Today I am very lucky to feature on the blog tour for Liz Mistry’s Uncoiled Lies. My thanks to Liz for writing a very honest and moving account, about how writing helps her to manage her depression.
My thanks also to Helen Claire and Bloodhound books for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
Finally, I would like to thank Liz’s very talented husband for his drawing of Gus from Uncoiled Lies.
Writing as therapy
I have suffered from depression for many years and at times have been so incapacitated that I couldn’t leave the house. Mental health issues affect people in a variety of different ways and at different times in their lives and yet, still there is so much stigma attached to sufferers that it is often impossible for them to get the help they need to move improve. Funding for Mental Health issues through the NHS is still tight and critical support denied to those with Mental Health issues.
For me the key to learning to manage my depression and to battle it effectively was my writing. The physical side effects, for me, included lack of concentration and focus as well as extreme fatigue and disassociation. All of this meant that maintaining relationships with friends and family was difficult. Being able to immerse myself in my writing was a way to de stress. With my writing there was no ‘judgement’ involved, no expectations of how I should behave or feel, no need to interact and above all no timescale to work to.
Exploring different characters was like delving into other peoples’ lives and exploring what makes them tick. My characters could do things I was unable to, they could explore places I couldn’t go to and they allowed me to maintain my grasp of reality. More importantly, however, they waited for me… sometimes for days, weeks, months and even years without criticism or rebuke. When I got them out and dusted them off they were like old friends at a reunion and that made me feel better.
The main character in my debut novel Unquiet Souls and the sequel Uncoiled Lies has been a friend for many years. DI Gus McGuire has been in my mind, prompting scenes and events and dialogue for a long time. He has matured and become the character he is today. Gus too suffers from mental health issues and I hope that through him my readers will be encouraged if they have similar issues or prompted to realise how difficult it is to operate when the mental issues also take a physical toll on a person.
Gus suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which has left him suffering panic attacks and feeling intolerant of those closest to him. He is aware that his temper is short and that his mood swings but is determined to work through it with the help of his psychiatrist.
A good counsellor helped me to manage my depression and for that I will be eternally grateful. I am able to monitor my condition with the help of my family and friends and am quick to realise when I’m slipping down. I try to be kind to myself and I use my writing as a tool to help me through the bad times and as a luxury in the good times.
Liz’s new book can be ordered from Amazon in ebook version and paperback.