NaNoWriMo 2017 for Rochdale and District Mind


MIND_Rochdale-and-District_Stack-1504016273-900x600 nano_feature


As November closely approaches, we are also getting geared up to dive in to the madness that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a major annual event which sees published author’s and aspiring writers amongst us preparing to face the challenge of undertaking 50,000 words during the course of November.

That’s averaging 1,667 words per day, and provides 100% commitment from the participant to meet that target.

To give you a vague idea of the amount of work 50k is, that’s pretty much just over the word count of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby… (47,097!)

This year, I have geared myself up for my first ever NaNoWriMo challenge, and took the sensible advice to start prepping early. To say I started three months ago, it certainly has come around quickly!

Whilst taking this challenge, I also thought it a great opportunity to do some fundraising for a charity that is very close to my heart.

Rochdale and District Mind is a local mental health and wellbeing organisation who primarily relay on donations and sponsorships to keep the Charity afloat. The volunteers work tirelessly to support and assist in recovery for those in need – myself being one of those seeking help when I turned 18.

Mind was the first services that I braved to access on my own. At the time, I was severely struggling with depression, cripplingly low self esteem, bouts of mania, self-harm and addiction after suffering in silence from my early teens. This pathway ultimately lead me on the right pathway to get my diagnosis of Bipolar disorder – from which I received the treatment I needed to get back on my feet, go back to university and raise my beautiful young daughter.

As of many people who I have to be thankful for, the kindness and the efforts of the service workers at Rochdale Mind saved my life.

As much as I feel I can’t give enough back, this is my way of saying thank you. For my NaNoWriMo project 2017, I will be undertaking my first fiction project, a novel, which focusses on the realities of mental health.

Please help support Rochdale and District Mind (and also encourage me in my word count!) by visiting my just giving page below and giving a small donation.




I’d also love to hear from those who are taking part with NaNo this year!


Thank you!


To find more about the incredible services and support that Rochdale Mind do please visit their website:


Calling for Mental Health Poetry submissions!


The Manic Years is looking to feature poetry with themes around Mental Health. To contribute, please email to submit your poetry, along with your name and a link to your own writing if applicable.

Please submit your own individual works only.

Want to write for the blog? We need your stories!

For the past few months people have been submitting in their experiences of mental health from a wide range of disorders and issues in the Sharing Stories series… stories are still needed!

Do you have a mental health/recovery story of your own that you’d like to reach out and share to others? Whether it be overcoming depression to addiction to eating disorders… no matter what your area, there will be a chance that your experience will touch someone elses life.

Send your story with your name and location to and i’d be happy to publish on The Manic Years.

Sharing saves lives.

“Sharing Stories” – Life after Death, by Sommer Phlipot.



“There is a song by The Lumineers. It’s called Deadsea. There is a verse that really spoke to me at a time where I was at a significant crossroads;


“Yes, there are times we live for somebody else Your father died and you decided to live It for yourself you felt, you just felt it was time And I’m glad, cause you with cats, that’s just not right.”


My Father died and I had decided to live my life for myself. That’s exactly what I did. And boy did that open the mother of all cans of worms. I had sloppy execution and made some decent mistakes. But in the end it worked out for the better. I found my true self. I found happiness.

Up until then I had lived a life of people pleasing. I feared upsetting people through my words or actions so I carefully walked the line. I settled and accepted less of myself for the sake of others. I sacrificed my mental health out of fear of being judged as weak and incapable. I feared acknowledging my demons for they may consume me. Lead me into a room of darkness. Never to return. Loosing everything. More than once I was willing to trade my life for peace.

I bottled everything up. Placed the jars neatly on a shelf. Bottle after bottle. Jar after jar. Each labeled with some personal cryptic Dewey Decimal system. All organized and precariously stacked. I had done this since I was an elementary aged child. Once in a while a jar would slip off. Shattering into a million pieces. I’d be distraught in my attempt to hurriedly sweep it under the preverbal rug. Shards rising from the fibers.

I was almost 30 when my Father died. After he left, the entire storage system fell apart. The jars started falling off the shelf in rapid fire pace. I kept trying to catch them. It was so overwhelming. I slowly began to implode. I couldn’t keep the sadness hidden. I couldn’t ‘people please’ anymore. I was cloaked in apathy and I didn’t care what a single person thought of me. Not one.

I cried. I let it out. And, to my disappointment, it fell onto blank stares. No support. Nothing. So I gave up. I lost all inhibition. I continued not to care. I lost a dramatic amount of weight which was again met with blank stares. So I started over. I decided to live my life for myself. And I did. I walked away.

Three years after my Dad died I asked for help. For myself. It was the scariest moment of my life. I had never felt so vulnerable and empowered. I showed up at the hospital and they gave me a counselor. She put me in a 12 week DBT program then she and I began to meet weekly. I cried a lot. Accepted that medication would complement my treatment plan. I met with additional psychologist who diagnosed me with depression, anxiety and PTSD. Hearing the diagnosis was difficult. I felt labeled and damaged. But I continued with my weekly sessions. They transitioned to bi-weekly and then monthly over time. At some point my counselor referred me to an induvial who specialized in anxiety. He sealed the deal. I met with him weekly, then bi-weekly, monthly then bi-monthly. I felt brave. I felt in control of what can’t be controlled. I had controlled the power to accept it. I accepted my ever present anxiety, learned to harness it at times and let it run its course during other times. I’ve accepted that I’m susceptible to depression. And that allowing the depressed moods to run their course is much healthier than fighting it, pushing it away, placing it in a jar.

It’s such a sad and heavy burden to feel alone while surrounded by people. It’s still here at times. It can be overwhelming. The difference is I’m not adding to the damage that’s been done. I’m able to cope with most curveballs thrown my way. Some take longer to catch than others. I’m able to talk about it. Own it. But the old wounds are there. They seep sadness into my days. I’ve learned that I just have to allow it and then mindfully redirect my thoughts back to the present. Because the present is where life is lived.”

-By Sommer Phlipot.

You can follow Sommer’s personal journey with mental health and self-improvement on her blog here at The Green Glasses.


Themanicyears is still looking for people to share their stories! If you have an experience with Mental Health you would like to share on here, please do not hesitate to drop me an email on, and get your story published on our “Sharing Stories” feature. – M.


“Sharing Stories” – From Sexual abuse to Care homes; On the road to recovery, By Chloe Curry.

sharing stories chloe


“So my life’s been painful from the start. I’ve been through so much trauma, upset, hurt and I’ve been let down so many times. My life started to change at the age of 7; my Mam was diagnosed with acute adenoid carcinoma (cancer). As if dealing with this wasn’t enough this was when my Step Dad starting sexually abusing me. There had always been domestic violence in the household from a very young age; my Mam was constantly being hurt, emotionally, physically & psychologically. After radiotherapy and chemotherapy, losing her hair and her confidence my mam pulled through and was given the all clear and has been clear for 10 years now!

At the age of 12 I started going missing from home and refusing to stay in contact with anyone, I was constantly getting into trouble at school and with the police. In 2012 I ended up involved in child sexual exploitation; I was groomed and sexually assaulted on many occasions.

Later that year I was placed into local authority care after several suicide attempts/self-harm and substance misuse. I was moved to several different placements and the sexual exploitation still continued. I was placed in a secure children’s home under welfare grounds, I continued to misbehave and was continuously restrained.

During this 8 month period I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, conduct disorder, emotional disorder due to trauma, PTSD and a disorganised attachment.

On leaving the secure home, I went back into local authority care for several months until again I was placed back into a secure unit after putting myself at so much risk. This time round I was only there for a month period but refused to engage with all services available.

Upon leaving the secure unit for the second time, I continued to put myself at risk and again to be readmitted, however this time around I stayed there for 8 months and was supported so much better; I started to finally engage with services that were available. At one point I was even able to tell someone about my childhood experiences with my Step Dad and the sexual abuse which I’d never been able to talk about before. The support I got was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t thank this place enough for helping me speak out and be confident in fighting for what I deserve; and that is justice.

At 17 when I’d left the secure unit again I was preparing to be independent; I moved to a semi -independent placement and continued to misuse cannabis. I was fine for the first couple of months to follow but then started running away again.

I was then moved closer to my family and still continued to misuse cannabis to forget about things. I attended court to give evidence against the men who had sexually exploited me. It was the hardest thing I have ever done but afterwards I was so pleased that I’d done it and could finally start moving forward with my life. Returning to secure for the fourth time, although this time round there was no restraints, no misbehaving and an amazing team of support staff.

I am currently close to my 18th birthday and in semi independence but am just about managing to live my life with a smile, although I’ve not dealt with everything I am continuing to work with professionals to get the help and support I need. Life’s been difficult and I constantly worry about everything and anything but I’ll never forget what I was taught in secure and that was this; every time I start worrying ask myself some questions –


‘What is the point in worrying?’

‘Will worrying solve anything?’

‘Is it making me feel any better?’


Soon enough I realised that there’s no point in worrying, although it hasn’t stopped me completely it has helped me to not worry as much.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has tried their best to help me throughout the years and although at the time I was in such a bad place, I still took in your advice and continue to use it in my day-to-day life.”

-By Chloe Curry.


Huge thank you to Chloe for opening up and sharing her story ❤


Themanicyears is still looking for people to share their stories! If you have an experience with Mental Health you would like to share on here, please do not hesitate to drop me an email on, and get your story published on our “Sharing Stories” feature.– M.