How much would you divulge?

I am writing a book about my daughter, Justine’s life. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and lived with many ups and downs as a result. My memoir is very candid and I don’t want to “sugarcoat” the complexities of mental illness. I don’t think that would help lift the stigma. Understanding is the first step.

Justine was killed in a car accident last year and I really feel she would want her story known. She was always open about her disease and felt it should be treated like any medical problem, with compassion, not disgust. She was a strong advocate for the homeless and always lent a sympathetic ear to their plight knowing she might have ended up on the streets too had she not received help and had understanding friends and family. Although sometimes I struggle with the feeling I’m betraying her in some way, I do know I’m doing the right thing.

This brings me to the dilemma I am having about my blog. Many people tell me they read it to learn more about Justine. This is wonderful and the reason I’m writing. The difficulty I have is that I want to interest my readers without telling all the secrets that will be in my memoir. I want to keep my blog readers coming back but I don’t want to write too much here for fear there will be no reason to read my book.

This is where you can help. Do you think I should be including excerpts from the book here? Would that interest you in reading more?

25 thoughts on “How much would you divulge?

  1. If it were me, I wouldn’t want a book written about me and my condition, even though people need to be educated, but I would much rather a book about a fictionalised version of me. Where I did cool things like solve a serial killer case or travelled to a jungle and discovered an animal long thought to be extinct.

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  2. First, my heart goes out to you. I’ve heard it said time and again that losing a child is the worst agony to be experienced by a parent. My heart is with you.

    Secondly, that you are willing to open up in hopes to share what she wished to share is a beautiful act of love; an incredible gift -this giving of yourself- to honor her.

    In that scope of honoring her, who here can comment that they knew her better? Write that the world may know her, and write that which you believe most honors her. Let your brutally honest love guide your hand with each word you pen.

    It seems, if I understand correctly, that you wish to ultimately share what she wanted to teach. Perhaps, to avoid giving away your entire book for free, you could blog in this same vein of thought; that is write down the anecdotal memories that you don’t intend to include in the memoir. Write about the things she taught you through her words and by her actions -those things that don’t quite fit into your manuscript. This way you can still share to beauty of your daughter without divulging completely the memoir.

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    1. Your reply was so beautifully written I want to include that in my book. Thank you. Thank you for your great advice too. I feel overwhelmed with the job of deciding what to include. I know a good editor could sort it all out for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I sorry to hear about her fate. I think a book is a great idea: both for readers and for you. I wouldn’t know how to advise you about blogging excerpts. There seem to be lots of book authors’ blogs here on WP , maybe you can ask them directly, as well. Good luck! 🙂

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  4. I for one am anxious to read everything you want to write about Justine and her life. About all of you who interacted with her.
    I want to learn about Justine’s mom as well.
    There was something that I liked about you, your writings even before I knew about Justine and the connection we share as moms who are grieving our child’s death.
    People need to understand all aspects of mental illnesses. I didn’t realize how little I knew until my simple bouts of depression started to be more serious. Harder to fight. Harder to talk about.
    It is hard for me to talk about that part of my life.
    Cathy, I didn’t realize until I came here that I had never followed you either. I thought I had.
    Following you now.
    As to how much you should include here from the book…..I am not a writer writing a book,,,,,so I can’t answer that…..
    I would think it would add to this blog and if people are following your story here and get to know you…
    How could they not go out and buy your book later?
    Glad we really connected this time. Gentle hugs from one angel mom to another.
    One last thought: you have one follower not listed. Your beautiful daughter, Justine. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we both may have been overwhelmed in 201. I certainly recognized you when I saw your reply yesterday. We really do need talk about depression and mental illness since so many of us suffer silently. Thanks for your thoughts.


  5. No, I don’t think you should divulge any more than you already have because it will discourage people from actually reading the book. What you can do is write about writing the book, everything involved in getting it out there,about writing in general, what you are going to write next, and even about yourself, it doesn’t have to be all about your daughter – the book is about her.
    And yes that suggestion of a book giving the life that you might have wished for her to a fictional heroine is a great idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you can write the illusion of Justine’s issues without completely giving all the details. Remember, the mystery keeps us more intrigued. I thank you for writing about your daughter. It’s important that people be made aware of “emotional” issues. If someone has heart disease or a physical disease they receive empathy and a concern. If the issue or disease is emotional, they are judged and called crazy. I think you are doing a fine and stellar job! I’m sure Justine is sitting on a star right now and looking down at you with love and a smile!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Catherine! That was definitely one of her biggest frustrations. Even doctors dismiss mentally ill patients. She always wanted to change the perception (and so did I but I tried to be sensitive to her and stay in the background).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Cathy, Great post! I am enjoying reading this story. You are a great author. I think it would be cool to have some experts from the book, and then maybe you could post a little about that expert? I was wondering if you would like to guest blog for me. Please reply if you’re interested! Thanks! Piper

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  8. To start, I think it is beyond amazing that you are writing about your daughter, Justine, keeping her legacy alive and opening the eyes of society to the reality of mental illness. I love the idea of having excerpts from the memoir. You are incredible person and from the little I’ve read about Justine, she definitely was and is too. I can’t wait to continue to read your blog and definitely your book as well.

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  9. First off — thank you so much for choosing to follow me, Cathy. Your dilemma is a hard one. My husband was bi-polar, as well. He ended up suiciding. It was 16 years ago and I still feel enough has not been done for those suffering with mental/emotional issues. My husband did not want anyone to know about his issues. As a result, I shielded him all 35 years we were married. When he died, my children were not aware he suffered with this. I honored his need for secrecy. About a year ago, I decided to write a book about being survivors. But, I wanted to do it through other survivors stories. I’m still working on it.

    Your daughter, on the other hand, chose to let people know. And with the book, it is a hard choice as to how much to divulge on this blog. I agree with a few of the other comments. I would put more on the blog about the process you are going through with the writing and include some anecdotes, but I wouldn’t divulge too much.

    On the other hand, I know of blog writers who have turned their blog into a book. There are a lot of people out there who don’t read blogs, but do read books — especially on subjects affecting them.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Irene. One thing I’m learning through this is how many people suffer from mental illness. Times were different and you had to respect your husband’s wishes but hopefully we can be more open now. That’s the only way we will create change. I’m sharing tidbits of the book here but I’m really just introducing Justine and hopefully people will want to know more. I appreciate your input.

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  10. I’m a recovering drug addict who was told I’m bi-polar, I’ve seen a counselor who says I have ptsd instead. So I would love to read on here something about how she acted or what she did. I understand the depression and the manic part but what little things, I belive ur doing the right thing by telling her story so it can help people like me. I know I’ve been threw a lot with mental illness, drug addiction, and now cancer, hepatitis c, lung problems, kidney, and my heart. The cancer has done a lot of damage, drugs too. But as soon as I got clean I got sick uno. But I would love to hear her story it may help me figure out some things. So I do hope u write stuff from ur book. And even if u tell a little bit I still want to buy ur book. I’m sorry for what u have been threw. I’m sorry for what I done to my mom. But she was very lucky to have you by her side cause I didn’t get that and it made it worse to were I would end up in ICU for 12 days but then I woke up. I didn’t no how to control it or stop it so hearing somebody else’s story I think will only help other and who knows ur words my save somebody’s life. Can’t wait to read more. Thank u for ur blog and book and that u for being a good mother, ur courage, ur love and compassion. Thank u and as a daughter who wishes she had somebody like u on her side. Thank u for being u and working so hard, never giving up. Thank u

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Christy. I have written the whole story.. the good and bad. There are a few excerpts here too. Justine had PTSD too. I don’t mention that much because people don’t recognize it like they do Bi-polar. I’m sorry that your mother wasn’t able to support you.


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