My name is Cassie Kelley, and I've written a novel. Here's why.
As I grew up, I always felt different. I remember wondering what was wrong with me when I didn't feel what I was 'supposed' to feel. I was diagnosed with ASD and Bipolar Disorder when I was a teenager, and everything started making sense. But people treated me differently. Not only was I still not 'normal' but people saw the ASD diagnosis as a disability. I wasn't disabled though. I was differently-abled.
I have been out of school for a long time, but people still give me sideways glances when I boldly proclaim that I have Aspergers. I don't look like I have a form of Autism, but I do. Why is that so difficult to accept?
As I've looked into more mental 'illnesses', I've discovered that many people are stigmatized when they admit to having some diagnosis. Some of them don't mind, but many do. "I want to be normal!" they cry. But what they don't realize is that they ARE normal. Maybe not in society's eyes, but they are normal in their own eyes, in their friends' eyes, and in their mental support groups' eyes.
I decided a couple of years ago to write a book that explores this concept of 'normal.' What is normal? Well, to be honest, normal is a completely subjective experience. That simply means that one person's definition of what's normal is not the same as another person's definition.
What would happen if we broke down society's definition of normal and took a look into the normal of somebody with some kind of mental difference? What would 'normal' look like to somebody with Aspergers (ASD)? Or Bulimia? What would it be to somebody with a different type of personality, let's say a Schizoid? What about somebody who is trying to move past Alcoholism? How does somebody with Depression see the world? What goes through a Schizophrenic's mind that causes a delusion? What does a person with Bipolar Disorder do with the highs and lows that swallow him? What about the thoughts and feelings of a Savant with learning disabilities?
The question for all of these people are the same: What is their normal? This question forms the basis of my novel '9 Ways to Normal.' In it, I take all of these different people and explore their lives and thoughts after group sessions with a therapist. I dive into what makes their thoughts different and show just what 'normal' is to them.
This project is the one that I've poured the most passion into. With a variety of different mental diagnoses and characters from all walks of life, I try to show that normal isn't the same across the board. I believe that this book will help to destigmatize mental health issues by allowing readers to step into the lives of those that society deems 'crazy', 'stupid', and 'weird'.
This project is an attempt to help fund the editing, the cover, and any other expenses that publishing and marketing a novel may incur. Thank you in advance to everybody who contributes to this important project. I hope to get the needed funds for the editing collected by the end of this year.
I believe that the greatest benefit of '9 Ways to Normal' will be to the readers who open their hearts and minds to the different types of normal that exist in the world today.
Remember: There's no such thing as normal. Everybody experiences life differently. This is just a small slice of what normal means to different people.
To see a sample of the novel, visit my website: https://www.writingforsanityssake.com/writingsamples