Struggling to keep it together

Depression

I’ve been working on character profiles for my WIP about a school teacher which I’ve been sharing with you. So while I’ve been doing that I haven’t been writing.

So I’m sharing with you something different today. It’s from a story I was working on some years ago, but never finished. It’s a highly personal tale – you could say it’s semi autobiographical. I would like to finish it one day and maybe publish it.

It’s about a girl of about 15 who’s struggling at school.  She has few friends and is very unhappy.  Then a new girl joins the school and she’s kind to my MC.  They become friends.  But unfortunately for my MC it doesn’t last.

I’m sharing with you 23 lines for the 23rd July:

I withdrew into myself, trying to talk to as few people as possible.  If Mum and Dad asked how I was, I put on a brave front, smiling and saying I was fine.  No one guessed how I was feeling.  At school, I tried to stay by myself as much as possible, not wanting to be seen.  At lunchtimes, I didn’t go out, I just stayed in the library, trying to absorb myself in a book, hoping that somehow a good story would make the pain go away.  Christine had been the only friend I had had in as long as I could remember, and now she was dead.  I couldn’t bear it.

   I stopped sleeping.  My nights were ones of restless tossing and turning, throwing the bed covers away from me, and then in turns gathering them towards me.  I was always very quiet, not wanting to wake my parents or Bryony.  Even so, Mum started to notice a change in me.  Whereas before I had answered her questions, be it monosyllabically, now I didn’t say anything.  When I went down to breakfast a couple of days after the announcement of Christine’s death, she was sitting at the breakfast table reading a newspaper.  Looking up at me with a serious expression on her face, she said,

   ‘There was something in the news this morning about a girl from your school who was killed in an accident.  It was Christine, wasn’t it?’

   I didn’t answer.  Mum sighed.

   ‘Kate, why didn’t you tell us?  Your dad and I wondered what was wrong with you.  Lately you haven’t been yourself.  We had no idea of what you were going through,’ she said, coming over to me and laying a hand on my shoulder.  ‘We want to help you in anyway we can,’ she added.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this so please comment. :)  And if you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post some of your writing (old or new) on your blog.  It should (ideally!) relate to the date.  Once you’ve posted it, add your details to this linky.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

Can illness inspire us?

Ill

A few weeks ago as some of you may recall me mentioning on my blog, I had a nasty stomach bug which put me out of action for a week. I did not feel good to say the least!

Today I’m suffering from something else – not a stomach bug thankfully, but some kind of virus which is making me constantly feel like I’ve just woken up, as well as achy and zapping my energy. Not great. I stayed home from my exercise class today which is physically demanding. I might have managed it – just – but I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of making myself feel even worse.

It gets me thinking though of how illness can inspire us. I don’t mean common colds or even nasty bugs. But many people who have been ill have written books about their experiences. Often they’re books about breakdowns or the authors’ experience of some kind of illness which has affected them a great deal. The books may not be autobiographies but they’re often semi-autobiographical and are reactions to the authors’ experiences.

Well known authors who’ve experienced some form of mental illness include J. K. Rowling, Jeannette Winterson, Marian Keyes, Patricia Cornwell, Stephen Fry, Paulo Coelho and there are many more. Many of these writers  have spoken about their experiences publicly and the affect it’s had on their work.

I myself have experienced 3 severe breakdowns since the age of 15. I’ve written about my experiences in an earlier blog post which you can read here. When you’ve experienced something like that you’re never the same again. But it can have a positive effect on your writing. I’ve got an unfinished story tucked away on my laptop which is about a young girl who has a breakdown. I intend to finish it one day.

Have you had some sort of illness, physical or mental, which you feel has influenced your writing?