Today’s guest is Linda Naomi Katz, author of Surviving Mental Illness and Peter and Lisa: A Mental Illness Story.
Welcome, Linda. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born on March 21, 1969, raised in the Jewish Faith where both my parents sent me to a Modern Orthodox Day School (Yeshiva). When I was 15, my family moved to Fair Lawn, New Jersey where I attend a public school and a Hebrew School. At 18, I went to Queens College and studied Economics and Sociology. After college, I tried to get a job but was unsuccessful and made me very depressed which triggered my mania. At 24 I suffered a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Being a modern orthodox woman, I soon discovered how biased and stigmatized the orthodox community was towards mental illness. This made me struggle hard to find someone who would understand what I was experiencing. I finally met someone who also had a mental illness. His name is Charles Katz and is the best husband and partner close to my heart.
When did you begin writing?
I began writing articles about my recovery from mental illness a few years ago in City Voices, a consumer journal for mental health advocacy. Then I decided that those articles that I wrote could me part of my memoir, Surviving Mental Illness.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
I recently published a children’s book that I coauthored with my husband, Charles Katz titled Peter and Lisa: A Mental Illness Story. It is about two adults with mental illness who sought help through medication and support by family and friends. It is a story that children will love and learn that people with mental illness can recover. My other book, which is my first book was published in March 2012. It is titled Surviving Mental Illness, My Story. It is a memoir of my experiences growing up with bipolar disorder and how I achieved recovery.
How did you get the idea for the book?
For my first book, Surviving Mental Illness, I wanted to educate others about mental illness by talking about my recovery and how I overcame it in order to help others with mental illness through their recovery. I knew the title of the book would amaze my readers and let’s face it I am a survivor. For my second book, I wanted it to be a children’s book on mental illness, so I figured if I could write a story so that children can understand in their own language where it is not meant to frighten them, then that makes me proud.
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
I would have to say that Lisa is my favorite character in the book Peter and Lisa because I can relate to her and the problems that she has gone through.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
In both books, Surviving Mental Illness and Peter and Lisa the most challenging part was coming out in the open and being able to write about mental illness that is most often stigmatized in society today.
What is your primary goal as an author?
My goal as an author is educating others about mental illness and to show them that recovery is possible.
What projects are you currently working on?
At the moment, I am busy trying to promote both books and getting more readers interested in it.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Do not worry about whether you will make enough money on the books, it is the exposure that counts.
Linda Naomi Katz born on March 21, 1969, by the name of Linda Naomi Baron, raised as a modern orthodox Jew, where mental illness became a factor throughout her life. It had started with her mother when she was in the fifth grade. Her mother had suffered a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with acute depression. This gave Linda and her family a huge amount of stress. As she was growing up into adulthood, her mother’s illness affected her in ways that she too would become a depressed person. Linda had difficulties making friends, developing positive relationships, and maintaining employment. After she graduated college, she also suffered from a mental illness and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Through the years she was faced with challenges that were difficult to overcome, but worked hard to achieve recovery. As part of her recovery from mental illness, she became active and volunteered for a variety of mental health organizations. Linda became a member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness or formerly called National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) and published articles about her life in New York City Voices, a newspaper for people with mental illness to share their personal recovery stories. Both of these agencies helped fight against stigma and other issues pertaining to mental illness. Soon after, Linda found employment working for agencies that help others with mental illness reach their goals and dreams. Today, Linda is happily married, an author who has published a book titled Surviving Mental Illness, My Story which won a Silver Medal Award by Readers Favorite for best non-fiction/autobiography and came in First Place and won the Life Journeys Award for best memoir/biography from Readers Views. Through this book she describes all of her challenges that she dealt with while having a mental illness and how she found her way back towards establishing a wellness by staying mentally and physically strong.
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