Marriage and Schizophrenia

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Andrew and Stephanie Downing, authors of “Marriage and Schizophrenia.” You can learn more about the Downings by visiting their website, blog, or Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today

In Sickness & Health

My wife and I started writing our book titled, Marriage and Schizophrenia: Eyes on the Prize, as a creative outlet mainly for fun.  We enjoyed spending quality time together crafting the story.  However, our story is anything but easy to talk about.  As we continued with the writing process, we experienced a wealth of healing and began the process of reclaiming our voice.

Writing has a unique power in allowing healing to take place.  We found healing in our marriage through open communication and forgiveness. Slowly, we began to understand that everyone suffers on a relative level.  We came to the conclusion that suffering is suffering.  There is no way to measure suffering, no way to rank sorrow.  Schizophrenia, and the horrors associated with the devastating illness, are perceivable high on a “misery scale.” I have lived with schizophrenia for nearly twenty years now, almost losing my life several times from illness-related complications. Healing poured into our marriage when I realized that my suffering was no worse than my spouses, or anyone’s for that matter.  We both have an equal share in the miseries of earth.

Spreading Our Testimony

We decided to publish our book mainly because we felt our voice had been compromised. We felt many people had a misconception of our situation: not understanding why we were having success amidst mental illness.  God is the key to our success over schizophrenia and mental health issues. God is also the reason why we have survived as a married couple. WestBow has helped us begin the journey of sharing our testimony.

We had a hard time editing and finishing our book.  When we finally had a product that we were comfortable with, we had no idea where to turn.  Neither my wife nor I had ever considered ourselves committed writers, and we certainly didn’t know anything about the publishing world.  I remember breaking down one day due to the fact that my wife’s story needed to be heard.  Her patience, fearlessness, and compassion is incredible.  That same evening I was reading the Word of God on my Bible Gateway app, and an add popped up: “Fulfill God’s calling to publish your book…WestBow Press.”

A Christian View

Totally uneducated and in a naive state of mind, I filled out the questionnaire.  Several months later, and I’m now riding the waves of having our story available to the world.  Numerous people have found healing in our story, and I’m loving the lifestyle of writing.  I’m so grateful I took the leap of faith and filled out the free publishing guide. Hundreds now know that schizophrenia is not bigger than God, and I have a growing platform to share a Christian point of view in the world of mental health.  I highly recommend WestBow Press!

 

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 

 


A Dream and a Miracle Part II – with Debra Irene

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Debra Irene, author of “Helen’s Heritage: Life Stories of Helen Herbert Gillham.” You can learn more about Debra by visiting her websiteFacebook, and Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

It Began with a Contest

In September of 2010, I traveled to Franklin, Tennessee, from Kansas City for a writers’ seminar and walked into a room full of extroverts and upbeat people who wanted to live their dreams. My goodness, all I wanted to do was figure out how to finish a little book. Mostly, I just listened to everyone else and the outstanding speakers.

I learned I needed to start a blog (something I told Brenda I would never do). I didn’t have time to print and publish my own book like some planned to do, I barely had time to write it! Also, I knew that I could wait forever for a traditional publisher. Lucky for me, an executive from Thomas Nelson spoke at the convention and mentioned that their new self-publishing division had teamed with Women of Faith for a writing contest where the winner would receive a free publishing package. That sparked my interest and I felt was the meant-to-be part of the program for me.

Realizing a Dream

I returned home to Kansas City, wrote my first blog (with Brenda’s encouragement), and contemplated how I was going to finish my manuscript by the contest deadline – just three months away. Brenda pointed out that my book was the style that didn’t have a specific ending and that I should stop writing when I reached the minimum number of words (10,000). I could write a sequel later. What a tremendous piece of advice that was. After all, I wasn’t writing a novel. So that December, I took a week’s vacation from my career job and devoted nine hours each day to reaching 10,000 words. I continued to work my supplemental night job; and by December 31, I was ready to push the button for the contest.

An Unexpected Prize

Reflections by Debra IreneAlthough I did not win the contest; I did receive a discount on a publishing package with WestBow Press for entering the contest and was able to purchase that package with an unexpected bonus in January. I watched the dream unfold, month by month, just like Brenda encouraged; and in April of 2011, I held my first copy of Reflections.

This was a very big deal to me, my own personal miracle. My mind was flooded with other book ideas. But the idea that took front and center was a project for my mother. She wanted to tell her life story and had no idea what to do. She didn’t have a concept, or a format in mind. Neither did I at first, but we started writing it down little by little. Meanwhile, I kept blogging: telling my own stories. Around that time, a few of my stories were published by Farm & Ranch Living, Country, and The Missouri Golf Post.

Five Years Later

I continued with my career job but dreamed that someday writing could be my career. Five years later, I held my second book published by WestBow Press, Helen’s Heritage: my mother’s story, her dream. This was a project very near and dear to me. Not only is it my mother’s life story; but it is a family documentation, a forty-thousand-word family history filled with short stories and vignettes. The book merges in seventy-five narratives from about 1880 through today. In addition to this latest work, I have enough blog material for another book when I am ready to compile it.

Someday, I will retire from my day job, but I can’t imagine ever retiring from my dream of writing. There are more stories to tell and more projects to complete. A dream, a miracle, and a Brenda in my life – those were the keys!

 

– WBP –

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


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