Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Friday, September 9, 2016


Writing seems to draw me in with intriguing temptations to explore on paper. Writers groups call my name. Pens and Pages Writers Guild (http://pensandpages.blogspot.com/) has held me captive for over eight years. People ask me what I write, but I have no answer. It always seems like something I will do in the future. Maybe when I’m sixty-five, like Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House on the Prairie), I’ll publish my first set of books. Until then, this blog will be a fine start.
Dealing with issues like depression, anxiety or ADHD have always been a challenge. These, and other mental issues, prevail across all boundaries of human beings regardless of gender, race or economic status. Successful and well known people are no exception. Often creative types suffer needlessly today.

Juhie Bhatia writes,"Television journalist Jane Pauley made her network debut on NBC's Today Show at the age of 25. She went on to work for the network's Dateline and later had her own talk show. At the age of 50, Pauley began experiencing episodes of depression and mania. It is thought that steroids used to treat hives kick-started her symptoms, which were diagnosed as bipolar disorder. She describes her experiences in her bestselling memoir, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue.

'If we're lucky, the next generation won't drag around that personal stigma,' she tells bp Magazine. 'They also are going to grow up with a wider array of medications that addresses whatever causes this malady of ours.'
Pauley shows that mental challenges do not have to keep a person from living life to its fullest. Receiving professional help is a blessing that makes it easier. Through the years, famous authors have told of their struggles," (http://www.everydayhealth.com/bipolar-disorder-pictures/famous-people-with-bipolar-disorder.aspx#12).

You would think that fame would calm some of the anxiety issues but Julie Zelinger tells, “Rowling, one of the most successful authors of all time, has spoken about the clinical depression that consumed her while she wrote the first Harry Potter book, even creating a fictional representation of her struggle in the form of Dementers — evil creatures that feed off of human happiness. But it was her rise to fame that prompted her to continue treatment despite her great success. Rowling told the Daily Mail in 2012: You don’t expect the kind of problems that [fame] brings with it. I felt that I had to solve everyone’s problems. I was hit by this tsunami of demands. I felt overwhelmed. And I was really worried that I would mess up ... I had to do it [therapy] again when my life was changing so suddenly — and it really helped. I’m a big fan of it, it helped me a lot.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/famous-women-therapy_n_3683419.html).

Thankfully, Rowling sought help for her difficulties. Many readers, young and old, would be awfully upset if there was not a follow to “Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets.” The world will never know the deep and thought provoking poetry it missed when Sylvia Plath took her own life, as she suffered greatly from mental issues as displayed in her character’s breakdown in, “The Bell Jar.” Point being, reaching out for help is a good thing. Sometimes a life-saving thing.

Making the first move to ask for help can feel like the biggest leap ever taken. The first phone call was more than important in my life, it was critical. This was a call I needed to make. It was a call for help.

Listen to the internal dialogue from that call.

I want help! I need help. I want to make the call. I’m so afraid.

Should I? Is it okay? Am I defiling or betraying the people I will talk about by talking to a counselor? My heart is beating out of my chest. I feel like it is wrong. Like it is even wrong to look up the number. I feel so guilty. But I need help.

What will she be like? Will she be friendly? Will she know I am scared out of my wits?

Can I afford it? What if I offer to pay cash?

This is too hard! But I need help. I have wanted this for years and years. I have tried to make the call many times before.
Just make the call. You do not have to spill your guts on the phone, right here, right now. Things will not get better if you do not make the call. It will be okay.

Heart pounding, palms sweating, feeling light-headed, I pick up the phone and dial the number I’d tried to dial a hundred times.

“Hello. Hi. Uh . . . this is Brenda . . . I . . . need to, want to see if I can . . . no, I need to set up an appointment. I would like to pay cash and not go through insurance. Is that possible?

The appointment was made with ease with the therapist’s kind-hearted approach.

As difficult as writing a synopsis or making your first pitch to a New York editor you met at a conference, connecting with a counselor and asking for help was my first step in being a better me and so, a better writer. As soon as I ended the call, my breathing returned to normal, oxygen began to flow to my brain and calm returned to heart. I had lived through the experience of making a most important phone call of my life. I didn’t die. In fact, hope began to stir from deep within. I was going to change my life and it all began with a simple phone call.

Was I anxious on that first meeting with the counselor? Check back soon for the next blog post! See you then.