them. And, sometimes, I am transported whether I want to be or not.

When I was little, I had a hard time socializing. I don’t recall much, but what I do recall is vivid, and much of it I now know could not be real. I have been told that others were confused by me and couldn’t relate because I would mentally disappear, and then I would speak to them in ways and with words that made no sense to them. I, quite literally, was not living in the real world, and, apparently, more than what was normal for a child.

I have been told that some school administrators or teachers thought I had high functioning autism (that was the phrase at the time). They wanted to put me in special education, but my parents refused. As a result, I learned to adapt on my own, and it was not an easy thing to do.

I have never really stopped being the “weird girl.”

It would be many years before I would accept who I was and find a place for myself. I did, however. I am very introverted, but more than capable of handling social situations, though they make me extremely uncomfortable. I say I have a knack for acting, and that it’s unfortunate I haven’t had the chance to test that on the stage.

I put my mental oddities to use in higher education. I have degrees in the humanities, and I have been told that I am a good teacher (there’s that acting, again). I have put my skills as a writer to use in the workforce, and I have even managed a full-time job as a writer working from home.

Some things have not changed, however. While on the surface I appear to function as a normal member of society, the truth comes out when I have to interact intimately with anyone.

After a little while, it becomes clear to people who try to know me that I’m not quite “normal” (I hate that term for many reasons, but it is relevant at the moment). To a lot of people, I’m not quite “all there.” I “zone out” when people are speaking, making me seem rude and inattentive. I go on about things they find odd, or don’t understand, or about which they just don’t care. I sometimes reveal more in conversation than is socially acceptable. I don’t communicate with people regularly, basically disappearing for periods of time. My moods are unstable, and I sometimes overreact to circumstances because my mind associates them with something else, something that no one else can know. I’m obsessive about things that, again, people do not really understand, or necessarily appreciate.

All in all, I’m not an easy person to get along with. That’s not to say I am rude, abrasive, or uncaring. I endeavor to always be open-minded, and if someone bothers to be friendly to me, I am certainly going to try and be there for them (sometimes even for those who are not friendly to me). How can I not be, when I have spent so much of my life struggling to be liked and accepted?

What am I? Do I have a genuine mental illness or disorder? Or, am I just eccentric, overly imaginative, or crazy? Are all creative minds like this?

I don’t know, and, frankly, I don’t care.

I don’t have many friends or attend parties, I’m alone a lot, and I’m fine with that. What friends I do have are very good ones, and alone I can be who I am with complete freedom.

I don’t have children, and it is highly unlikely that I ever will. Again, that is not a problem. I don’t have a maternal instinct or desire, and I don’t have a mind that could cope well with having a child to care for.

I’m 30 and unmarried, and am not necessarily close to being married. However, I’m not without a romantic history, both painful and happy, and though I would like to marry someday, I do not consider it a necessity.

I believe that I was made this way because I have something to do. I don’t yet know what that is. I hope it involves writing something relevant.

Because, whatever anyone else may say, I am a writer. That’s all that matters.

Swimmers by Amy Bright (Review)

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17-year-old Hunter Ryan is making a long-dreaded return trip home. He takes a Greyhound bus bound for Victoria, British Columbia with his ex-girlfriend Lee and a 12-year-old named Poppy. There’s a reason that Hunter left his parents, his friends, and his sister Bridget behind when he left for Alberta to live with his Aunt Lynne. Now Lee has come to bring him back because it’s time for him to face the real reason that he ran away. Swimmers traces their journey home, revealing Hunter’s past and the precarious, uncertain present in which he now finds himself. -Goodreads

Above all, I found Swimmers to be an honest story. You will not find silly, stereotypical, shallow, after-school-special moments or characters in this tale. The characters in Bright’s novel are realistic and raw, with all their real-world struggles and baggage in tow. I was impressed to read a well-written, YA novel that did not shy away from the harsh truths of young adulthood–parents are not perfect, children are not always “innocent,” and sometimes we lose the ones for whom we care, even the young.

While Swimmers‘ story moves a little more slow than some young readers would prefer, and the transitions between points in time might cause momentary confusion, what lies within is an in-depth look at the life and feelings of a growing boy experiencing a painful, and very real, chapter in his life.