Meet the Writer is a feature for which I interview authors who identify as women. We talk less about a single book or work and more about where they’ve been and how their lives affect their writing. Today, please welcome Nina Bingham. You can learn more about her at her blog and on Twitter. You can find her books on Amazon.
Grab the Lapels: Why did you start writing?
Nina Bingham: My life coaching clients inspired me to write my recovery workbook, Never Enough. A lost love inspired me to write Aphrodite’s Cup: Passionate Poems. Needing to be “realer” as a writer inspired me to write Living Out Loud: Outspoken Poems, and God on Fire: Spiritual Poems was written after discovering J. Rumi’s spiritual poetry. BIG Rumi fan!
My 5th book published March 2015, Once The Storm Is Over: From Grieving To Healing After the Suicide of My Daughter was written so I could share my journey from grief to healing with other suicide survivors, and with teens and young adults struggling with depression.
GTL: What kind of writing do you do?
NB: I write non-fiction, because I am an avid reader, but have always preferred to read true-to-life stories that offered answers to life’s challenges. I have been most inspired by autobiographies that served to inspire me. One of the most influential books has been Dr. Elyn R. Sak’s, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. Her book saw me through my darkest hours of grief, and gave me the courage to find my voice, to speak out about my own struggle with depression, and my daughter’s suicide. It’s ironic that I have written an autobiography, and honored that Dr. Sak’s wrote the title review of my book.
GTL: What would you like readers to know about your more recent book, Once The Storm Is Over?
NB: It is raw and honest, sharing my painful past: an abusive alcoholic father, a failed marriage, the rejection I suffered after I came out as a lesbian, and my own brush with suicide. What could have been a story mired in self-pity and misery, ultimately is a story of hope. This book is not only for survivors but for anyone facing depression. The book has garnered outstanding reviews from suicide prevention organizations, expert psychiatrists, best-selling authors on suicide, mental health and parenting magazines, as well as grief recovery organizations. My hope is that it will lesson the stigma of mental illness and comfort those who are grieving, so they know they are not alone.
GTL: Many times writers find a creative niche and community. What do you think is yours?
NB: I see myself as a part of the movement to fight the stigma of mental illness worldwide, specifically that of suicide. My community is a world-wide and large: I’m part of the Suicide Club-survivors of suicide, a terrible club to be a part of. And although we have been silenced in the past by the societal taboo about suicide, if all survivors do their part by speaking about their own journeys, their own experiences, we can lesson the stigma of mental illness so that more people will come out of the shadows and feel safe about reaching out for help.
GTL: Why do you think your book would be a good choice for a book club pick?
NB: Because there are so many misconceptions about mental illness and suicide. Case in point: there’s a myth that says mentally ill people are dangerous or violent. We see this depicted in the media, especially in the past in movies such as Fatal Attraction (which Glenn Close starred in, and who started “Bring Change To Mind,” a mental health organization that she leads with her sister who has Bipolar Disorder). The fact is that only a very small percentage of the mentally ill ever become violent; we just hear about it because the media has perpetuated this myth. What we should be emphazing is that 90% of suicides are completed by people with mental illness, such as depression. The stigma of mental illness can be reduced by book clubs, schools, mental health and grief organizations and businesses as they read real accounts written by suicide survivors.
GTL: Are there aspects of your writing that readers might find challenging to them?
NB: Once The Storm Is Over is being described by reviewers as: raw, honest, shattering, healing, and important. This is an emotional read, especially for suicide survivors. But to have an impact, sensitive topics like mental illness and suicide need to be genuine and caring; they also need to be brutally honest. I believe this is one of the few books that manages to be both.