K. S. Leigh : Developing a Pseudonym

A pseudonym for myself is something that I never truly thought of. On this blog, I go by Daisy because that is the nickname my boyfriend gave me, but I never truly thought about being published and have my actual name on the cover of a novel.

I love my birth name, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted my pen name to be just as important to me as the stories I wrote. So, I decided on K. S. Leigh. A pretty simple name, reminds me of C. S. Lewis, but it has a truly heartwarming backstory, at least for me.

The K. is for my real first name, given to me by my late mother. It’s a long name, I used to dream about growing up and changing my name to something a lot easier to say/spell. Now that I am that adult, I will decide to always keep my name. It is the last true connection I have with my mother.

The S. is for my real middle name. It is a feminine version of my fathers middle name, and so another familial connection there. I have only seen my father once in my twenty-odd years of living, but I can’t bring myself to disregard the only thing that connects us.

Now, the last name is where I tear up everytime I explain it. With my mother and father out of the picture, I was raised by my great-grandmother. She was roughly in her mid-60s when I came along, and I attatched to her as if i knew nothing different. She was my mother. And my father. And whatever else I needed. She passed away in 2010, and I have yet to completely come to terms with that.

I decided to commemorate her with the last name of Leigh, a different spelling of her middle name, Lee. She was the woman I most loved, and being able to have her influence my work in more ways than one is truly amazing.

If any of you are writers, I will ultimately say this: when choosing a pseudonym, be true to yourself. You can do all the research in the world and finally come up with a pen name that is sure to make you a lot of money due to analytics, but if you aren’t happy with it, what are you really getting out of it?

With Love, From Daisy

Love & Depression : When Things Are Bumpy

Care is a state in which something does matter; it is the source of human tenderness.

-Rollo May

Everyone in every walk of life has had a relationship problem, once or twice. Those of us who suffer from depression, and more specifically bipolar disorder, it can be those little problems that will ultimately ruin a relationship. Smooth sailing is most definitely possible, but it will take an equal amount of effort from both parties.

The major difference between dealing with relationship issues as a person who can’t necessarily control their feelings versus a more stable individual is the fact that the blame game is easy for us to win: we blame ourselves every time.

I shall use my relationship as a running example. Peri and I are not the perfect couple. We have our spats, and we definitely have our differences. An issue we have had in the past was the amount of communication. In my depressive states, I would either want to talk to him 24/7 or not all. There was no in between, and to this day it is still something I am working on. But that is not a logical structure for communication to be based upon. He is the quiet type at most times, so when I feel as though I need him the most, it starts a rift with us because we’re both being our ultimate selves.

I will instantaneously blame myself. I have said things such as “it’s my fault we don’t talk anymore” or “if I wasn’t so useless, we wouldn’t be having problems”. The key to these types of scenarios is patience and the ability to know how to get through to your significant other. You won’t get it on the first try, people rarely do. By practicing how to effectively communicate with your spouse, you will pave the way to a less bumpy road. Here are a few ways to take those first steps and create progress.

1.) Familiarize Yourself With Triggers
Now, this first suggestion is not for those couples who have been together less than 6+ months. I say that because doing such a thing can become a tiresome act, especially when you don’t see yourself utilizing the information on a long-term basis. If you plan being in or already are in a serious relationship, paying attention to when an episode or mood swing is triggered can be beneficial. By doing so, you may relieve them of their sense of guilt as well as educate yourself on the do’s and don’ts.

2.) Take Up For Yourself
This step is aimed at the non-suffering spouse, if that is you. One of my triggers is Peri’s extremely close relationship with his best friend. This is an irrational trigger, but the first step to removing it is to identify it. Part of my bipolar disorder is a strong sense of jealousy due to my lack of affection during childhood. I project this jealousy onto him, attacking the closest threat, in my mind, to our relationship. Instead of allowing me to “walk all over him”, he will put his foot down and tell me how irrational I am being. Even if the trigger is something silly, like when I notice Peri doesn’t eat milk with his cereal, he doesn’t let me go off for something that is innately him.

3.) Communicate Through It
This step may seem strange when remembering the example of my relationship earlier. I do not speak for everyone with depression/bipolar disorder, but I know myself well enough to understand that no matter how much I say Leave Me Alone, that is the last thing I want. In my relationship, if I speak anything like that, especially whenever I show the physical signs of downing (going into a depressive mood), Peri will almost coach me through. He asks questions such as “What’s wrong”, “What Happened”, “Are You Sure That Is What You Want”, and my personal favorite, “I’m Still Here If You Need Me”. Giving them the option to come to you opens up a world of possibilities. Many times we feel as though no one is there, but just the verbal reassurance can really make a difference.

All in all, bumps happen. Honeymoon phases end. Relationships get tough. For those of us fighting the depression battle and those who are fighting with us, there is hope that smooth sailing is coming. It never rains forever.

With Love, From Daisy

1st Complete Beta Read Review

At long last I have gotten into my groove and finished the first bit of my very first beta reader review.

The process involves a lot of communication between the author and I, but I give no details until the review is complete. It helps to keep me organized and on track, as well as keeping my as honest as possible.

I structure my reviews as such:
1.) Overall – In this section, I have skimmed the majority of the text and have a feel for how the novel is reading. This involves whether or not the formality of the text is fitting to the details, as well as whether or not section/chapter structuring is concrete enough to withstand heavy editing.

2.) Chapter Sections – This is where I break down each chapter specifically. With this being my first time with a completely new author, I decided to take it excrutiatingly slow, so that I may milk every critique out of myself. I want to be as brutal and as thurough as possible, because in this section, the “meat” is evaluated.

3.) Chapter Sub-sections – With this author, I focused on two chapters for the first check in review. Within these chapters, the sub-sections mapped out the key elements that should be addressed, such as Grammar, Information (as in how detailed were you), and length. Though there are loose length restraints, a chapter being too short coupled with too much information can become boring and monotonous.

This first official review was around 800 words, but I tried to make every single one count towards bettering the author. I await feedback to see if my approach was efficient enough, but fingers crossed that I helped him understand what it was like, being the reader for a change.

With Love, From Daisy

WLFD Writing: My First Beta Reader Job

As you all may not know, I am an avid reader as well as a writer. A few days ago, I volunteered to be a beta reader for the the first time.

At first, let’s rewind a few days before this happened. I had no idea what a beta reader actually was. After researching into how I could broaden my scope as a future writer *fingers crossed*, I ran across a few articles on how important beta readers were.

What they do is basically, before sending to an editor, which can be extremely costly, an author will hire, or ask for volunteers, for their works of literature. We beta readers do a once over read, giving critique and feedback. This definitely sounds like the job for me.

The hardest part about this is that I have a hard time being…mean? There are errors, and being a beta reader means I will get the first wave of them, but learning how to approach the topic with the customer/author is a different story.

An air of professionalism is needed, that is certain, but this individual is my peer, my colleague in the writing world. We both wish for the same things, to be published and have our stories heard. That in and of itsefl is the reason I must give them the rawest review I possibly can. From that they will rise to be great!

I’m SO excited!

With Love, From Daisy

Love & The Depressed: How We Love Differently

‘I don’t believe in magic.’
The young boy said
The old man smiled.
‘You will, when you see her.

Atticus

Everyone has experienced love in some way shape or form, but for those suffering from severe depression/anxiety or other mental disorder that make emotions a difficult situation, it is something completely different.

Love can be a major stress inducing mechanic of the human experience. We are bound to feel a connection with another being that we can’t always express or put into words. Living with Bipolar Disorder can be a tough cookie to break when being in love.

I have known my boyfriend for about two and a half years, and he is the one my heart belongs to. I consider myself lucky, because I can easily express how I feel for him, but sometimes instead of losing that, I will over do it. There are people who believe that you could never love too much. That is not always the case.

Some individuals have a difficult time getting out of bed when depression is creeping up on them, yet alone be emotionally functional enough to love someone. We can love too hard, or hardly at all. Though there may not be words, do not take this as disinterest. For awhile, I hated to be touched, which would make showing affection even that more difficult.

I speak for everyone with depression when I say that we are trying. Though we may speak differently, we have not completely given up on hope. Giving us time is the best way for us to feel safe, and most importantly, comfortable. 

So for those with a spouse suffering from this, I tell you hold on as long as you feel you can. It is there, it will come. We are just a little different.

With Love, From Daisy

Planting Your Own Garden: How I Stay Grounded

According to the World Health Organization, Bipolar Disorder is the sixth leading cause of disability in the world.

As I sat staring blankly at that sentence, I didn’t want to believe it. I don’t have a disability, do I? When dealing with such an illness, it is important to know as much as you can, but never forget that it is just as important to get to know yourself as well.

Being diagnosed Bipolar II, as well as ADHD, at the age of 14, was extremely difficult. It took me years of doctors and medicines and ultimately heartache in order for me to get to where I am today. These are the things that keep me level headed in a very unforgiving world.

1.) Affirmations – emotional support or encouragement
Notice I didn’t add the word ‘self’ to that. Though self-affirmations are crucial to dealing with the struggles of Bipolar Disorder, giving them can be just as rewarding. The idea of giving someone something that you cannot achieve yourself can be daunting at first. For me, it is easier to put myself in the position to recieve affirmations when I witness the joy on someones face after giving one.

2.) Self Reflection – meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.
Bipolar II is the onset of mood swings that go from manic to depression, but with lowered manic reaction. I have depressive spells that can handicap me for upwards of two weeks at a time. Self-Reflecting during these moments can be scary, because the thoughts are not always nice ones, but doing so keeps me aware of my state of mind. This keeps me mentally busy, and subsequently out of harms way.

3.) Reaching Out – letting someone know that you aren’t okay.
Lastly, this is one that I struggle with doing the most, but has the most reward in turn. When in a depressive state, I never want to be thought of as a ‘bother’ to anyone, so when I was younger I would just hold everything in. That almost cost me my life several times. Now, I know that I have a support system. It may take me a few days into my episode to reach out, but it helps tremendously when I finally do.

Extra Tip
I keep a folded piece of paper in my cell phone case with a list of names of people I can call when I am feeling upset. It keeps me from getting overly frustrated and overwhelmed. Adding such a thing to your wallet or purse can really take the stress off. It allows for less thinking and a quicker recovery time.

 

Bipolar II Disorder is definitely one that has rocked my entire world, but the best advice I can give is to stay grounded. When we let our emotionals take ahold, we lose our footing and enter a very dangerous headspace.

With Love, From Daisy