Friday, December 12, 2014

Dear Daniel

Dear Daniel,

I’m here, because things just, well they just keep getting better. I want to take a moment here to thank the people who saved my life. First, there’s Missy, if you follow this blog at all you’ve heard me mention her name a million times in a dozen different contexts. If I blabbed on about her I might bore you. But here’s the truth.

When we were in Texas and I was at my sickest, she was there. An overburdened psychiatric system that made the treatment I received at 7 Counties seem like the gold standard. And believe as good as it was, the system is made to keep people out. And there were times I cursed the day I ever walked through those doors. But Missy was always there. Always encouraging. Never judging. Sure she got mad. She we exchanged hurtful words. But the thing was she seemed to be helped by attendance to psychiatiric and therapeutic sessions. She learned what I did. 

Life with me was hard. No cake walk. I took my meds without question but there were days that I wondered if a magic switch would flip and life would get better. Would feel better. Not grandiose but happy, joy, the ability to concentrate.  And yes even pain and sorrow. As a writer I felt my story. I didn’t think it. So right before treatment bipolar disorder robbed me of my creative voice and all I did was write letter after letter, which I later learned was a form of hypographia that those with bipolar disorder are often afflicted with.

And then the treatment  seemed to rob me of any hope getting my voice back. And then there was GLADIATOR. I saw the previews and a story came to me. It was hideous. It was burn it away, use it as a table evener bad. I threw it away. But I was happy to be writing again.

Missy lived the hardest part of the journey with me. The wild mood swings, the eight hour crying jags, going to bed hungry, waking up hungry. Not even having pen or paper to write with at times. And we CHOSE to do this.

I can honestly say Maurice Benard and his wife Paula’s courage in sharing their story saved my emotional and physical life. He plays Sonny Corinthos on General Hospital. In October of 1999 nobody, and I mean nobody was talking about mental illness. But they were. And because of their fearlessness in sharing what their lives had been like I was able to see the symptoms in myself. Without their activism I may have lost my battle altogether.

And then there is someone who I usually say unkind things about. My sister Sara. I’m not really all that close to any of my siblings. Not my brother, and not my three sisters. If untangled that family tree that would be a blogpost all unto itself.

Sara was the one to tell me to ask to be evaluated for depression and manic depression. That’s right folks, I was diagnosed at a time when manic depression was the term for bipolar disorder. Honestly I think manic depression has a romanticism to it. Not I like the disorder, but it’s been with me all of my adult life. And while acknowledge the very desperate need for medication and treatment I don’t where I’d be without it. Without Sara telling what to do I may have languished to the point where the very tenuous grasp I had on reality at the time may have slipped away altogether and I would have done something stupid to myself that I couldn’t recover from.

Missy, Maurice (in sharing his story, I don’t know him), Sara thank for saving my life. Because when everyone else was looking away you were there at the most traumatic of moments doing triage in your own unique ways.  

Russell Crowe. He breathed new life into my writer brain and set the wheels a churning. Scripts. Books. None particularly good. But A Beautiful Mind set me free in ways this wonderfully gifted actor and director will never know. That movie and GLADIATOR and CINDERELLA MAN helped heal creative wounds. For that I will always be grateful.

Pamela Turner, yet another name you hear rung loud and clear and often. None of this happens without her. She suggested digicon. She told me about Fandom Fest. Where I met two of my publishers. Hydra and Blackwyrm. Where I met my publicist. Where I met my agent. She’s bought my medicine when I couldn’t afford it. She’s taken me to the hospital. She’s taken me to 7 Counties. She’s an awesome friend and has been there for through many of my crap sandwich moments.

And then there’s mom and dad. They give me shelter and food. And of course as dysfunctional as it may be, they give me love.

And finally, the man of the hour, Daniel Craig. I recently signed with a literary agent. There’s a television executive who wants to option some of my book titles. And I’m a finalist for a very prestigious ebook award for Letters to Daniel the memoir.

I just wanted to thank you for everything your work has done to inspire me in my own work.


Amy McCorkle

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