Our current featured author is called Alice Williams. Kismet is celebrating Alice’s long, intense, and ultimately successful journey, as a now newly self-published author and an ever-healthier sufferer of Bipolar 1. “Zero to Sixty: My Lifelong Journey with Bipolar 1” is Alice’s own naked re-telling of persevering through darkness of incest, depression, and suicide attempts.
Alice was finally diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder in her thirties with the help of her wife Dr. Samantha Olson.
Her memoir’s release is especially timely as March 30th is World Bipolar Day, April is National Counseling Awareness Month and May is National Mental Health Month. Millions of people suffer in silence with an undiagnosed mental health illness or under the continual stigma that comes with mental illness. Kismet is proud to have helped Alice bring her own mental health journey to publication so that she can share her own light on these issues. As she says in the interview below, her… “…hope is that at least one person will read my book and find one thing that helps them deal with their disease.”
About the Author:
After growing up Mormon in Washington State, Alice moved to California where she worked as a Respiratory Therapist, then to Montana to be an RN. In Billings, she met her beautiful wife of 28 years, Dr. Samantha Olson. Alice has written and published one weight loss book and taught both CPR and smoking cessation classes. She also edited and published her own monthly pet magazine while training several onery dogs. This is her first memoir.
I know now that when I was growing up, I had bipolar I and was switching from suicidal depression to mania. I remember things just looked dark. Things in my mind were clouded. I still functioned but I was sad. I thought everybody felt like that. Why would I tell anybody? I would be very happy but then I would go dark again. I know now that the darkness was severe depression, and my excited, happy mood was mania.
I missed a lot of school cuz I couldn’t deal with it. I would steal away from family at the family functions or if I went, I would have to stay in a corner and not talk to anybody. This was easy cuz I was a kid, and I didn’t have to talk to anybody. It was normal to not talk. I had to go to church so I would be very quiet because I would be overwhelmed.
Looking back on my life, my childhood and teenager years, I was switching and mostly depressed. Mom tried to have me go to a Mormon Church counselor, but I thought I might be gay. I was scared they might shun me and my family or they might shoot me. Mom knew that I was depressed but I wouldn’t go to anybody so she just dealt with it as best she could.
“Zero to Sixty is the inspirational, first-person account of how a person with severe mental illness navigated a life plagued by the darkness of suicidal depression interspersed with bouts of mania. Ultimately the author achieves stability and a more realistic and positive view of herself – acknowledging her strengths and value to herself and others. This book is for anyone who wants to better understand bipolar illness from an insider’s view. Alice is a talented and down-to-earth writer who tells it “like it is,” without embellishment or guile. An enjoyable read!”
Janet M. Roberts, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
A short Interview with Alice:
Do you have a hobby beyond writing? Stained glass. In fact, the book cover features a graphic of one of my own pieces.
What got you started writing? I have written most of my life. First it was my weight loss book, then the pet magazine and now this book. I have always written in a journal to calm my nerves and organize my thoughts. Now I realize it is like in the Harry Potter books with Dumbledore and his “pensive”. When his head gets too full of thoughts, he simply takes the thoughts out of his head so he can look at them later. That is what journaling and writing is to me – my own “pensive”.
What was the most difficult part /easiest part of writing your memoir? The most difficult part of this was writing through the severe depression which came and went. I would only be able to write a paragraph or two at a time. I had a goal that I would sit down and write something 3 times a week.
What inspired to write your memoir? I know that I have had problems dealing with the bipolar 1 disease. If I had problems, I had to believe there were others out there also struggling with bipolar 1. My hope is that at least one person will read my book and find one thing that helps them deal with their disease.
What do you try to explore in your writing? How to deal with my illness and try to make sense of my severe mania and suicidal depression by getting it down on paper.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? I always wanted to be a writer, although early on I didn’t know what to call it. I just wrote in my journal and thoroughly enjoyed it. In 6th grade I wrote a short story and a poem. The teacher really praised me then put my work on the blackboard. If you read the book, you’ll see I never got praise. It was there and then that I was going to write the rest of my life. Even now I don’t label myself as a writer, I just write.
If you’d like more information about mental health, the following 2021 mental health awareness calendar lists events by month, week, and day.