Name: Kathleen Anderson Myre
Age: 44 years old
Where are you from: I am originally from Kearny, NJ where I lived with my parents and three siblings. For the past 15 years I have lived in Nutley, NJ with my husband, Brian, and our children, Jamie (18) and Jason (16).
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
May of 1996 I graduated from William Paterson University with a B.A. in English Literature and Elementary Education. A month later, on June 15th, I married my husband, Brian, and moved to Florida. I briefly work in a Florida pre-school before my daughter, Jamie, was born in September of 1997.
We moved back to New Jersey in August of 1998 to be closer to our family members. My son, Jason, was born in May of 1999 and sixteen months later we purchased our home in Nutley. Over the years we have acquired a small zoo of rescue animals; two black labs and three cats, that have made our life complete.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am looking forward to 2016 and the release of Josh Rivedal’s new book, The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating A New You on January 13th. I am one of the 50 co-authors and I am grateful Josh presented me with an opportunity to share my story about anxiety and depression.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was in middle school. My aunt, Elizabeth Anderson, is a poet and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I began writing poems to express feelings and emotions I struggled to verbally convey.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began to consider myself a writer after an article I wrote, Acceptance: One Mother’s Journey, was published in North Jersey Pride’s magazine in June of 2014. My daughter had come out to me as bi-sexual four years prior to that date and I was asked to share my experience to provide guidance to parents who had recently learned about their child’s sexuality.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Throughout my life I have always liked to help others in any way I can. When Josh offered me the opportunity to write for The i’Mpossible Project, I knew I needed to share my story, Kat’s Second Lease on Life.
I want readers to know that it is okay to ask for help if they are struggling in their own life. I used to be an independent person and always wanted to do things my own way; all by myself. I thought I could muscle my way through whatever was happening to me mentally. It wasn’t until I could no longer function or mask my pain that I finally admitted that I could not battle depression and anxiety without the support of my family. If my story motivates readers to open up to a friend or seek professional assistance sooner than I did, it will make everything I went through worthwhile.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title, Kat’s Second Lease on Life, is a play of words based on a nickname my friends and my family members call me. After seeing Josh Rivedal’s show, Kicking My Blue Jeans in the Butt, and reading his memoir, The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitzvah, I was inspired to make some changes in my life and to start sharing my own story. I was 41 years old at the time and believed I had reached the highest level of being cured in my mental health journey. A cat is said to have nine lives. This Kat began her second life the day she learned to face her fears and started believing in herself again.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The entire book is realistic. It is a compilation of fifty authors with one common goal: to share a personal story of inspiration or event in life where they overcame tremendous odds and what the reader can take away from it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My story, Kat’s Second Lease on Life, is about my life before and after I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was not aware of the warning signs that could have led me to seek help sooner. I was losing weight without trying, I had a toxic inner dialogue constantly telling me I was useless, and a ceaseless migraine that caused me to isolate myself from family and friends.
I have been living with depression and anxiety for eleven years now. For the first eight years it was a secret I shared with those closest to me. I never thought about sharing my story until I saw Josh perform his one-man-show. It was in that moment I knew my life had been changed forever and the days of keeping secrets were over.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
The books that have influenced my life the most are biographies. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes and it is still one of my greatest resources.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Right now I am reading my proof copy of The i’Mpossible Project: Reengaging With Life, Creating A New You. I have become friends with many of the co-authors in the book and reading their stories motivates me to be present in their lives and offer assistance or support whenever I can.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?
The mental health community as a whole has supported me through the highs and the lows of living life with a mental illness. There are three people who stand out as the most influential in my recovery process.
First is my therapist, who worked with me and helped me develop realistic responses to life’s experiences. Second is my psychiatrist, who comforted me when an attempt to wean me off my medication was unsuccessful. He helped me to understand the science behind mental illness and that having a chemical imbalance did not mean I was a failure. Third is Josh Rivedal, who showed me how to live life openly and inspired me to step out of the mental health closet and share my story.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I would not change anything I wrote in the book. It was challenging to write, but I am proud of my story.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I volunteer at organizations that address mental health and suicide prevention. My life’s purpose is to guide people to the proper resources that can assist them and to provide them with hope for the future.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part for me was pushing through the inner dialogue in my heard. The “you suck” voice that kept telling me my story would never be good enough. I learned ignoring the voice would help me conquer my fears and weaken its power over me.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite TV shows are Gotham and Grimm. The plots are well written and are harder to predict than other shows I watch with my husband.
When I choose a movie, it is usually a comedy. Sometimes I can feel myself getting into a funk or a depressive state and begin to focus on self-care which includes humor.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
My favorite foods are seafood and chicken parmesan. My favorite colors are royal blue and hunter green.
I like any type of music written by Bon Jovi. It’s My Life is my favorite song because I use it to remind myself the only person in control of my life is me.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I do not have a blog or website at this time. Currently I am a co-administrator for a Facebook page, Destigmatize Suicide. It is important for people to know they are not alone in their mental health journey. Our page is meant to provide inspiration and hope while also recommending resources for people who need more help than we can provide.