I think a writer spends most of their life in two stations, waiting to hear good or bad news, or creating. Often the only way I can handle the waiting is by creating something else. Moving on to the next project. Letters to Daniel was different in that it kind of took off without much effort on my part. I think I’ve said this before, I expected to maybe play a few small festivals and then self-distribute at scifi cons.
I say this next part not to brag, but to give some context. I’ve been writing since I was five years old. Looking for publication and representation since I was 18 and finally, through the small press found myself on the path I am now. I am thirty-nine. Given the hard work and the trial by fire I’ve been through I’d say through the power of this blog Letters to Daniel has given back to me more than I have ever given to it.
People have responded to these letters offline. People in business, those who suffer from bipolar disorder, and those who know or have loved ones who battle this disease every day. To say some have a harder road than others is not an understatement and probably is an oversimplification of just how difficult it is to go through the healing process.
Because if you have bipolar disorder you’re hit from all sides. First there’s the illness itself. It hits each person who has it differently. It’s almost as if you’re on a spectrum. The symptoms, when left untreated slowly rob you of everything you have and are. Some can become addicted to the grandiose highs that are often associated with the illness. Some, in a psychotic state will believe they are God or some other religious entity.
It never got to the point with me, but here’s my experience. Fifteen years ago people weren’t talking about mental illness. Bipolar disorder was still called manic depression and my only sources of information were Maurice Benard interviews where he and his wife talked openly of their struggles and triumphs and the internet.
Well I just got my first rejection where the film is concerned. Well, I’ll keep the business card of the entity involved. I never expected for this person to show any interest but she kept the door open for possible future projects. I’ll save her business card. I sent her a thank you email. I’m nothing if not professional. And she got back to me quickly. And even if none of the other leads pan out I can still play festivals and self-distribute as first planned.
Am I disappointed? A little, but I never expected to have the opportunity to begin with. Fifteen years ago, as I struggled to just get out of bed, to take care of myself, to do little more than to go to bed hungry and wake up hungry and get proper sleep, I never dreamed of the day when I would have put together a blog, a bestselling memoir, or even willed a documentary about my journey with the help of some wonderful people wasn’t even on my mind.
I am hopeful I will find an easier way for people to see my film. To get my message out. But as Marcel Cabrera told me, documentaries aren’t really about making money. And if you’re expecting to well, you’re in the wrong business. Mitch Gain at FILM-COM echoed those sentiments.
Here I am, in a much better place than I’ve ever been emotionally and professionally. So one person said no. If that is the worst thing someone says to me about my documentary then I consider it a win.
For everyone who is struggling with Bipolar Disorder, or knows someone with it, know that with medication and therapy recovery can be had. And in the end that’s the point of this film, for people to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not an oncoming train, it’s hope for a stable future. And it can be had. I’m living proof.