Are the journals available worldwide?
YES, except for countries restricted by various retailers or postal services. The journals are POD and will (usually) be printed at the nearest printer to your location.
Why are the journals self-published?
Self-publishing has given me the opportunity to work on all aspects of the book myself with an illustrator of my own choosing and within the time frames that worked around both my health issues and home-schooling by aspie teen.
Also, the POD and distribution company I’ve chosen provides the specs I need for the book and allows me to keep the price of the book and shipping costs as reasonable as possible.
Do you sell mainly to individuals or organizations?
Sales for Challenging the Black Dog have been roughly split 30/70 between individuals and organizations. Shout out to Warragul Regional College which has been implementing CtBD with its students for over two years now.
On the other hand, Silencing the Inner Ghosts sells predominantly to individuals at the moment.
Is there an option to bulk order?
Yes. If you’d like to order a bulk amount, starting at a minimum of 5 copies, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as discounts may apply.
Are you a mental health professional?
My ‘qualifications’ for creating these books comes from 25 years experience with various mental disorders of my own, including depression and NSSI, both of which first began in my teens. However, I have regularly consulted with a qualified psychologist regarding the contents of the books during their creation and they have been used in clinical setting successfully.
Will the journals solve my problems?
I wish it was that simple…
Some depression goes away for a long time, only to sneak back up on you later in life. Some people seem to suffer from a low-level depression as their emotional ‘set point’. Other people find that with enough help that they can permanently exclude the black dog from their life.
The same goes for self-injurious behaviour. Everyone is different and I can’t make any claims that the journals will cure what ails you, but they can help alleviate the symptoms and guide you towards recovery if you give them time and a chance.
If I get a journal do I still need other treatment?
Everyone is different and this isn’t something I can advise you on. I’ve known people who have relied solely on self-guided therapy and lifestyle changes who’ve improved their condition. I’ve known other people with treatment resistant depression or embedded self-injurious behaviours where nothing seems to work.
Most people find it best to go with a combination of treatments, which can include such things as: psychotherapy interventions, medication, self-therapy, exercise + diet changes, establishing routines, hypnosis, regular self-care, support groups, and medical interventions such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
The journals were written to use either as self-guided therapy (for those unable or unwilling to access medical treatment for their condition) or in conjunction with working with a therapist (as a activity workbook).
Aren’t you embarrassed about having a mental illness?
Do you recommend any specific treatment?
I’m not qualified to give medical advise and recommend you speak, at the very least, to your GP if you have concerns or questions about available treatments for depression or self-harm. I will, however, recommend you (and everyone else!) practice regular self-care.
Why did you create these journals?
I’ve spent more than 25 years dealing with mental health issues, but I also ended up wasting a lot of that time to struggling and barely keeping my head above water because I was unable (and occasionally unwilling) to access appropriate mental health care and a strong support network.
Over the years I’ve lost (a lot) of friends, a marriage and numerous employment opportunities because of mental illness. Some of it to the stigma attached to having a mental illness (or more), some of it to my own inability to deal with my mental health at the time.
After painstakingly building my life back up since becoming a parent and finding out how much of a difference good mental health care can make I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and watch other people lose time they don’t have to with struggling, when they can, with some help and compassion, lead fulfilling lives with just as many opportunities as everyone else.
What’s Offbeat Brains about?
Offbeat Brains is the name of my publishing imprint. The name stems from not seeing mental illnesses as ‘broken’, simply a little offbeat, when compared to what is considered a neurotypical brain.
What is Trichotillomania and Fibromyalgia?
Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder. Basically it’s an urge that results in you pulling out your hair (and can include all forms of hair on the body). My tendency is to pull out my head hair (which is an improvement over my earlier years which also involved trichophagia a.k.a. hair eating) and eyebrows. For me it’s usually in response to feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated or from wrestling suppressed anger. These days I keep my hair dyed bright, unnatural colours as a form of aversion therapy because I can see the dye on my fingers if I start pulling (it’s slowly working).
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that involves chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include extreme tiredness, memory problems and sleep issues. The cause is unknown, treatment is difficult and even though it is neither degenerative nor fatal, the chronic pain is pervasive and persistent.
What’s with your nearly non-existent social media presence?
Basically: social media or sanity. I cut back heavily on social media because it was becoming an interference in my day-to-day life. Yes, this makes it hard to get the word out about the books as an author – I breached the ‘cardinal rule’ of authors needing to create a platform before publishing. However, on the other hand I’m less distracted by ‘shiny things’ I see online.
However, if you really want to see me occasionally in my natural environment, I still sneak onto Pinterest and I used to post on Tumblr solely for providing original, creative prompts for fiction writers. Sometimes I lurk on Reddit looking at cat pictures, too.
I also respond to emails. Actually, I prefer them!
At the moment the social media accounts for Offbeat Brains are still in development.