I’m so excited to finally write this post. I’m not big on New Year resolutions, but this is definitely something I’ll be able to check off my list.
When I started this blog six years ago, I knew I wanted to write about mental health in general and specifically, my journey to recovery from panic disorder and agoraphobia. Like many other blogs centered on mental illness, I chose to be anonymous.
Over the years, I’ve become more open about my issues. Now I’m a mental health advocate, something I wasn’t necessarily striving for when I started my blog. But that’s what has evolved — by writing about it here and on other mental health-related websites, including NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), The Mighty, and Thrive Global. I’m also a speaker for NAMI’s in-school mental health awareness program, Ending the Silence. I talk to middle grade and high school students about the symptoms of mental illness and what to do if they notice those signs in themselves or a friend.
All of my writing in regards to mental health has been under the pseudonym Jenny Marie. I’ve always known that one day I’d change that. I just wasn’t sure when.
And now, I’m ready.
Going forward, I’ll go by my real name (drum roll)…
Eeks!!! It’s hard to explain, but it feels so strange (and a bit scary!) to reveal that. Plus, I’ve never posted pictures of myself!
It’s like opening the curtain, letting people get a glimpse of the real Jeni. I feel vulnerable. But it’s not like I’m a different person or haven’t been authentic in my past writing. I’ve been true to my real self through ALL of it. Every single post I’ve penned is filled with my own thoughts and experiences. My life. Just different names.
I was away from the blog for much of 2020, but am happy to be back! I’ve had fun giving my site a little update, like changing the header background to olive branches. I chose them because they symbolize peace.
As with different seasons of life, my direction pivoted this past year. Partly because of the global pandemic and partly because I chose to focus on other endeavors.
Last year I completed a manuscript for a middle grade contemporary fiction book about a girl with anxiety and panic attacks. I’m currently querying agents, hoping to find just the right one to champion my book.
Sometimes we all need fresh starts. What better time than now, after making it through the extremely difficult and challenging year of 2020.
My wish and prayer for all of us is a healthy, peaceful New Year.