Many of you will have had a stressful time over recent months, whether it’s been adjusting to new situations at school, financial concerns, and so on. This has resulted in some people struggling with their mental health for the first time or finding their existing anxiety or depression amplified. As someone who has struggled in this area since their teens, I really do understand how hard that can be. I also understand how hard it can be to talk about it, but it is so important to do just that. By supporting each other, we can all get through this together.
It was my depression and anxiety that actually kick started my writing career, or if you are a Worzel Gummidge fan – my writing head (It may have been on TV before my time, but I was still brought up on it). Being able to immerse myself in another world was just what I needed back then. What I hadn’t realised while I was writing though, was how much of myself came through in the character of Akea.
At that time, I didn’t have my Aspergers diagnosis. I received this about 6 months before Akea was published, and the similarity between myself and Akea was pointed out to me not long after the book came out. As you know, Akea starts off feeling out of place where she should have belonged, among her sled dog family, and ends up fitting in where she stands out the most, in charge of the wolf pack. In a similar way, I spent a long time feeling that I didn’t fit in, but now I understand it’s okay to be different, and I have found my place in the world as an author.
As someone with Asperger’s, being asked how I ‘feel’ about something is a really difficult question to answer. But that was just one of the challenging questions I was asked for an interview in an online magazine. I was also asked to explain in more detail how writing helped me with my mental health. You can read this detailed article here: ‘In Bath’ November 2020.
How I ‘feel’ was also a popular question in my interview with BBC Radio Somerset. I was relieved that, due to social distancing regulations, I was told the interview would take place on Facetime. It saved me having to ask if we could do it that way, as I know I could never handle anything live or even pre-recorded if they came to my home. I could hardly breathe for five minutes before it started, but I surprised myself by how much talking I did once we’d got started, and I managed the whole thing with very little support, so I’m quite proud of myself. It’s only seven minutes long, so if you’d like to hear it, there is a link on my blog post. I would love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment if you can.
Well, that’s it for now. Time for me to get back to editing the next Akea adventure. I will be thinking of you all over the coming weeks as we go into another lockdown.
Stay Safe, Elizabeth Jade