Hi, I’m August Blair, the blogger behind Writers With Mental Illness.
I live with a psychiatric brain disorder called schizoaffective disorder. It is characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia and a mood disorder. Because of my illness, I have unique struggles and strengths. I use writing to make sense of both my illness and life itself. Writing is part of my identity. My illness has become a part of who I am, as well. Despite not wanting to be labeled, my diagnosis helps me understand my symptoms and cope with them. It has helped me meet other people who understand me.
Finding a community of people who understand my diagnosis and my love for writing has been a huge blessing, and I wanted to share that blessing. I created a blog and book service for those of us who live with mental illness, neurodivergence, or disability and love to write.
You might be wondering: why the secrecy? Why the Bitmoji? When I started this blog in 2016, I refused to use a pseudonym or hide my identity. I published an essay about living with a very stigmatized illness under my real name because it was important to me that the people who knew me would be able to understand what a very stigmatized and misunderstood illness looks in real life.
Life is tricky, though, isn’t it? People who previously didn’t know about my diagnosis began to treat me differently. It felt like no one saw me anymore. They only saw my illness. Because of stigmatizing movies like Split and Psycho, they already had their own preconceived notions about what it meant to have this illness. My personal life, my career, and my mental health were affected.
The truth is that it’s hard enough living with a very misunderstood illness. I should not have to live with a disability and be expected to explain it on demand to every person who is curious, frightened, or otherwise misinformed. My safety and wellbeing come first, so I use a (semi)pseudonym now. I hope you can understand that.
That being said, I am a real person! You can find my writing online and print. I love reading, (writing!), and my two pet rats. Writers With Mental Illness is my passion project. I pay guest bloggers out of pocket as a disabled student. I do it because I love it, but I also need to keep the website afloat. This includes the costs associated with web hosting, the security certificate, the countless hours I spend writing up blog posts, reading and reviewing books by authors with mental illness, discussing the books and running the book club and subscription service, sending out the newsletters and social media posts, updating old blog posts. Having a blog is an endless task of upkeep, new content, upkeep, new content. I say this not because I don’t enjoy it, but because I absolutely do and it would mean the world to me if you would consider helping keep this dream alive by supporting the blog and book service on Patreon.