“What the Fire Gave Us” is a memoir built around the wildfire and its effects on my mental health, sense of security, and personal values.
When I worked for the Department of State Health Services, I was committed to supporting the state mental hospitals in their mission. But even though I had personal experience with a number of people who were mentally ill, this condition was always a bit abstract to me. I knew intellectually that mental illness was, like physical illness, something that people could not “snap out of” or manage on their own. But I had no way of directly empathizing with those whose minds were beyond their control.
Now I know what it is like because I have had PTSD for almost a year. I am confident in my eventual recovery and my therapist, more than anyone else, is responsible for that.
I have personal knowledge of mental illness now and am passionate about demystifying and de-stigmatizing it. When my book is complete in a year, I hope it will be a comfort to anyone who has gone through a life-changing experience they are struggling to understand and accept.
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