Be True to Yourself

Annabel Harz Author Interview

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine takes readers through your emotions as you battle depression. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Depression is a soul-destroying condition. It permeates every aspect of a person’s life. If it is clinical depression, it can be extremely challenging to overcome. Its pervasive nature changes a person from the inside out, so sufferers who make it to the other side are very different people to those who went into it.

My depression lasted ten years. Coming out of it as a young person in my early twenties, that was half my life. That decade was so transformative and profound that the lessons I learned—including new ways of behaving and thinking—remain my core approaches, today.

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine was an important book for me to write because my experiences are shared by many others: sadly, the frequency of depression remains very high, and although the triggers and causes may differ, the resultant reactions of being stuck, feeling anxiety and fear, having panic attacks and thinking suicidal thoughts are all too common.

I have a wealth of raw materials which provide a first-hand account of what it is like to be in the depth of depression, and it is now time for me to ‘pass it forward’ in a way that hopefully will assist others: fellow-sufferers whose experiences are validated through seeing them mirrored in my book; and people without direct experience who gain insight into what it is like to be in that position.

I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story through poetry. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

The hardest thing to write about was suicidal ideation, because people thinking these dark thoughts are the closest they can be to madness without actually being locked up. It’s terrifying to have such thoughts invade the mind, unbidden and unwelcome, unable to be stopped. When I finally crawled out the other side of my darkest days and could reflect on my past with some distance, it was petrifying to realise how unwell I had been, how deep I had sunk and how out of control my situation had been … especially when I realised the danger that had put me in. It’s challenging to come face-to-face with the reality that I actively considered death a better option to life, because that is the ultimate end-game that most people don’t go to willingly.

What is one piece of advice someone gave you that changed your life?

Be true to yourself: ultimately, the only person anyone needs to answer to is themselves. All the kindly-provided advice and help from others amounts to little if it doesn’t feel right in your gut, so listen to your instincts and be guided by your intuition.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have ideas for several books, in various formats, which are parked at the moment. My next project is a memoir of my mother, integrating other key influences in my life. My mother is an inspiration, a trailblazer in many ways, and her life deserves to be heard about by more than her family circle.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website | Amazon | Reedsy | ArtsHub | Readers Favorite

Journey into the Shadow and the Sunshine continues the theme of Journey into the Dark and the Light, the first book by Annabel Harz. Disarmingly honest words and images reveal more of her personal experiences: the deep shadows of loneliness and depression; the recognition of the value of survival at her lowest point of feeling unworthy; the importance of mental and physical space in creating a safe place for personal exploration and growth; and ultimately the sunshine of wellbeing when—through sheer grit and endurance—her personal demons had been conquered and set free.

Sustained effort is required to rise out of depression once it is established as a daily state of being. The poetry and artwork in this collection exemplify the resilience required to rise above the despair of mental ill-health, and with candour and sincerity depict the internal strength which facilitates reaching a place of well-being.

Posted on February 24, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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