When I first started writing my novel “(Not) Alone”, it began as a way for me to see the things I have done on paper, a way for me to constantly remind myself that I can overcome anything. I began it as a fictional story with the characters named after other people in my life who have helped me along the way. As the writing progressed, I wanted to share it with my friends and family who were in the book.
My fiancé, after reading the first two parts, looked over at me with seriousness in her eyes and said to me “Please, finish this one. Even if you don’t publish it, please finish the story.” You see, I have a bad habit of starting to write a novel and
never finish, a large part of this I attribute to my bipolar- when I’m experiencing a manic state of mind I want to do anything and everything and I’m inspired, however when I fall to the depressive state like I always do, I scrap the idea because I tell myself it isn’t good enough. After hearing her say this, after seeing the seriousness and the love in her eyes, I decided I would
Then, my manic state came to an end
and the depressive stage reared its ugly head. I didn’t want to finish the story anymore, I read through it multiple times and told myself it wasn’t good. I felt like a fool for even writing what I did. ‘Who cares about this?’ I would tell myself. I didn’t completely scrap it like I had done in the past, but I put it on the back-burner and stopped writing. One day, after I had stopped writing, my safe person texted me and asked me when I would be done with the next part, saying she was excited to read it. The next part? I hadn’t even
thought about writing in weeks. When she told me she wanted to read the next part, I picked my phone back up (yes, I wrote my novel on my phone initially) and began writing again.
So, what was capturing their attention so much and making it into something they couldn’t get enough of? At first, I thought maybe it was just the fact that they were trying to be encouraging towards me because they knew I was in that state of mind. But then, I slowly began to realize it was more than just my life story- it was a collection of life stories from individuals who suffered through mental illnesses. It showed those people that they were not the only ones going through this, that they CAN overcome the mountains they come across.
Okay, but my fiancé doesn’t suffer
from mental illness, so why was it a story she couldn’t put down? Was she just trying to be a loving and supportive fiancé towards the man she loved with Anxiety,
bipolar, and Depression? It hit me one night, as I stayed up because my mind wouldn’t let me sleep and wrote, that she couldn’t put it down because it helped her to understand what I, and others who suffered from things like I do, go through
and gave her a way to get inside my mind. It helped her to understand the realities of living with mental illness, and gave her a way to try and help me in my lowest of lows.
Finishing, for me, did not mean publication. I was almost afraid to publish the novel because I was shamed of some of the events I wrote about, some of the things I did because of my mental illness. I didn’t want people to look at me differently after reading my story, I was afraid prospective employers would read it and be turned off from hiring me no matter how qualified I may have been. Yes, anxiety is a feisty thing that takes over your mind like this. I had finally decided I wasn’t going to publish it when my grandmother- who had been a high school English teacher and in administration for her entire career- came to me after reading it and said “Honey,
this is really good. I could have taught this to my class. You should publish it.” What grandma says, goes.
I knew, however, that I would need a warning in the beginning of the novel because it had some triggering moments for me, even as I was writing it. As a way to help and protect people, I wrote:
“By shedding a light on the difficult topics depicted in the following stories, my
hope is that this book can help readers start a conversation about their struggles with Mental Health issues. I also hope to help others realize the struggle those with mental health issues go through and allow them to better help those in their life who may struggle. If you are struggling
with these issues yourself, this book may include triggering events and moments. You may want to consider reading it with your safe person. I encourage struggling
readers to reach out to a parent, friend, school counselor, an adult they trust, your safe person.”
I’m proud of my story, and I hope it helps people understand mental illness and understand that they are not alone. My goal with this story is not to make a quick buck, but to help and inspire people. In fact, I plan on donating proceeds from book signings to various charities in order to better help the community. I want you to know, that as hard as it may sound, you can truly do anything you put your mind to. Your creative work isn’t as bad as your mind would like you to think, keep persevering.
Now, you’ve read the journey I took writing the novel and I’m sure you’re wondering what it is about. Simply put, “(Not) Alone” is the gripping story of Henry Hovishky, a recent college graduate who is exploring life one step at a time. already in his young career, he is the winner of multiple awards and recognitions. He is soon-to-be-married to the woman of his dreams. His best friends are more than friends, they’re family. His family supports him and raises him up. And yet, he can’t help but to feel alone. How can someone who seemingly has everything be so alone. Everything seems to be great in his life on the outside, but this story shows the harsh
realities of Henry’s battles with mental illness.
You can purchase “(Not) Alone” in paperback or eBook on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794692827/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_0O2tDbWP084MR) by searching Tyler Wittkofsky. You can also visit http://www.facebook.com/NotAloneNovel, where I will be posting more of my adventures and sharing the stories of other people I meet along the way.