Author: Kelley Clink
Length: 205 pages
Publisher: SheWrites Press
Buy The Book: Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars
Two weeks before his college graduation, Kelley Clink’s younger brother Matt hanged himself. Though he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager and had attempted suicide once before, the news came as a shock—and it sent Kelley into a spiral of guilt and grief.
After Matt’s death, a chasm opened between the brother Kelley had known and the brother she’d buried. She kept telling herself she couldn’t understand why he’d done it—but the truth was, she could. Several years before he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she’d been diagnosed with depression. Several years before he first attempted suicide by overdose, she had attempted suicide by overdose. She’d blazed the trail he’d followed. If he couldn’t make it, what hope was there for her?
A Different Kind of Same traces Kelley’s journey through grief, her investigation into the role her own depression played in her brother’s death, and, ultimately, her path toward acceptance, forgiveness, resilience, and love.
Meet the Schwartz...
From all outward appearances, they seem the epitome of nuclear familial bliss. Complete with mom, dad, two kids, never a raised voice, never a harsh word.
In A Different Kind Of Same, authoress Kelley Clink, tells the true story of a different kind of nuclear family, her family. A family facing the real-life detonation of two silent, but very destructive bombs. Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
Kelley is the first to be affected, showing signs of, and receiving her first treatment for depression in her teens. It is her younger brother Matt however, and his death just two weeks shy of graduation in 2004, after years of battling Bipolar Disorder, that rocks both Kelley and her family to its core. Testing the limits of her sanity, and sending her on a quest to understand, cope, and come to terms with both her and her brother's diagnoses, and what they mean for her life.
Often heartbreakingly emotional, the all access pass that readers are given offers never before seen glimpses of the true nature of mental illness. Her honest narrative sheds a glaring light of truth on topics such as: warning signs, pro and cons of medications, and the cyclical onsets and progressions of both depression and bipolar issues.
This story of love, loss, mental illness, the fight for recovery, and the journey to understanding, is one that will give hope to loved ones, and give voice to those who may suffer from these issues while wrapped in the shroud of misunderstanding and silence.
In Her Own Words: An Interview With Kelley ClinkWTF: If there was one thing that your present self could go back and tell you at the lowest point in your past, what would that be?
Kelley: I would hug her, take her face in my hands, and tell her “Don’t give up. So much beauty is going to come from this. You won’t even believe it.”
WTF: Were there any personal truths not mentioned in the book, that the writing process helped you to face?
Kelley: One of the biggest realizations I had during the writing process was that my self worth wasn’t based on my work. I think not being able to separate yourself from your story is particularly tough for memoirists. When I first started writing—actually, for probably the first 6 years that I was writing—I felt like I was my manuscript. When it sucked, I sucked. If it failed, I would be a failure. This, not surprisingly, made me miserable. A serious illness and several years of infertility shifted my perspective, and I was able to see that I had value regardless of what happened with my writing.
WTF: What advice do you have for loved ones or friends of people suffering from depression or bipolar disorder?
Kelley: This is a great question, and a tough one to answer as every situation is different. But I do think there are a few pieces of advice that apply to most situations.
1. Encourage your loved one to seek and maintain treatment.2. Stay informed. Ask your loved one how she’s feeling and what’s been going on. Do some research on her diagnosis and treatment.3. Validate her experience. It may be tempting to step in and “fix” everything, because, of course, you want your loved one to be well. But she has a right to be exactly where she is, even if it’s a scary and uncomfortable place. One of the most powerful things you can do for her is let her know that there is nothing wrong or bad about what she is going through, and that your love for her doesn’t change based on what she is feeling.4. You know how on airplanes they tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping someone else? This goes for pretty much everything in life. Set whatever boundaries you need to set. Get your own therapist, if you need to. Join a support group. Just make sure you are taking care of yourself before you try to take care of anyone else.
WTF: What has been the most profound feedback that you have received from readers?
Kelley: The staggering amount of people who have said “me too.” There are so many people out there who have lost someone, or love someone who is suffering, or are suffering themselves. I felt so alone when I was writing this book. I don’t feel alone anymore.
WTF: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers?
Kelley: Thank you. Like from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Kelley Clink is a full-time writer and an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, Shambhala Sun, Woman's Day, and The Huffington Post. She is the winner of the 2014 Beacon Street Prize in Nonfiction and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son.
Find Her: Web / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter