Interview with Rebecca Lombardo + A Chapter from It’s Not Your Journey

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I’m thrilled to welcome Rebecca Lombardo, author of It’s Not Your Journey, to The Sunny Shadow. Rebecca is an author, mental health advocate, and survivor. Her debut memoir, It’s Not Your Journey, was published on August 23, 2015 by PubKick.

In her book, Rebecca gives us an unfiltered look at her daily battle with bipolar disorder, along with other co-occurring illnesses. In reading It’s Not Your Journey, I gained a deeper understanding of my own disorder. Rebecca somehow conveys the intricacies of bipolar disorder in such a way that everyone can understand. I suggest it to loved ones of those suffering from bipolar disorder as well. In fact, I had my husband read a couple of chapters too {23 & 24}.

Rebecca considers herself not only a “Survivor” but a “Warrior.” I suspect this is, in part, due to the tremendous strength that’s allowed her to prevail despite the many losses and obstacles in her life. It’s Not Your Journey is authentic, inspiring, and hope-filled. I admire the fact that she tries to find the silver-lining in every situation.

Today, Rebecca lives in Michigan with her supportive husband of 14 years, Joe, and their five cats that they rescued. Rebecca enjoys writing, decorating and photography.

And, lucky us! Rebecca has generously agreed to answer a few interview questions and share a chapter of her book with us!

Interview with Rebecca Lombardo

Interview with Rebecca Lombardo, It's Not Your Journey

  • What inspired you to write this memoir and what did you learn from the experience?

Originally, I didn’t know that what I was writing would ever become a memoir. It started as a way to clear my head and get past some issues. Once I made my blog public, I was inspired to keep going by the people who came forward to tell me that my words were helping them.

  • Is there a specific message carried throughout your book that you want your readers to grasp?

I feel like there’s a message with every chapter. However, the most important one for me is that we are not all on the same path. Our paths may cross, and we may have similarities, like depression. The important thing is to try to respect everyone’s journey. I may not deal with a situation the same way you would, but I am entitled to make my choices, as are you. All I ask is that you show anyone that you know that is suffering courage and respect. We’re not asking you to fix us, we’re just asking that you understand our journey.

  • What coping tools help you most when in the midst of depression, mania, and/or anxiety?

Rebecca Lombardo & her supportive husband, JoeCoping skills are hard for me, because if I find one that works, chances are pretty good that it might not work next week. So, I’m always searching for something new. Obviously, writing can do wonders for me. I highly recommend it. Even if it’s just a bunch of words on a page that don’t make up a paragraph, you’ve given your feelings a voice. I love photography, my pets, movies, and playing really loud music. Lately, I’ve discovered adult coloring books. Lord I wish I had started doing that sooner! It does an amazing amount of good, especially if you’re feeling anxious. Most of all, I communicate with my husband. He helps me work through my feelings so that I can find the cause of the problem. Or sometimes, he’s just a shoulder to cry on. Either way, it helps tremendously.

  • What’s your favorite quote or saying? Or do you have a motto?

I have a LOT of quotes that I used daily from T.V. or movies. Too many to list here, but my favorite motto is “Rise Above.” It says so very much with so few words.

  • Are you planning another book? Can you give us any hints?

At this point, I am not planning another book, however I wasn’t really planning this one either! So, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. As rewarding as this has been, it has also been exhausting, and for the time being, I’m taking a break.

It’s Not Your Journey, by Rebecca Lombardo

Chapter 23: The Darkness

It's Not Your Journey by Rebecca Lombardo

March 6, 2014,

Depression is a very deceptive disease. You could be having the time of your life on Tuesday, but come Wednesday morning, “the darkness” comes over you. Whom do you tell? What do you do? You were the life of the party last night, who is going to believe you that there is anything wrong with you today? Two weeks ago I began to experience “the darkness.” I have come to a point in my life where I can actually feel my mood changing. It’s just a certain feeling that comes over me, and I think to myself, “Here it comes. I’m about to crash.” First thing I do is warn my husband. He needs to know that any mood swings or possibly confusing behavior is not due to something he has done.

So, it’s here. What’s next? Get out of bed? No. Take a shower? No. Get something done? No. Feel guilty about every single wrong thing you have ever done in your life? Check. Realize the house needs to be cleaned, and the dishes need to be done, so you are worthless? Check. The guilt hovers over me and takes control of my thoughts. I try very hard to tell myself that until this passes, the “to do” lists will have to be much smaller. Today, I will somehow take a shower. I have all day, right?

It’s too much; I can’t do that today. I just need to stay in this bed right now. I promise, I’ll do it tomorrow. I am bargaining with my guilt. As a person who has gone through this for more than twenty years, I find it more and more difficult to reach out and say, today is a bad day, please help. I ought to be a pro, but I find that people begin to develop their own opinions and stereotypes as to why I am acting this way. “She is so selfish.” “She is just trying to get attention.” Or my favorite, “She’s just lazy.” Yes, please direct all of your attention this way. Let’s tell everyone I haven’t left the house in weeks, and I can barely take a shower every four days. That’s not humiliating at all.

We’ve all been taught coping mechanisms for situations such as this, but do they actually work? In my experience, there is a 50/50 shot that the coping mechanisms that we’ve been taught will help. I’ve heard it all before, but people just need to understand that there will be days in a depressed person’s life that they cannot just snap out of it, or lighten up.

When the darkness does find its way into your life, brace yourself for what is to come, but try something new. Try to be optimistic. Don’t obsess over how bad you are feeling. Whatever you do, don’t try to make yourself an eight page to do list hoping that accomplishing it will make you feel better.

Just one task. That is all. As your mood starts to lift, make it two, and so on. Take a moment to stop and consider. Live in the moment and tell yourself, out loud if you have to, “I feel OK right now” or “I am so sad.” These feelings are OK for you to experience.

If I leave you with nothing else this time around, let me leave you with this. It’s going to be OK. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, or what anyone has to say about you. It will be OK. One step at a time.

Rebecca Lombardo - Author | Mental Health Advocate | SurvivorREBECCA LOMBARDO ↓


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    1. Thank you so much Joe! I’m so glad that you are both pleased with it. I enjoyed working on it, though it was difficult to pick just one chapter. I relate to the entire book. Rebecca is awesome. I’m thankful that she agreed to share on my blog.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment! Take care,

    1. Thanks Rebecca. And thank YOU so much for sharing so much of yourself here with me and The Sunny Shadow readers. Your book is so good, it hit me so personally. I appreciate you writing it. And I’m sure many others do as well. I hope it was a cathartic process. Again thank you! And you’re welcome back here anytime you want =-)

      Take care,

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