Today is CRAZY’s publication birthday, but it was really born over two years ago when I started scribbling notes about a sort of love story told in emails. I had vague notions of unreliable narrators and emotional disintegration. In the back of my mind, I think I also wanted it to be a kind of apology. An explanation. So Izzy was born–a troubled girl who did not know how to be loved. And then there was Connor–the boy who loved her.
Most mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, start displaying their first symptoms in one’s teen years–around Izzy’s age. I was fourteen when I started taking Prozac for my depression. I came of age in the first wave of medicated kids, when every day there would be a new headline about kids on Prozac, kids on Ritalin. When I was in college, OCD seemed to be the big thing. I have watched this trend grow over the years, more and more kids diagnosed with mood disorders, more kids on medication that alters their fragile brain chemistry. Whether or not these diagnoses and prescriptions are always warranted, one thing is very certain–a lot of kids are in a lot of pain.
I can honestly say that medication saved my life as a teen. At age fourteen, I was planning my suicide. I got very close to following through. But as strained as my relationship with my parents was at the time (as strained as all teens’ relationships are with their parents), I somehow gathered up the courage to tell my mom what was going on. Some glimmer of hope remained, some knowledge that I was loved, some curiosity about what would happen tomorrow. I asked for help and I got it, and that help saved my life.
It is my greatest wish that anyone out there who is feeling this kind of hopelessness and fear finds the brave place inside them and ask for help before the light of hope burns out. If this book can inspire just one reader to do that, my time on this planet will have been worth something.
I recently did an interview with Kari at A Good Addiction blog (you can read the full interview here). She asked me a great question: “Who do you think needed the other the most, Izzy or Connor?” My answer was this: It’s hard to say; they both needed each other so much. Izzy, in the end, may have needed Connor to literally save her. But she also just needed him to see her, and to care enough to do the hard thing and confront her. But Connor needed Izzy to push his buttons the way she did. Ultimately, he learned how to be brave, how to do the difficult thing instead of being passive. He risked losing everything in order to do the right thing. There’s nothing braver than that.
I believe we are all partners in the lives of those we love. We owe it to them to be honest, even when it’s hard.
To celebrate the release of CRAZY, I want to give away THREE COPIES to people who are brave–to enter, comment below with an example of when you’ve been brave and did the right thing even when it was hard. I will pick three people at random (U.S. and Canada only, please). The winners will be announced June 18th. I can’t wait to be inspired by your answers!
Finally, I want to dedicate this book to all the Izzys and Connors of the world, to everyone who has ever felt crazy or in love. I dedicate it to my husband Brian, who has loved me through everything.
Congratulations to the winners of the CRAZY giveaway: Rachel, Lexie, and Alicia Marie! I will be contacting you soon. Thank you everyone for your beautiful answers, and for your courage. I hope we can all continue to be brave and do the right thing.