WYL: Can you speak to the inspiration of the book / why write about mental health?
C: The more work I was doing counselling college and university students, the more I began to realize that no one is really taught about the relationship that they have with themselves in a real, useful, concrete way – how to have a good relationship with yourself, how to talk to yourself, any of it! We are taught about our relationships with others, parents, friends, teachers, coaches, significant others… but we don’t ever get information about the relationship with the person that we spend 100% of our time with – ourselves! There are so many reasons that this is important, and one of them is a proactive approach to coping with mental health and mental illnesses.
So much of what we struggle with regarding mental health persists because of our thought patterns. Our relationship with ourselves, our inner dialogues with ourselves, and how we communicate and narrate our own lives is extremely important to our overall mental health. If every person had the information, the tools, and the time to actively get to know themselves and was able to learn how to work together as a team with that inner voice, there could be a real revolutionary shift in how we are able to cope on those tough days. If we could get to a place where we supported ourselves instead of tearing ourselves down and if we learned how to really like, appreciate, and understand ourselves, we would have a real tool to get through those hard mental health days, weeks, even months. This isn’t always easy, and some days will be harder than others, but this is the foundation to the process of having and maintaining good mental health.
The world is hard enough as it is – when your own inner voice is your own worst critic, on the days where things are tough, wouldn’t it be great if you trusted your inner voice to help you through those days? That relationship is root to everything in our lives; healthy relationships with others, the ability to work towards our goals, to be able to be our honest, true selves – everything.
WYL: What has been the biggest struggle in your journey with the book? The biggest highlight?
C: Interestingly, my biggest struggle with this book has been waiting! I wrote this book when I was 26 and I am now 29, and I’ve been dying to get it out to people that need it most. While I understand the time necessary to put together a book like this, when you’re passionate about something, you just want to see it out in the world. I’m so glad that day is finally here! I am so looking forward to people getting something useful and possibly even life changing out of this book.
The biggest highlight of this process was probably the day that I was able to sign my contract with my publisher, New Harbinger, which has been great and is one of the largest publishers for books on the topic of mental health. While I wrote the book initially thinking I would just print off a few copies to keep in my office to hand out to my students and my clients, it is amazing to have the platform to potentially reach and help more people. I am so looking forward to hearing from readers who connect with the ideas in the book and find something in there that works for them!
WYL: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
C: My biggest hope is that readers will take away an increased awareness of how they speak to themselves, and to have a chance to reflect and compare this to how they would allow a friend or significant other to speak to them. If they would think that a friend was being awful and unreasonable for calling them stupid, not good enough, or ugly – then I hope that people can take that reflection about how they speak to themselves and the relationship they have with themselves in a way that allows them to make positive changes in that relationship.
The book gives them the tools they need to make that change. I hope that readers are able to start on a journey of having a truly supportive relationship with themselves, because with everything that life will throw your way, you might as well be a friend to yourself as you go through it. It’s a journey – but it’s worth it.