Thank you for all your great questions! There are definitely some tough ones in there-I did my best :o)
What age did you first notice that you had a mental illness.
This is a tricky question for me as I struggle to suss out when in my life certain memories are from… As I look back I can recognize symptoms around 2nd or 3rd grade. It may have started before that, I’m just not certain.
I’m an Army brat and we moved to Kentucky for a couple years around that time. I remember being quite upset and by upset I mean depressed. I vaguely remember my mother rationalizing it as just because of the move. I had my ups and downs, the entire time there wasn’t miserable, I just feel deep down that it was more than regular sadness.
I would also consider my anxiety to have started at that time or earlier. I can remember moments of anxiety without any particular cause-well, I’m sure that there was underlying reasons! What I’m trying to say is that the rest of the family would be hanging out, relaxing and I would be secluded and struggling.
I became pretty decent at veiling my distress. I think I started “stuffing” the depression and anxiety so early on in my life that a lot of family and friends mistook my symptoms for personality traits. I was deemed the “Eeyore” of the family. The quiet bookworm type. I suppose it’s not entirely inaccurate, it certainly isn’t the whole picture!
When did I become aware of my own illness? Probably not until my teens. I didn’t really get help until I was 15 or 16 when I scratched up my arms during a band trip. I truly, truly recognized I wasn’t healthy at that juncture. Up until that point I just assumed I was flawed and not a happy person.
Do you have any plans to take your art to a professional level?
I would love to take my art to a professional level. I think the main reason I haven’t thus far is confidence issues.
Failure is quite difficult for me and most creative endeavors involve a lot of trial and error. My difficulty with not taking each “whoops” as a horribly invalidating personal flaw has prevented me from reaching, from experimenting, from trying.
I had thought about taking more art classes throughout school and was so terrified of embarrassing myself that I didn’t take art after 4th grade. I figured it was better to be an amazing “doodler” than a subpar “artist.” I still call most things doodles or crafting to avoid the "art" label.
I think this issue has also affected my writing efforts. I would love to be a published author and I think the biggest thing holding me back is me.
What do you like most about yourself?
Oooh-this is another tricky question! Sometimes I really don’t like much about myself. During the times when I do like myself I think the thing I like most in my sweet side.
When I hide love notes for the hubster or cuddle with Baby Bananaface or bake treats or doodle little surprises for folks-I really like that about myself. Sometimes I minimize it or dismiss it as trivial. Sometimes I’m able to recognize that not everyone has that capacity for sweetness and that people appreciate my random acts of kindness. It also helps me believe that my sweetness is an admirable trait when the hubby lets me know that he thinks I’m special for it :o)
What is your favorite thing about you? Your husband? Your son?
I really like my imagination. It can confuse people when my mind quickly flits from one inspiration to a new tangent. Most of the time they can appreciate the quirkiness too!
As for my favorite thing about my husband… hmm. One of my favorite things has to be how he seems to embody such harsh opposites. He’s soft and hard all at once. Very sweet and caring as well as a total asshole! I am very grateful that he trusts me enough to show me both sides and his whole self, always aware that I love him no matter what!
My favorite thing about Baby Bananaface is probably his sweet side. He’s come over and placed random kisses on my cheek or wrist. He’s given me random hugs. He’s come into the bedroom when I’m depressed and weak in bed and grabbed my hand and brought me to the dinner table… he’s marvelous in many ways, this is just a particular aspect that touches me deep.
When you write your children's book, what will the story be? Boy howdy! I have had a lot of ideas over the years, so I will just share a few… I’d love to do a book called “Snuffles the Waffle Elf” and “The Lost Booger.” I’m not sure why the title “Leander’s Lost Button” appeals to me so much-I love that idea too.
I’d have to say “The Lost Booger” is my favorite idea. If you’re a nose-picker you’ll probably understand when ya pick a booger and then try to dispense with it only to lose track of where it went. Well, I’d like to do a children’s book about such a predicament with the child chasing his booger down!
What's your favorite song to sing or sing along to? My favorite song is “More Than a Feeling” by Boston (my fave band). To sing along to… probably “Dear Future Husband” by Meghan Trainor. My fave sing along song tends to change a lot!
If you could meet a fictional character in real life, who would it be? I’d really like to meet Sophia Petrillo or Rose Nylund or Dorothy Zbornak or Blanche Devereaux ;o)
If you could travel to any fictional setting (like from a movie or a book), where would you go? This is tough. Especially since “TV show” isn’t included and I can’t say “The Golden Girls!” At first I thought “Cars” so I could experience driving instead of walking… then I imagined “You’ve Got Mail” and owning an adorable book store and falling in love with Tom Hanks. Yes. Please. ;o)