Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Kate McLaughlin author of Mommy I'm Still in Here: One Family's Journey with Bipolar Disorder.
day Kate and thank for participating in our interview.
explain what is meant by the term Bipolar Disorder and how prevalent
is it in North America?
for inviting me, Norm. Bipolar Disorder used to be called manic
depression. It’s a biologically-based illness, in the
same way that diabetes or muscular dystrophy are caused by genetic
abnormalities. Bipolar Disorder is an illness of the brain that
causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning. Over 15
million men and women in North America have bipolar disorder, which
is a life-long condition with recurring episodes of mania, anxiety
and depression that can last from days to months. The average age of
onset is 17, but it can begin in adolescence, early adulthood, and
even in young children.
have been thousands of books written about Bipolar Disorder. What
makes your book different from the others?
right, Norm. Lots of books have been written on the subject, and when
my kids first got sick I read them all. The problem I encountered was
this: Nothing gave me hope. Nothing empowered me or my children.
Nothing realistically described living with this illness by providing
real-life, in-the-trenches descriptions of how symptoms looked. And
nothing offered practical recommendations for supporting a loved one
and learning to live well with chronic mental illness. I vowed to
write what was missing to alleviate some of the fears and
frustrations those families following us down this path would
inevitably feel. Mommy I’m Still in Here is the result of that vow.
far has research come concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of Bipolar
Disorder. Family practitioners, counsellors, and educators are
increasingly more aware of the symptoms of mental illness; and
psychiatrists have better anecdotal guidelines to follow in order to
provide a definitive diagnosis. But the greatest strides have been
made in treatment and medication management. The prescription
medications that keep my daughter, Chloe, healthy and well were not
even on the market a decade ago. My mother-in-law never had the
benefit of most of the drugs that currently provide great relief and
make this illness manageable. In addition to medication,
psychotherapy and education about the illness are also essential
components of the treatment process that have vastly improved.
motivated you to write Mommy I'm Still in Here: One Family's Journey
with Bipolar Disorder and how
did you decide you were ready to write the book?
said earlier, I wanted to fill the void and add a positive,
encouraging personal perspective. Additionally, as we overcame the
initial shock and the struggle to stabilize our kids, I grew keenly
aware of the stigma surrounding mental illness. I wanted to teach
others the facts so that fear and frustrations would give way to
empowerment and understanding. Since I was already a published author
and professional writer, developing this book was a natural next
step. And I must admit that the process of writing was cathartic for
me, almost a personal therapeutic process. Working through my journal
entries and emotions, doing the research, and creating an interesting
story helped me to heal, too.
tell us something about your book.
I’m Still in Here” is a story of hope and the realities of living
with extreme challenges, but it’s also a great read. Literally
hundreds of people have written or spoken to me and said the same
thing, “I couldn’t put the book down!” It grips the reader like
a good novel. I’m proud of that achievement.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
The most difficult part was deciding whether or not to pursue a publisher. After I finished the project, it felt so personal. I wasn’t sure I wanted to share so much of myself and my family with the world. But, of course, that’s what writers do. We write what we know, in one form or another, and then release it into the world.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
learned to edit myself. I learned to use fewer words, both in my
writing and in my everyday life. In my past, I used too many words
and shared too many opinions. I learned that those habits were
unnecessary. An edited life leaves room for more wonder, more joy.
there be any unique ways you'll be marketing your book that is
different from how others market books of a similar nature?
spend a lot of time talking to high school and college groups, not
only students, but also parents and educators. I teach people to
recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and assure them that
mental illness is treatable, wellness is attainable. Because nearly
20% of the population deals with a serious mental illness
(depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia), and the
average age of onset is 17, students, educators and parents are
keenly interested in the topic. My books usually sell as a result of
the information I share at these sessions.
can our readers find out more about you and your book and what is
next for Kate McLaughlin?
is packed with mental health information and includes bits from the
book as well as purchasing links. Readers can also contact me
directly at www.katemclaughlin.net
they have questions or would like to book me as a speaker. Finally,
as the blitz of this project slows, I’m looking forward to writing
a book of short stories; and some of my poetry is posted on
there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?
stuff, Norm…knowledge is power, education is the key to success,
wellness is achievable, and hope abounds.
Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.