When I was a senior in high school, I was diagnosed with a benign heart murmur caused by severe anxiety. I remember getting the diagnosis, but was given no treatment or advice. The doctor wrote it off as stress caused by upcoming finals and college response letters, and expected it to go away by summer time.
8 years later and I am still waiting for that mythical summer 😂 The conversations surrounding mental health are finally making steps in the right direction. They are being recognized more and more frequently as valid illnesses and less and less as something shameful. Throughout this near-decade long battle with anxiety and depression, I have found writing to be very cathartic. Not always fiction, though. I would write vignettes in my Facebook posts about what I was feeling, and made a point of normalizing and advocating mental health. This not only helped me make sense of the tangled thoughts in my head, but it also helped those who were ready to listen and understand my battle better. My healing has taken tremendous leaps and bounds in the meantime, and I am meeting with a therapist to help me learn how to recognize and manage my triggers.
What does this have to do with our works in progress? Since writing is a significant part of my healing process, I have been inspired to write a character named Nym who has similar struggles. Hopefully her journey will inspire other people who are facing similar circumstances.
Nym’s story takes place in a beautiful forest realm where teenagers are paired with animal guardians to cultivate their strengths. At Nym’s Choosing, she is paired with the most feared creature in the land.
While I have yet to discover the whole of Nym’s journey, my aim in telling her story is to help those battling anxiety and depression realize their strength (because they ARE strong already, look what they face every day!), and to encourage them to give themselves grace.
The Splintered Sun will be addressing mental health, overcoming fear, and learning to respect and understand those who are different from you.
I look forward to giving you updates on this WIP and partnering up with Matti again for another story. Be sure to keep an eye out for out other [untitled] WIP that Matti is spearheading.