Category: Writing


Words have power

I wrote my book because words have power.

I discovered the power of words when I was about nine. I had one of those mothers you could never argue with. Well, you could, but she wouldn’t listen. I often seethed with the silent rage of impotence because I was never allowed to contradict her or raise my voice. After yet another one-sided argument, I decided to write my side of the story on a piece of paper and put it on her bed. I argued my case, detailing all the reasons why I was right and she was wrong. The words spilled out onto the page. My mother never mentioned that she had received my letter or read it, but I knew that she would have and that was more than enough for me.

All anyone wants is to be heard.

My son, who has Down syndrome will never be capable of writing me a letter. But that doesn’t mean cannot harness the power of the written word. He knows what a diary is for and he often checks my diary to see if his name is in there. One day he brought me my diary and pointed to a day with his name on it. I told him he was scheduled to go to a communication workshop and he indicated most strongly that didn’t want to go. I fobbed him off, saying we’d talk about it later, etc, fully intending to take him. I am sure that he must often seethe with the silent rage of impotence. A few minutes later he brought me back the diary opened to the page we had been looking at. The entry was gone. He had taken the white out and simply deleted it from my diary. If it wasn’t in the diary, then it wasn’t going to happen.

All he wanted was to be heard.


Art from Adversity: A Life with Bipolar


I have just found my book on the publisher’s website. This is it!


Art from Adversity: A Life with Bipolar
Anne Naylor

Available: 1 March 2013



Art from adversity: A life with bipolar

My book is finished. It will be published next year in April/May.

Art from adversity: A life with bipolar is an illuminating, uplifting and entertaining memoir about adversity, mental illness, bipolar disorder, Down syndrome, creativity and art. It is divided into two parts: the first a collection of personal stories and the second interesting and useful information about bipolar disorder, and informal advice for carers.

 “This book is written with great courage and amazing creativity, and by telling her stories Anne is leading us out of the shadows towards a stigma free word where mental ill health will be as well understood, accepted, funded and overcome in the same way as physical illnesses like cancer and diabetes.  Australia is showing the way in this international challenge and the courage of individual stories like Anne’s if told enough and listened to enough will change the world.”

Professor Patrick D. McGorry AO, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRANZCP
Australian of the Year 2010

“This is an inspiring book in which Anne has drawn on her own experiences to educate and inform others suffering from bipolar disorder. Her use of narrative, paintings and poetry is engaging and illuminating. It is an excellent addition to the literature on bipolar illness and a brilliant read.”

Professor Gin S Malhi MB ChB BSc(Hons) MD FRCPsych FRANZCP
CADE Clinic, The University of Sydney

For more information about the book, watch this space …


Going crazy

I am going crazy. This whole book publishing thing is really doing my head in. The title is still not decided.

Being an author is ….


Bipolar book

Tonight I sent the ‘final’, ‘final’ copy of my manuscript to the publisher. I am not allowed to make any more changes (other than minor ones) after tonight. It is really going to be published.

There is still a lot to do. I have to find someone high profile in the area of mental illness to endorse my book and I have approached a few wonderful people. I won’t tell you who they are, in case they don’t work out, but I can say that the people I have approached are people I really look up to. There are some amazing people in the community who do incredible work for people with mental illness in our community. Brilliant people.

Anyway, you should see my house. This is what happens when you write a book.

It is very bad for bipolar and very bad for the housework.

They’re sure housework won’t kill you, but why take the risk.

Where’s the maid when you need her? (Oh, that’s right, that would be me.)


Never argue with a woman who reads

A husband and wife are on holiday. One morning, the husband returns the boat to their lakeside cottage after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap.

Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, puts her feet up, and begins to read her book.

The peace and solitude are magnificent.

Along comes a Fish and Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says ‘Good morning, Ma’am. What are you doing?’

‘Reading a book,’ she replies, (thinking, ‘Isn’t that obvious?’)

‘You’re in a Restricted Fishing Area,’ he informs her.

‘I’m sorry, officer, but I’m not fishing. I’m reading.’

 ‘Yes, but I see you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I’ll have to take you in and write you up.’

 ‘If you do that, I’ll have to charge you with sexual assault,’ says the woman.

 ‘But I haven’t even touched you,’ says the Game Warden.

 ‘That’s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.’

 ‘Have a nice day ma’am,’ and he left.


Never argue with a woman who  reads . It’s likely she can also think.


Mental illness from a fresh perspective

The Australian Human Rights Commission has a project called Something in Common. They have set up two related web sites: www.tellmesomethingidon’ and The project is a social media initiative and people are invited to write their own stories about issues relating to human rights, such as freedom, equality, respect and belonging. I have contributed the following story.

My story (one of them) is that I have bipolar disorder. I have started a blog ( to empower those who also have a mental illness and to enlighten their families and friends. I write so that people will know they are not alone. I write to give them hope.

People who have a mental illness are often the creative, innovative and inventive minds of the world. We are people who look at things differently. We often have great lateral thinking skills. We have enthusiasm and spirit (when we are not depressed) and we have a great ability to relate to other people, especially others who face challenges in their lives. 

Everyone with a mental illness has a unique story and there are many different ways to tell it. I have writen a memoir. I have started a blog. I contribute to websites such as this one. If I can make life better for one person, I will be happy. In writing about my life and my experiences. I want to change attitudes and challenge stereotypes. I want to have a positive impact on people and help them see mental illness from a fresh perspective. I really want to make a difference. 

My story is that, in spite of bipolar, or perhaps because of bipolar, my life is rich and full. I am very lucky. Check it out. Tell your story.


A brilliant bipolar site

As I write posts for this blog, I sometimes wonder why I write them.

My daughter says ‘Who would want to read about you.’

She’s right, of course. It’s very self indulgent.

So why do I write?

I write to please myself.

I write because I like writing.

I write because I get a great deal of satisfaction from being able to publish my work every day (albeit on a blog site).

I write because I like talking about bipolar disorder, and there are not many places in my life I can discuss mental illness.

I also write this blog to connect with people – my friends, other wannabe writers, people who also have bipolar disorder and carers. Anyone really.

Because I have bipolar disorder I am part of a minority community. I am also a carer (another minority community) and a writer (yet another). As with any minority group, there are experiences I have in common with other people in that group. I have a sense of belonging and kinship that I do not have outside that community.

I feel this sense of kinship when I read the blogs of others who also have bipolar disorder.

I have recently subscribed to a blog,, and her posts come through to my e-mail. She is smart and well educated and literate. Her blog site is professional and well organised. She expresses her thoughts in a very articulate way. She also has a very ‘bipolar’ way of writing (which I love).

And she writes about things I think about all the time. Like disclosure and exposure in today’s post, which is something I really struggle with.

I could respond to each one of her posts with an essay, but unfortunately I don’t have the time for that. I am one of the many anonymous people who read her posts and nod my head. She wouldn’t know that I am an admirer.

She has hundreds of subscribers, so obviously a lot of other people love her posts as well.

Check out her blog at


Anxious? Depressed? Try writing

Research has shown that writing down your thoughts about emotional experiences or traumatic events can minimise symptoms of anxiety and depression. Writing about anxiety can  also improve academic results.

New research has found that students who write about their anxieties for ten minutes before a test get better results. By off-loading their anxieties, the students free up some mind space. The University of Chicago’s associate professor of psychology, Sian Bellock said:

Control participants [who were] ‘choked under pressure’, showed a 12 percent accuracy drop from pre-test to post test, whereas students who expressed their thoughts [in writing] before the test showed a significant five percent improvement in maths accuracy.

Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? Are you studying?

Maybe you should try writing.