Last year I joined the Catholic Writers Guild after I attended their LIVE conference. This is a professional group of writers, artists, editors, illustrators, and allies whose mission is to build a vibrant Catholic literary culture (taken from their FAQ page.)
Earlier this year I applied for their Seal of Approval. On March 30, an email gave me the wonderful news that my first book, Broken Brain, Fortified Faith received the SOA. Basically this means that my readers can read it with the understanding that this book will not offend their Catholic faith or annoy the grammar police.
Knowing I have the approval of my fellow Catholic professionals means a lot. I want to thank all the people who helped with my faith formation over the years and the editor who worked with me at Familius, Lindsay Painter Sandberg.
Let’s continue to talk about mental illness. My journey through the scary world of schizophrenia is similar to almost every family that I’ve met. When we talk about it, we give them permission to share their pain and ask for support. I know I felt alone when I first discovered schizophrenia had invaded our daughter. I found help through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) , this group of wonderful, supportive people.
I couldn’t write my story without including my faith journey, too. It’s part of who I am and how I made it without complete despair. So let’s continue to talk about that, too. NAMI has an organization, FaithNet for all those who wish to keep the two connected: mental illness and faith.
I hope one day those families and individuals who battle mental illness can feel comfortable going to their family, friends, and their church community for the support and prayers they need. I also hope for a culture where we talk about mental illness the same way we discuss cancer or diabetes. For it’s a biological disorder, not a character flaw.