I have thought about blogging for a while now. The idea had floated around my head but always ran for cover when self-doubt checked in. Could I really do it? Would I have anything interesting to say? Would anyone actually want to read it? Then I began to think about why I began writing in the first place. Well, that’s a story in itself.
To put it very simply, I have PTSD. First diagnosed in 2011 and I am now on the road to recovery after my second bout. It’s no picnic. It’s a debilitating condition that affects every edge, corner, nook and cranny of your life. I worked in Public Protection with the Police Service for 5 years and read about horrific crimes.
For me the consequences were nightmares, panic attacks and an unexpected side dish of depression. Now before I continue I’m not jumping on the ‘poor me’ wagon. Honest. True life confessionals have never been my thing. I prefer guts and glory. I don’t like sad stories. I don’t want my story to be one. This wasn’t anyone’s fault. No one was to blame. I believe this life changing event happened to me for a reason. If I had not had PTSD I would not be a writer.
It started, quite simply, with a journal. The emotional lows came out as anger, tears, frustration, and sadness and had nowhere to go except swirl repeatedly around my head. The resulting headaches were awful until one day in a pique I switched on the laptop and started to write it all down. My first book The Perks of Being Me came from that diary. I wrote when I was happy, sad, angry, worried and anxious.
It became my therapy. It became the reason why I got well. For me, the two will forever be linked. There is the person I was before, who loved reading with a passion and kept a secret notebook in her bedside cabinet with plotlines, characters and stories but never quite had the guts to do anything about them. Then, there’s me now, the woman who got better, who began to hear the characters speaking to me to in their unique voices insisting that I wrote for them.
Finally, I listened. Now I can’t stop. I won’t lie to you – the PTSD has not disappeared. It’s something that sits in the corner of my mind. Every once in a while I get a visit. My views have fundamentally changed because of it. But for me, I will never be fully well if I continue to think of myself as ill. I don’t want to have a silent partner as I dance through life. I want to dance to my own drum beat. For me that is what writing is. It’s freedom in the purest sense.
When I write I become something I more than that girl who was ill. I am free from all the limitations that held me back. In order to get on with my life I had to re-invent myself. I could not look in the mirror every day and think of myself as ill and ever get well. I had to change my perspective and take on a new persona.
That’s when Cassie Kennedy, the Writer was born. I went to a local writing group where I got advice and support from a brilliant tutor and my fellow students. A short time late I joined Twitter and started telling others about my passion; what I was writing, what had inspired me that day and what helped. Now I am part of a supportive online community where everyone dares to pursue their dream. We all have a creative passion whether it is as an Artist, Sculptor, Poet or a Songwriter. You will know what it is; the subject that lights the fire in your belly and makes you feel alive.
A blank page does not scare me. It excites the hell of out of me. Just close your eyes and imagine all those vast and amazing possibilities. I write them down everywhere: online, on random post-its and notepads or if I’m organised, Evernote. Don’t be afraid to write what is in your head, for that random spark might just turn out to be that something special. When the words escape onto the page you are moving away from the limitations you have previously set for yourself. You are now in another world where you can be, see, do, and make anything you want happen. Imagine for one moment…no limits whatsoever. For me the proof is in the pudding.
I am just about to finish book six of a nine part fantasy series. I don’t worry about the word count. I am far too fascinated by my characters and their stories to stop. I must write and read every day. It’s as essential to me as the breath in my body. Remember, my story started with one simple headache. So if I can leave you with one parting wish, I would like it to be this: forever banish the self-doubting whispers and follow your creative dream, whatever that may be. Share and talk about your passion and live the life you were meant to. Your dream may just come true.
— Cassie Kennedy is a Writer and Poet. She was born in Scotland in 1977. Please feel free to connect with her on Twitter, @cassiekennedyw.