Charlotte Underwood is a mental health blogger and advocate, as well as the author of 'After Suicide'. As the profits this month from Please Hear What I'm Not Saying are partly going to The Joshua Nolan Foundation for the prevention of suicide in Scotland, it felt like exactly the right time to talk to Charlotte about mental health and her writing!
First, here is the blurb of Charlotte's book, 'After Suicide':
"After Suicide is Charlotte's personal account of her fathers suicide, including before and after the event. This books main purpose is to be a support aid for people in a similar situation or people wanting to understand more about suicide and how it affects the survivor, it is not however meant to be a replacement for your doctors recommendations. This book is help from someone that understands. In this book, Charlotte will take you through the her version of her fathers suicide, she talks about the time he got ill, the time he went missing and the time his body was found, through to his funeral. Charlotte then goes on to talk about her own recovery and battle with grief, she explains how she coped with the utmost honestly, the things that helped her and the things she wishes she never did. Charlotte also talks about ideas in which she thinks would benefit a person grieving a suicide such as things that she would have done if she could re do it all. This is Charlotte's first ever published book, a book that may not be of literary perfection but comes straight from the heart."
1.What did you hope to achieve when you published 'After Suicide' and do you have accomplished this so far?
The only thing I ever wanted to achieve when I published 'After Suicide', was to add some free and accessible support to those left behind after losing a loved one to suicide. When I went through It myself, I found myself alone with no support and no one to understand me, this needs to change so I decided to do just that.
2. Have you been surprised by any reactions to your book 'After Suicide'?
Though my book was for the purpose of people life me who have joined the club that no one wants to join, the suicide survivors, it has also become a learning tool for those who want to understand what it is to be suicidal and the effects of a suicide taking place. I remember when I got a message from a person who said that because of my book, their kids still had a parent and I cried, it wasn't my original goal for my book to do that but I am so glad it has.
3. How does writing help you on a day to day basis?
Writing is a form of therapy, it is very similar to painting or knitting. Keeping your hands busy and your mind distracted from the stress life gives is great. However Writing also goes a step further for me, it allows me to remove and organise thoughts that are plaguing me, through doing this I can understand myself better and come to terms with my past. I now feel like I am lighter than air because I write every day, have done since August last year and it's the best thing - my mental health has made milestones in this time.
4. How would you describe your writing style in three words?
Candid, blunt and hopeful - just like me.
5. What would you say to someone who is struggling right now?
Recovery is possible, it may not seem it but I have been in such a dark place, many times. Yet here I am following my writing dream, helping people and achieving everything I ever wanted. Your mental illness does not define you, neither does your pass - the only limits are the ones you set yourself.
Thank you Charlotte!
The book can be found here.