Top 10 Questions People Ask Me
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
For those of you that are new to this blog on Heidi Bartle Books, I thought it was time to introduce myself! I'm so glad you are here.
My name is Heidi. I'm a 40-something woman with a husband and family, and I experience mental illness every day. I suffered in silence for a long time before sharing my story through When Mommy Feels Sad. Now I hope to create a community where people feel safe talking about mental illness issues. The world needs more of these these important conversations.
Here are the most common things people ask me. Feel free to leave another question in the comments! If you haven't already joined me on Pinterest and Facebook, I'll hope you take a minute to pop over, join the group, and say "hi. " I share great resources for mental illness in both spaces.
Why do you talk about your mental illness? Isn't that private?
Before I first got help in 2011, hiding my depression for many years (since high school in the 90s) delayed treatment, increased the stigma I felt, perpetuated my shame, and prevented others from helping. Hiding the huge, ugly thing that ruled my days and affected my behavior and relationships made it more powerful. I talk about my mental illness because keeping it inside is so painful and normalizing it is so liberating. Depression is like asthma or allergies. It's something I have to deal with, but it doesn't make me a bad person. There's no reason to hide it. I am not ashamed of my illness.
What is your official diagnosis?
Bipolar Type II. This means a mix of depression and mania, or lows and highs. The Type II part means I experience "hypomania," which is less severe than what people with Type I experience. My personal brand of bipolar is about 95% depression and 5% hypomania. Medication controls nearly all of the hypomania and maybe 60% of the depression.
Have you ever attempted suicide?
I have not. I have experienced periods of deep, devastating depression that made me think the world would be better off without me. I am so glad I shared my feelings with trusted friends, my husband, and a therapist. Things did get better.
Why should I get professional help for my depression? I'm doing well enough on my own.
Mental illness can be consuming and overwhelming, even when properly diagnosed, treated, and supported. I encourage professional support, whether it comes through a doctor/psychiatrist, medication, or therapist (or all three!). Having more resources is always better. As a patient, you are never bound to the opinion of one professional, but you might learn something or benefit from the experience of a professional that could change your life.
What is your book about?
When Mommy Feels Sad is about my journey with mental illness. A mother experiencing depression feels devastated by the way it affects her life and her family. She tries to get help but is still overcome by strong emotions. Eventually, she grows to accept her depression and knows she is valuable and worthy of love, even on bad days. She has hope for the future.
Telling strangers about my book is getting easier. It seems that people are excited to hear about a new children's book until they hear it is about depression! That's exactly why When Mommy Feels Sad is so needed.
Why did you publish it twice?
I self-published When Mommy Feels Sad in 2018. I went this route for a couple of reasons. One was that I lacked the confidence to pitch the book to a number of agents/publishers. Another is that I wanted to choose the illustrator, which is generally not possible with a big publisher. I had very specific images in mind and Nathan Allred delivered! Publishing the book the first time was a thrilling experience and I don't regret doing it.
A major drawback with self-publishing is not having a distributor. Most sales outlets require one. I also wanted to add a few things to make When Mommy Feels Sad land more solidly in the non-fiction section, like a glossary, discussion questions, and activity ideas. I re-published with Covenant Books in 2022.
Will you write more books?
This is the dream! I have manuscripts about bipolar and anxiety partially written. However, I will probably not publish again without external funding for editing, printing, and marketing.
Will you come to talk to my group?
I love speaking to groups and on podcasts about mental illness and When Mommy Feels Sad. If you have a lead for a speaking engagement or a podcast interview, I'd love to hear about it. Travel is possible if multiple speaking opportunities (schools, churches, etc.) can be grouped into a few days.
Do you really have five kids?
Yes! I have three boys and two girls ranging in age from 21-11 years old. I live in Colorado with my husband and the youngest four children. My oldest lives in Arizona, and my second is preparing to go on a mission to Australia for our church in a few weeks. We will miss him!
What do you do for fun?
In a recent blog post, I wrote about needing people, movement, and light in my life! Most of my fun comes from those three things. I love to play the piano and am currently collaborating with two cellists on an upcoming performance for nursing homes. I love playing volleyball and find ways to do that with friends pretty regularly. I also enjoy running a non-profit called For the Love. We are gearing up for our Christmas project, which will serve homeless students and struggling families with gifts, stockings, and basic necessities for the holiday.
Do you have more questions? Leave them in the comments!
Are you looking for a great tool that will help you talk about mental illness? When Mommy Feels Sad is an illustrated children's book that teaches about depression and the difficult feelings and experiences that go along with it. Start a conversation about depression with your loved one today.