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Please, Allow Me to Introduce Myself

     As some of you may know by now, the last several years of my life have been spent working through my first novel. During the project I’ve spent a considerable amount of time lost deep in my imagination, traveling down a path that has led me near its completion.  While I’ve had a tremendous number of friends reach out with an interest in reading the pages of the book, it’s been very hard for me to let it go and allow it to find its way into the wild.
     You see, this book wasn’t written because I sat behind a computer and keyed out words onto a page, nor was it a practice of putting ink on paper. Instead, this book was truly bled from my heart. What was originally meant as a way to spur conversation about a topic that’s very near and dear to me became a coping mechanism. What I produced ended up being my own personal brand of therapy.
     That’s why this has been so difficult for me to let you read. These pages don’t just contain an idea manifested into story, but it contains the full brunt of my soul. It’s a very scary thought to open yourself up in such a way, not only to people you don’t know but to those who’ve known you your whole life. I’ve always wondered if there would be a time when I’d feel comfortable coming out of hiding and admitting to who and what I am. I’ve realized during this process that no such date will ever exist. Instead, I must take the plunge and hope that my projects will do exactly what they’re meant to–begin a conversation. That conversation begins here. It begins today. So, let me take this time to reintroduce myself to you.
     Hi. I’m Jeff Renoe and I suffer from bi-polar disorder.
It’s amazing how such a small phrase can frighten us so much. As I sit here and write these words it’s as if an elephant is sitting on my chest. Since I was officially diagnosed in 2008, I’ve carried around a fear of my secret reaching the ears of others. How would it affect my present? How would it affect my future? How would it affect those around me? Even as I continue to open myself up before you, I cannot know the answers. I do have hopes for what they may be.
     The whole purpose behind the book, and this subsequent podcast project, is to start a dialogue about a topic that has scared so many people like myself into hiding. I know there are a few of you out there who have opened up and bared your souls for all to see. I apologize it’s taken so long for me to stand beside to help make people understand that suffering from an illness like this doesn’t make me or you crazy. It just makes us different. Being different doesn’t make us wrong.
     Should you decide to take the time to listen to our words, and hopefully one day read the pages of my novel, I hope they allow you to find acceptance and an understanding within yourself, whether you suffer from bi-polar, clinical depression, social anxiety, or any other number of behavioral health disorders that exist in today’s society. If you suffer from none of the above, then I hope you find enlightenment and understanding as to what a loved one may be constantly dealing with on a yearly, monthly, daily, or even an hour by hour, minute by minute basis. Should you make the decision that this book isn’t for you, I hope that the conversation we start shows you the truth. No matter how alone you may feel or how bad things may be there is always someone out there who is dealing with a similar pain. Remember, as lost as you may sometimes feel, you are never alone.
     Thanks, and I hope you’ll enjoy the Our Fractured Minds podcast.
Are you suffering from depression and/or experiencing thoughts of hopelessness or suicide? We aren’t professionals. We’re just people sharing our own experiences, but everyone manages themselves differently. Don’t be afraid to seek out help even if you don’t think you need it. There are a tremendous number of resources available online just like this to find the help you need. Remember, asking for help isn’t a sign that you’re too weak to handle this on your own, but the first step toward finding a renewed sense of one’s self.
  

2 comments

  1. Judi says:

    Kudos Jeff. Thanks for speaking out on this important topic.

    1. Jeff Renoe says:

      Thanks Judi – It’s scary, but hopefully if enough of us stand up and start to talk about our experiences then it won’t have to be scary anymore.

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