1. Why did you write this book? What are your hopes for the book?
I started writing the book as journal entries to keep track of my life, my experiences and what I’d been through. It was purely therapeutic and not originally meant for anyone but me to read, so I could learn more about myself and track my moods. Over the years I realized I’d written so much I had a book on my hands! I polished it up, wrote more to tie everything together, and ended up with a memoir.
My goal for the book is to inspire hope for people who are struggling and feel alone. By sharing my story, I want to help those who are trying to make sense of a new bipolar diagnosis so they can understand how this illness feels to those of us who’ve experienced a manic or depressive episode. I also want it to serve as a sort of cautionary tale, to instill the message that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. For anyone who’s lived with the emptiness and abandonment that often accompanies the loss of a loved one, I want to show them that life will go on, and it’s even possible to reconcile with someone you never got to say goodbye to. Finally, I also hope to help anyone who deals with daddy issues (needing approval from men in order to feel whole, and choosing the wrong romantic partners because of it) and show that I was able to heal and recover, and they can too.
2. What was your writing process when writing this?
I collected journal entries I’d written over the years and turned them into real stories, staying true to my own voice while still formalizing them enough to work as a memoir. I wrote more to tie everything together into one cohesive story about my life, and of course edited the heck out of it with the help of a professional editor.
3. Why did you choose the narrative arc you chose?
I started with a dramatic moment that was the culmination of my trauma, and then went backwards from there. I invite the reader into a very personal moment, show how things got that bad, and then share my recovery journey. The book ends on a positive note of healing and absolution, which was important to me. I want readers to walk away with a feeling of hope for the future.
I interviewed Carrie Cantwell a few years ago for this blog and she guest blogged as well. I announced her recent publication on Amazon of Daddy Issues a memoir a few weeks ago. Here is my review.
I give it 5 Stars!!!!! I’d give it 10 Stars if there was such a thing.
In this beautifully written book, Carrie traces from childhood to present the discovery of her own bipolar disorder eloquently juxtaposing it with that of her emotionally absent father’s own bipolar illness. Carrie’s father died by suicide when she was 24-years-old.
Carrie coined the term hyperspaz to describe her hypomanic episodes from childhood to college to young adulthood. Diagnosed bipolar in her twenties, it isn’t until after a suicide attempt that she learns to embrace health and sees the truth about her dad. From a marriage in college to an unhealthy, abusive marriage as an adult which culminated in a suicide attempt of her own, Carrie learns to embrace her illness, and to ultimately understand her father.
Her use of symbols, imagery and dialogue is amazing as she admits to her memory being spotty due to her illness. Her mother is a psychotherapist and was tremendous support during her illness and recovery journey knowing the right resources.
This book is a tour de force of how bipolar affects the whole family both genetically and emotionally.