Meet the Blogger: Introducing Mackenzie
First of all, tell me a little about yourself.
Mackenzie Littledale is a pen name. I live in South Florida with my cat, Milo. My family is from Barbados, although I was born in the States. I’ve been writing for a very long time, but only since September 2017 did I make a real effort to writing for anyone besides myself.
“This Darkness is Mine: The Dark Gift of Bipolar” is my first novel, and it’s based on a true story about Michelle Delphinia who has reasonably good coping skills but they can’t prepare her for the death of her father and a string of misfortunes that trigger bipolar.
What is your connection to the blogging and/or mental health community?
I started mackenzielittledalewrites.blogspot.com in July of 2018 in hopes of building a reading audience for the eventual launch of “This Darkness is Mine”. People tell me it’s an awesome blog, but I haven’t gotten the following I’d hope for. I joined Twitter the same time. I found the mental health community – like @WeTalkMH, and @MHChat – and connected around bipolar with @bipolarbattle. Plus, I got connected to the writing community and a few ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses. Twitter has been a life saver!
What is the hardest part about having a successful blog?
I don’t know if my blog is successful. I’ve been told many times that there are more robust platforms like wordpress, and I should migrate there. It takes more than great content. The platform itself has to encourage engagement and faciliate interactivity. It doesn’t help that now the blogosphere is pretty much saturated. People can only read so many blogs in their spare time.
What is the biggest challenge the mental heath community faces?
The biggest challenge remains stigma, and patients’ reluctance or inability to stick with their medication schedule and treatment plans. When mental illness is chronic and the symptoms make us seem “weird” unpredictable, dangerous or contagious, society wants us to disappear because we make them profoundly uncomfortable. Since it’s the patient’s mind itself that can’t be trusted, a patient doesn’t even know the difference between functioning optimally and malfunctioning. Going off medications is too easy a trap to fall into. It takes a clarified voice (hopefully my book) to bring empathy and competence from adequate resources to patients and their caregivers.
What are 5 things many people do not know about you?
I’ve revealed plenty about myself on Twitter, except my real name and occupation.
What is your favorite book and why?
For self help, I love Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” because it makes it so simple to create a creed for life, how to treat oneself and how to treat others.
For entertainment, I love Ken Follette’s “Pillars of the Earth” because of the immersive experience in his writing.
What do you do when you are having a really hard day to lift your spirits?
Great question! I may blog or journal about it so I can gain clarity on how I’m feeling and what to do about it. For example, the anniversary of 9/11 was a very challenging day, and I had to accept I wouldn’t rise above it, so I wrote a piece about my memories of that day. I also turn to the writing community on Twitter, listen to my favorite music, and light scented candles. I’ve made friends on Twitter and either DM them, text them or call them to lift my spirits.
What makes a person brave?
If a person gets some handholding and guidance until pushing beyond their comfort zone isn’t so scary anymore, they can develop bravery to take on life’s unknowns and make them known. It was pretty scary to come forward under the banner of “Bipolar”. There are many truths and misconceptions about the condition, not to mention disquieting jokes about what Bipolar actually is and isn’t.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself and why?
Philosophical. For me, everything starts with coming down to “why”, before I move on to “what” does that mean for me and “how” do I make it happen.
What is your biggest flaw?
I can be stubborn, and sometimes too passive.
What is your greatest strength?
I’m eternally resilient and curious.
What is your best childhood memory?
My mom taking me to the library and going home with a stack of storybooks. She’d read to me at bedtime and we’d go right back to the library for more. That and visits to NYC and indulging in cherry Italian ices in summertime.
Where do you envision your blog in 5 years?
Either nonexistent or on a more robust platform like wordpress. I’d like to use the blog to draw attention to living a fulfilling life with bipolar, and my writing endeavors.
Where do you see the mental health community in 5 years?
I see the community with a louder and more influential voice in federal and state governments. We can’t be society’s scapegoat for all things violent, and we don’t need to be the laughingstock of the world. Just like A Beautiful Mind showed us, we can live to our full potential with a mental illness and that potential can be very influential.
Who do you follow to stay updated on all things blogging and/or mental health? Share their links below!
Blogging – http://kindness-compassion-and-coaching.com
Mental Health – We Talk Mental Health youtu.be/GpnrbPqdOK0
About the Author
Mackenzie Littledale’s first published article appeared in the January 2019 issue of Conscious Life Journal, which focuses on mindfulness practices. Her microfiction is included in the VSS365 Anthology, which released in paperback on September 23, 2019. The AskWin Podcast interviewed her regarding her novel manuscript for This Darkness is Mine in September. In November 2019, she was selected as a PitchWars mentee. Her mentor is Gia deCadenet. This Darkness is Mine will be her first novel.
Mackenzie blogs about her lack of commitment going vegan, philosophy, new restaurants, random thoughts, mental health, her writing process, snippets from her manuscript, and poetry.
She lives in South Florida with her cat. Both love salmon and avoid the beach.