A Woman's Voice

THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY ~ You Asked…I Answered (part 2) ~ April 21, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte

What was the hardest thing about writing this book? (I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay)

The hardest thing about writing this book was making the decision to be so open and honest about my feelings.  I had hidden my depression from others, with the exception of my husband, for so long that I had no idea how people would react to this revelation.  I have discovered since the launch of my book that many people are willing to share their journeys or tales of depression with me, however, most prefer that they remain anonymous.  Still to this day by what I’ve heard and observed, depression is not looked upon by all, as merely another type of illness or disorder. 

One of my closest friends asked me if I felt more vulnerable after writing about my mental illness which is what depression is considered to be.  Without a doubt, I certainly did and still do at times!   The most difficult part was facing people after they had read what I had shared with them.  I did not want my relationships to change.  Generally speaking, they have not.  In fact, my fears have been put to rest because several people have demonstrated more admiration and respect for me as a result of my efforts. 

Of the 13 tips you shared for getting through life, which do you feel is the most valuable? 

Of the 13 tips that I shared with my readers, the one I feel is of the most value is the very first one, that of learning to love yourself.  During this very difficult stage of my life I not only suffered from depression but I also had a very negative self-image as a result.  At that time, I could hardly bring myself to look in the mirror and love what I saw in it…my own image.  I not only felt self loathing, I felt that others could not find much to love in me either.  Thus, first and foremost, I had to relearn to love myself instead of looking at my reflection in such a negative way…that of an utter failure. Due to my illness, I could not return to my teaching career and was at a major turning point in my life. It was necessary for me to figure things out. Therefore, this book is actually being written in retrospect.  I needed to live life first and then reflect back to better describe the choices I made along the way in order to have a full and rewarding existence. 

As in all recipes, some ingredients are vital to the recipe and cannot be substituted.  In my book, I feel that the first step is the most essential in order to make this recipe work.  A lot of people are unhappy with themselves.  My recipe calls for admitting this fact if it applies. I also stressed learning how to be happier with whom you really are rather than what you may want to be. It doesn’t mean to say that a person cannot grow but growth stems from an honest assessment of self.  This process requires some self-examination, a dose of truth serum, and the desire to move on from this point.  This could possibly be done by incorporating some of my recommendations into daily living.  When I have off days, which most of us do, I still refer to my own book and try my best to follow my own advice. 

I recently wrote an article about the “stigma” of mental illness.  Mike Falcon’s article  (Spotlight Health) with medical advisor Stephen A. Shoop M.D. in USA Today coincides with my post titled “Dear Abby”.  I hope you will take a moment to check it out.  Two more articles you might want to read regarding depression are Here To Help and About Depression.  The more aware and informed we all are about this oftentimes, debilitating condition, the more compassionate, empathetic and tolerant we will eventually become.  

To be continued…also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will answer them to the best of my ability.  The above questions were asked by Laura Davis on Interviews and Reviews.        


2 Responses to 'THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY ~ You Asked…I Answered (part 2) ~ April 21, 2011 by Dolores Ayotte'

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  1. Charles Betts said,

    Dolores; Good “Good Friday” to you and all your family and readers. Easter, like spring, holds such hope of new life and new beginnings. Such a beautiful way that God has given the earth and all it holds to start each spring with refreshing life. Spring is a time of birth and rebirth for so much of His creation. Easter for me holds the same promise of life and rebirth of our souls. As the earth soaks in the sun and becomes refreshed, so too do we when we soak in the Son. Our soul becomes alive and we are restored to that place of communication with God that he gave to Adam and Eve in the beginning, where the Bible says “He breathed into man and he became a living soul”. So to me does Christ when we invite Him into our lives.
    After reading this article I was reminded of a poem I had written some time ago. I called it “Freedom” I hope you and your readers enjoy it. It’s all about hiding who we are because we don’t like us. Too many things different about us, or so we think. We become a turtle. As soon as someone approaches the first thing we do is go inside our shell. They still know we are a turtle but they never get to see our inner beauty, and we never get to see the beauty of life all around us.
    So, yes, we need to love ourselves, and be comfortable with us, and resalize there are a gazillion other turtles out there. Each ones has scratches and bruises from where they have been, but hey, we’re all still turtles. We need each other and can help each other get through this journey of life together. Here is the poem. Enjoy, and thanks for being brave enough to share your story. Have a great Easter, Charles Betts.


    Full of imperfection, unaccepted by the crowd
    Creating such frustration you want to shout out loud
    So many inhibitions, self-esteem at an all-time low
    No one explores your beauty, ‘cause no one wants to know

    You’re not the same as others though you struggle to fit in
    The way they step around you makes you wish you hadn’t been
    Your spirit cries for freedom. You’re trapped within a cage
    This body you’ve been given. It’s so hard to stop the rage

    No one gets to know you. Stopped by their first glance
    You and they both walk away, neither gets a second chance
    It leaves you torn to pieces, so much you want to share
    Surely there is someone who is kind enough to care

    Life for you’s been nothing. So much kept within your heart
    Your list of imperfections has kept you set apart
    Oh to live and love and laugh it surely would be sweet
    You have never known it ‘cause you hide out on the street

    People walk beside you, they simply do not understand
    Why you are so quiet and you refuse to take their hand
    They don’t see the imperfections. The only thing that’s wrong
    Is that you won’t let them in. You will not share your song

    Please do not be a turtle. Dare to step outside the shell
    Take a walk with others, you will see that all is well
    Make a friend of someone. Put your own list aside
    Everyone’s got imperfections. You don’t have to hide

    You’re just the same as others, and yes you will fit in
    People will surround you and they will be your friends
    Your spirit will know freedom when you step outside the cage
    With the body you’ve been given. There‘ll be no need for rage

    A poem By Charles Betts
    August 30th 2006

    • Charles….thank you for this wonderful response and beautiful poem. I brought it over to my main blog page for all to enjoy.

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