Updated: Feb 2
Hello, my name is Del. I am a 47-year-old mother, wife, and aspiring writer. My passion is writing. I write horror and dark paranormal short stories and novels, as well as poetry, and stories about real-life issues; such as mental illness, domestic violence, and anything that I feel interested and passionate about. I have studied and passed Levels 5 and 7 in Creative Writing, where I earned the certificate and diploma. 13 of my short stories have been published, as well as 6 poems. On the side, I run a Facebook horror group and it helps me to research what I write about. I am looking forward to writing articles for The New Zealand Blog, and getting to know more writers through this journey.
Mental Illness and How Writing Helped to Tame the Big Black Dog
by Del Gibson
First off, let me say, I am well and stable. These are words I often have to tell myself, sometimes once a week, sometimes a few times a day. To be honest…this is a challenge to write, but I will give it a go….There are many parts of me that make up the person I am now. A 47-year-old, happily married wife, with 4 children and 1 stepdaughter. Being a Mother has been my greatest achievement. However, after the birth of my second child when I was 30 years old, my life fell apart in the worse possible way.
When it happened, the start of it–I remember the day as if it were only yesterday. My second child was 1 week old, and it was boxing day sales at the mall. The day was a scorcher. Everything was going well. On this particular day, I wasn’t feeling quite myself. I recall the feeling of being surrounded, suffocated. It suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think straight–my mission was the desperate need for air, to get outside, fast. My heart was hurting, and I thought I was having a heart attack. My partner at the time was about to call an ambulance, but after a bit, I calmed down a little. That was my very first panic attack.
The day my partner was supposed to return to work was the last straw. I broke. He kissed me goodbye, reassuring me I will be fine. Suddenly, this intense feeling overwhelmed me. I told him, “if you go to work today, I will kill myself.” I have no idea where that came from, but it scared us both. Fortunately, his brother was a Mental Health Psychiatric nurse, who worked for CATT (Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team) at Lower Hutt hospital. He called him and explained the situation. Within the hour, I was sitting at the desk of the head psychiatrist for the team. After an hour of talking and sobbing through the appointment, I was diagnosed with Post-Partum Depression. From there, the psychiatrist admitted me into the Mental Health/ Psychiatric ward. I was there for 6 weeks.
Since then, I have been admitted to the ward 6 times in a 17-year period. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and numerous trials to get my treatment plan and medication right. Therapy groups and psychiatric appointments became the norm. A few times I have tried to unalive myself–those were the scariest times of all of this, the suicidal thoughts. I know this is all doom and gloom, but this was my life and I thought that I would never be normal again. I was no longer the friendly, bubbly person I once was–full of life and eager for the next adventure. Life had changed, and I had to accept it.
Then the healing began when I met my soul mate, my husband, and we have a beautiful daughter together. My medication was finally working, keeping me stable. I started to look after my mental wellbeing, but there was something missing–I could feel it, the emptiness. I began to ponder, where do I go from here? I am virtually unemployable when it comes to holding down a 9-5 job away from my safe place–home. I needed to find something that would bring me joy (that no one else can give me) I had to find something to be passionate about. One day, I decided to write the book. I always said I would write. I made a routine. Every morning I would have a cup of tea, sit at the computer and write. My first story was a dark paranormal horror. When it was finally finished, my husband read it while I was asleep. He came into the room and woke me up at 5 a.m. to tell me he had read my book and he loved it. This prompted me to enroll in a Creative Writing course. In 2019, I studied for and passed level 5, then I enrolled for level 7, and passed that course too. Writing saved me from staying in bed all day, it changed my attitude towards life, gave me something with substance to concentrate and focus my thoughts on something other than my depression. The accomplishments I felt passing the courses with all A grade, was monumental to my sense of self-worth and confidence. 2 years of solid writing and studying gave me the lift I needed.
Since then, I have had numerous short stories and poems published. I have been involved in reviewing and editing for other writers. I run a Facebook group that involves my other passion, horror, and true crime. I have over 400 members since I began the group 5 months ago. I would like to conclude by saying, don’t give up! When life gets hard, make a change for the better. Look after yourself, do what makes you happy. Find your bliss and remember, tomorrow is another day. Live one more day, because you never know what happiness and opportunities tomorrow might bring.
Copyright © Gibson, Del 2022