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Hope Through Authenticity

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The Importance of Our Inner Voices: An Interview with Kathleen

Yesterday, we had a conversation with one of the voices in my mind. It was Matt who first approached me – stalked me – to tell the story in Decide to Hope. But, in many ways, it’s Kathleen’s story. She’s another voice I carry with me. She encapsulates my pain – my loneliness – my fear that I’ll never “feel normal”. She embodies this person I am who I don’t recognize herself in the mirror. She talks to me only rarely – she’s more an experience than a voice.

I think she wants to be heard. But words are hard for her because sometimes there are no words for the depth of emotion we can experience. I firmly believe that every voice in my head/heart has something important to share with me. Every voice needs something – to be heard, to feel loved, to feel safe, to feel accepted. Listen to your voices. What do they have to say and why is it important?

Again, I’ll try to keep spoilers in this interview with Kathleen to a minimum.

[Kathleen sits on the far side of the room. She has adjusted her scarf and her sunglasses countless times and now she is clutching a pillow to her chest as if it’s her only anchor to the world. Her eyes keep darting to the door.]

You keep looking at the door. Do you want to leave?

[She swings her head to me, back to the door, back to me.] Yes. No. I’m not sure. I want …[she adjusts her scarf, her sunglasses]

What? What is it you want?

[She turns back to the door and whispers.] Matt. I want Matt.

[I wait, thinking Matt may join us but he doesn’t.] You seem afraid. Do I have the ability to hurt you? You are, as we both know, a figment, a voice in my head.

[She looks at me again.] You have the ultimate power to hurt me. It’s you who can fling open the doors on my pain and make me swim around in the pain.

I can? [I’m completely flabbergasted by this answer.]

Of course. You control me. You let feelings out. You stuff them in. You decide what ruminates in your brain. You decide whether to let someone’s comments hurt us or help us. You can crack me open like a nut. You decide how much we can handle – and sometimes you make the wrong decision.

Then why don’t I just open you up, dig through the pain and move on?

[Her head cocks and she slips off the sunglasses.] It would kill us to do that all at one time. It’s too much. That’s why you write, why you go to therapy. So we can open tiny bits and then close them if it gets to be too much. Don’t you see, that’s what happened to you six years ago – you opened the box and it all swarmed you. Now, we know to take it slow, with gentleness and compassion.

But sometimes it still hurt so much.

Yes, it does. It will. That’s why you ate those cookies a few minutes ago. They were soothing to you, to me. They allowed us a few more minutes of distance from this. That’s why we read. We hide in story.

Will we always needs to hide?

I don’t know. Probably. Wounds can be healed but there are scars. I can attest to that better than anyone. Yet, [she looks at the door again], with the right support, we can accept those wounds, those scars. We can share the pain – and in sharing it’s not so painful. And, when we need the cookie or the book, we have them.

[She faces me again.] History cannot be undone, can it?

[She laughs a very small laugh.] And that’s why we have Pegah – she’s our guide and we would be lost without her.

Are you satisfied with the book?

I’m the part of you that wants to hide – to pretend all is well even though I’m trembling in fear. So, no, I couldn’t be satisfied because I would never want to tell the story at all.

I will say that you portrayed Matt as I see him – protective, loving, freaked out but trying to be in control. But most of all, he’s willing to stand by me. [She smiles now as the door opens and Matt walks in. Her body completely relaxes when she takes his hand and pulls him to her side. “Love,” he whispers to her before they turn back to me.]

Why are you here?

{Matt speaking}: I could hear her toes tapping from outside. She was starting to lose it. I told you to pay attention – her body, and therefore your body, signals when it’s getting too difficult. That’s when you have to stop, back up, try again another day. You didn’t catch the signal. So here I am.

Can I ask one more question?

[He arches his brow in impatience].

Kathleen, what are you reading while Matt reads Harry Hole?

[She scoots to the edge of the seat, tosses the pillow into Matt’s lap, leans closer and starts]. I started the JD Robb In Death series a few months ago. I’m on the 33rdbook. Eve and Roarke … [and off she goes – happy, animated, engaged.] She’s hiding and that’s okay.

Pegah is my therapist. She knows all my voices – and there are many !

Dear readers, thank you for indulging me this week as I promote my book -- I hope that these interviews continue to show you the mind of someone who suffers with bi-polar. And, I hope that these posts show you our inner voices are important!

Next week, we get back to "regular programming"!

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    In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....

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  • All of my novels, at least so far, have an element of mental illness within a character.  Decide to Hope is the most autobiographical in that I struggle in many ways exactly as the female protagonist. 
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