I’d often thought about writing a book, but decided I didn’t have time. And then, I went through an experience which changed my mind.
About 10 years ago, my husband became depressed. He’d always been prone to low moods – but over the years I’d thought little of them, because they’d been balanced by the great fun we had together, and the delight and laughter we’d shared. But things began to change, and I began to worry. He became increasingly negative and irritable – although he tried hard not to be. I worried and ruminated, and wondered how I could help, but I didn’t tell anyone. I just couldn’t. I felt that to voice my concerns would be to betray the man I loved.
My husband’s depression
But when we moved to a new area, his depression really kicked in. It was awful, for him and for myself and our children. I had no idea how to handle this – the negativity, the irrational behaviour, and the verbal hostility towards me. All I wanted to know was what to expect, how to help him, how to cope, and how long his depression might go on for. But I couldn’t get any answers. No-one seemed to know what to say. I asked the doctor for counselling to help me get through, but at the time that wasn’t available either.
Living with Depression
It occurred to me that there must be millions of people going through something similar, feeling equally lonely and isolated and wanting answers and information, and support. So I decided to write a book about my experience. It’s called: LIVING WITH DEPRESSION: how to cope when your partner is depressed. (Previously titled: Living with the Black Dog). The response to the book was fantastic – sad in many ways that this is such a common experience – but wonderful to know that because so many of us find ourselves in a similar dilemma, we can help and support each other through. I now have a website specifically for partners to use as a recourse: www.mypartnerisdepressed.com
General Anxiety Disorder
A little later, another close family member developed GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder.) I recognised the signs immediately, having gone through something similar myself when I was in my mid-20s. I remembered how this had taken up two years of my time, attention and energy, and how I’d been so frightened – thinking I was losing my mind, or maybe that there was something really wrong physically. And I’d sworn my partner to secrecy because I felt so embarrassed and ashamed.
Whilst supporting my family member through her own tough time, I began to realise that like depression, anxiety affects so many people. It’s awful for the person who experiences it, and also for those that love and live with them. I thought it might be an idea to write a book about anxiety, so I started to research it, and as I did so, I realised that I HAD to do this. So I wrote HOW NOT TO WORRY, how to stop anxiety spoiling your life. It’s a brief, easy to read book, with lots of comments from people who have been through periods of anxiety or who have had an anxiety disorder of some kind. As a hypnotherapist (www.carolinecarr.com), I treat many clients for anxiety, and it’s a joy to be able to help them.
Menopause , the guide for Real Women
Just as I finished, my publisher (White Ladder Press) asked me to write a book about the menopause. So I did. It’s called: MENOPAUSE, the guide for Real Women. I was glad to write this, having been through it myself, and because so many women had such inspirational stories to share about their own experiences. All the contributors were so generous with their time, and their input makes the book what it is.
So – that’s why I wrote three books (and I’m currently onto my fourth.) I’d encourage anyone to write, because people are hungry for information, and to learn from others who have had similar experiences to themselves. OK so it takes time and discipline, but it’s a great way to let your voice be heard – and by the time you reach 50, I reckon you’ve got plenty to say, and every right to say it!