With the release of her book 'Me and My Bully', we caught up with Gemma Sarsfield, a 29 year old teacher who discovered that the best way to beat her ADHD and OCD, was to write about her experiences. Not only is this book an inspiration for anyone facing similar challenges, but a testament to her enthusiasm and determination to share her thoughts and help others through writing.
What inspired you to put your experiences into words?
The decision has really been a process more than anything. I began writing as a way of communicating with my first CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapist) Therapist. He suggested that I put my thoughts onto paper as I simply found it too difficult to talk about my OCD; despite knowing what I wanted to say to him when he would ask me a question, it physically wouldn’t come out. That first year of therapy turned in numerous years of seeing a variety of health professionals and I just continued to write down my thoughts in a desperate bid to ‘empty my head.’ As I began to feel stronger in my ability to cope I reflected back to that first therapist once saying that with all the writing I do I should publish a book; I then made this my focus and goal. As a result, 6 years on, 5 edited manuscripts later, ‘Me and My Bully’ was published!
Who has been a particular help along your journey?
Don’t laugh… Bumper, my pet house rabbit; she is awesome and often has such a calming influence on me! My OCD has always been at its worst when I am at home and after a long day at work, where I am already fighting an ongoing battle between my OCD and ADHD, to then come home tired and have to continue the fight at an even higher level can just be exhausting and frustrating. But, when you have a furry little friend bounce over to you asking for a cuddle and demanding attention, the anxiety gradually fades away. In a way she acts as a magnet that draws the power shift from my Bully to her, and because I have such love for her, that emotion immediately comes to the surface; she is amazing.
What do you hope your book will inspire people to do or think about?
I hope that my book will inspire people to never feel ashamed of their story, as we all have one; some of the twists and turns may not be ones we choose but the destination is always in our hands. I also hope that I can challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and provide people with a true insight into conditions that carry so many preconceptions. It's easy to give someone a ‘label’ but a label is merely visual, so often we forget, or even disregard, what’s behind the label; a person.
Why did you choose the self-publishing route?
I chose the self-publishing route as I wanted complete control over all aspects of the production; a choice which was no doubt heavily influenced, and reinforced, by my OCD…! I guess, in some ways, I already had a vision of what I wanted the book to look like and what I wanted it to achieve so the thought of handing all that over and potentially compromising my vision was never going to be an option for me.
You can find Gemma's book on Amazon
and connect with her below: