Friday 25 March 2016


Last night I met with someone in full mania and I felt something strange. As much as I could see how dangerous it was for them I realized I miss my mania. It made me feel powerful and free and brilliant, rather than sick and boring. I’ve made it through 55 years of illness and suffering with only occasional bouts of wholeness, ever skating the seductive edge of suicide.

Few people are helpful when you are sick and many push you closer to that edge, either from lack of understanding or by disappearing altogether. It is, after all, an illness, a dangerous one, as surely as any of the physical conditions that can take your life. It is hard to know, sometimes, where you end and where illness starts. Therein lies the conundrum.

Another anguishing dilemma is knowing you have to let go of ever being well again in the way you once knew. This thing is for life. It is a sentence for a crime never committed. And I know saying all this out loud will once again cost me friends.

I thank everyone who doesn’t leave, either in real life or on facebook when I am suffering particularly severe symptoms of bipolar disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Many do leave and it hurts. I notice when it happens. Every time. But there are those who stay no matter what. They are gold. That’s character. That’s what love is.



Wednesday 23 March 2016

Next to Normal

I completed the final edits of our book Gum on My Shoe Saturday. I expected to feel excited and successful. Instead I felt naked, vulnerable and afraid. Afraid of how people will judge me. It was very uncomfortable.

On Sunday I headed to the City Theater to see Next to Normal. The play opened up the insides of bipolar and sang it loud and clear. There was nothing I didn’t resonate with and it left no stone unturned. Eyes stayed moist. It left me whole again and sure of my course. The silence of mental illness is being broken and the brave me is a part of that.

I Miss The Mountains [song]

Next to Normal is a rock musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt. It won a Tony Award for Best Score; a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Full soundtrack

Its story concerns a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness and the attempts to alleviate it have on her family. The musical also addresses such issues as grieving a loss, suicide, drug abuse, ethics in modern psychiatry, and the underbelly of suburban life.

One in four have mental illness. No one is untouched.

And now for a few days bedrest.



Monday 14 March 2016

Expressive Writing, Life Writing and Self-Help for Mental Health, by Amanda Green

I have enjoyed writing short stories since I was very young. When I read some of them now, I wonder where my ideas came from; a very young child writing about a scary place in the woods …

I now know that my stories probably came from fear and stress, and at the age of thirteen I began writing a diary. I kept my diaries under lock and key, to save anyone EVER reading them, as they were secret, spilling my inner thoughts, feelings and behaviours at times. I could ‘talk’ to my diary about family life, where I’d been, what I’d done, what clothes I’d worn, and most of all if any adversities came my way – like my mum causing issues, boyfriends taking advantage, my brothers’ behaviours, rape, self-harm, eating disorder and so on – they were all written down, which kind of ‘saved’ me at the time.

I found that by writing what was happening in my life, it was like talking to a friend – an unbiased friend who would never say a word against me. Like a good counsellor. Therefore, I felt less lonely in my family life, I got to express myself, and leave my troubles behind in writing on the paper. I felt relief from my troubles and the next day I could start afresh.

I have written ever since, via diary, journal, blogging, letters sent and unsent and more.

I have since found many benefits to writing for myself:

  1. The way to talk to someone without worrying about what others think.
  2. The way to explore how I feel and think and, ultimately, behave – gaining insight and revelations on how I can change things.
  3. I can look at my writing the next day, week, month or years later, and see how far I have come – how much happier I am or how much I have achieved.
  4. It can help me to see things from other people’s points of view – a more rounded opinion.
  5. It built my self-esteem.
  6. Writing has been self-therapy for me – very cathartic.
  7. I have been able to look back and remember things I would never have usually recalled, good and bad – a bit like taking photos and finding them again.
  8. I wrote unsent letters to people passed and alive, and told them everything I wanted to get off my chest, positive and negative, any apologies and anything I wanted to tell them or even ask them. The main point was that I wasn’t going to send them, so I disclosed totally.
  9. Writing unsent letters helped me to see who I was through my writing; to find myself and what is important to me.
  10. Writing letters was like having a chat with them, but disclosing much more than I would have had we really been having a chat.

I write inspirational fiction, but my main genre is non-fiction. It started with writing two memoirs about my mental health journey as I wanted to share my experiences to help others feel less alone with their issues, and to encourage them that recovery is possible, with determination. I also wanted to help beat the stigma surrounding mental health through educating people with my experiences how mental illness feels, how it can manifest itself and how children need a certain amount of care and love to become balanced into adulthood.

It has worked well, and my first memoir has a multitude of excellent reviews by a varied range of readers. I write private journals and on-line blogs regularly and have used these as building bricks for my memoirs, along with SMS, emails, letters and much more. Once I know what I am going to write, I begin the narrative, and slot in these other mediums of writing as necessary.

All my books are self-published, and I love the freedom that gives me. I love marketing my book as I have a long background of self-marketing. It gives me confidence when I know I am reaching people through my own efforts and I tend to be fairly creative with my plans and actions.

Living with Depression and Anxiety

I have just published my seventh book Living with Depression and Anxiety: 26 ways to get you out of the fog, into the sunshine.

First of all, my supervisor (I am a counsellor) read my books and suggested I could write a self-help book, especially with my counselling and writing experience. I have had so much feedback from readers of my memoirs that my story, tips and experiences have inspired them and helped them on their recovery, I thought that maybe I could continue to help with a self-help book. The idea was well received by many, so I set about planning it, and took off with the idea quickly.

Book description:

Amanda Green has lived with depression and anxiety since her teens. Now in her forties, and practising as student counsellor, she would like to share all her best tips and explanations for coping in everyday life. She explains, in easy to read terms, 26 self-help techniques and ideas, to help you through your darkest times, and to help you feel better. Life enhancing, with thorough explanations, this book could help turn your life around as Amanda has with her own.

This book challenges stigma and inferiority issues, explains talking therapies, and delves into working with depression and anxiety from the inside out, using nutrition, writing, and getting to know yourself properly. It even incorporates how to look for other support including friends, family and animals.

Find your true self today and banish the label of depression and anxiety – learn to cope and feel a part of the world again.

Living with Depression and Anxiety is available at and

About the Author

Aside from writing and social networking, I spend a lot of time with my pets; a handsome cat called Titus, a pretty kitten called Millie and tropical fish. I strongly believe in pet animal therapy as being good for our mind, body and soul and I promote the fostering and adopting of animals as opposed to private breeding and purchase. I detest animal cruelty.

I love eating out and reviewing restaurants, travel, days out, campaigning for the precious orangutan and the issues of unsustainable palm oil production and seeing my family. I also enjoy reading, theatre, films, TV and cooking.

I have travelled on/off across the world, taking in twenty-five countries - living and working at times in Japan, Thailand and Australia and have enjoyed a very mixed bag of jobs.

I run three personal websites for which I write all copy and articles and provide all photography and I have had my writing and photography work published in various magazines and local newspapers. I enjoy the challenge of getting published.

I am currently studying level 4 Counselling skills at college as I would love to be able to help others facing issues. My placement is with homeless people who need help to move on from their adversities.

I regularly post blogs about coping strategies, inspirational things to do, Borderline Personality disorder, depression, Obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety/panic attacks, thyroid issues, eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia), alcohol and drug abuse, sexual abuse/rape, Quetiapine (Seroquel anti-psychotics) and Citalopram (anti-depressant), therapies such as Cognitive behavioural therapy and paranoia, dissociation and psychosis - all of which I have experienced in one way or another either myself or those I know. Also info on mental health charities, forums, campaigns, the stigma surrounding mental illness, some of my personal experiences, celebrities with mental health issues and mental health in the family.

Links and Social Media


Monday 7 March 2016

I lay under a tree

I lay under a tree. Not the biggest tree. Not the most beautiful tree. Not the best tree. Not the most comfortable tree. Not even a symmetric tree. I didn’t even know what kind of tree it was. I paid attention to my inside world. I paid attention to my outside world. Until there was no difference.