It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to Rebecca Lombardo. I met her a few weeks ago and she is one of the strongest women I have had the pleasure to meet. She’s struggled with mental illness for over two decades and her debut release, It’s Not Your Journey, is her story. She doesn’t consider herself a survivor but a warrior and I agree with her 100%. So, grab your favorite beverage and get to know the Rebecca Lombardo. Take it away, Beka:
- What do you consider your best accomplishment?
Honestly, at this point I am extremely proud that I am still here. After more than 23 years struggling with mental illness, and surviving a suicide attempt in 2013, I’ve had to fight every day just to be here.
- Have you always liked to write?
Yes, as long as I can remember. I can recall writing my first story in third grade, and announcing at that point that I was going to be a writer one day.
- Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I read all of my reviews. At first, the bad reviews felt like a personal attack, because the book is about my life. I responded to 1 or 2 bad reviews, and quite honestly was personally attacked by those people. I learned quickly not to respond to the bad ones anymore. My advice would be just to keep in mind that if you don’t have at least a couple of bad reviews, the reader may assume that you’re having your friends and family write a bunch of fake reviews. Bad reviews can help you look more legitimate.
- Is this your first book?
Yes, this is my first book. I have not determined whether I will continue to write books. My first hasn’t been out a year yet, so that is my priority at this time.
- What is your best marketing tip for authors?
My best marketing tip is to be as active as you can on social media. Always make sure your website is up to date, and keep your followers engaged on social media. You never know who will discover your profile next.
- What is your biggest fear?
One of my biggest fears in life is claustrophobia. It’s miserable to have to get things like MRI’s done. It’s so bad that I have trouble breathing in elevators. Even if I’m watching a movie or TV show where there is a tight space, I need to turn it off because I have trouble breathing.
- Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t before?
I have a few, but I would love to visit Ireland or Australia the most, I think. From what I’ve seen, they are both beautiful places to visit.
- Do you have any scars? What are they from?
Unfortunately, yes I have many, many scars. I am recovering from self-injury (self-harm) so I have a lot of scars. There are days when I am embarrassed by them, but mostly I look at them as proof that I made it through the war.
- Do you write naked?
Absolutely, 100% NO. I can’t imagine that this would be beneficial in any way, but to each his own! I would never begrudge someone and their writing process.
- Do you drink? Smoke? What’s your vice?
I drink maybe once or twice a year at gatherings, but I don’t remember the last time I was actually drunk. I do not smoke. My mother died of lung cancer, so that is out of the question. My vice would probably be orange or red pop. I love them both. Thankfully, I’ve made a lot of changes to my lifestyle, so I don’t have them much anymore, but I do love them both.
Title: It’s Not Your Journey
Author: Rebecca Lombardo
In her first published work, Rebecca Lombardo collects her internationally followed blog into the pages of It’s Not Your Journey. This memoir candidly details Rebecca’s two-year long chronicle of her struggles with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, self-injury and recovery from a suicide attempt. Rebecca shares her real and raw feelings on these subjects, as well as addressing other issues that have contributed to her downward spiral and eventual climb out of her own pit of despair. Issues such as the loss of her mother to lung cancer, the death of her brother, abandonment from friends and family members due to her hospitalization, and more. This book is about a personal journey with mental illness. Rebecca is not a professional, rather an advocate that hopes her story can help those going through similar struggles.
JANUARY 1, 2014
Over the course of the many years that I have suffered
from depression, I have met many doctors. For several
years, I could only see a doctor in the county where I
lived. I didn’t have mental health coverage, and they
would provide samples of the medications. It was a
tremendous benefit in one respect because I could be
on as many as seven prescriptions at a time. On the
other hand, the level of care was substandard.
Primarily, I was treated like a number on a file.
However, without fail, whichever doctor’s office I
visited, my session ended with, what about therapy?
Have you had therapy? Would you like a referral? My
answer: yes, I have had therapy and no I do not want a
I have documented my feelings on the medical
profession as a whole, focusing on the treatment of
people with mental health issues. These feelings also
extend to therapists. If you’ve never been to one but
have seen one in a movie or on a TV show, don’t even
start believing that they are anything like that. I
understand 100% that I have to do the work to get
myself feeling better but damn! Shouldn’t they have to
do some work too?
Aside from that, regardless of how silly this may
sound from a treatment aspect, I have not once ever
felt better after a therapy session. I have always been
the type of person who can work these things out on
my own. I don’t need to be paying someone who just
stares at me with a blank expression on their face,
barely listening. Perhaps, I have been to all of the
wrong therapists. I’ll go along with that. For over
twenty years, every therapist I have gone to was
completely useless but it was purely coincidental. Let’s
not forget the one I saw a few months back that fell
asleep while I was talking.
I take my husband to all of my appointments due to
the way Doctors and therapists treat me. That way,
when I walk out thinking to myself OK, did that lady
just fall asleep while I was talking to her? At least I
have someone that was there who is not considered
“mentally ill” that can back me up.
I know that I am only detailing negative experiences
here, but they are my only frame of reference. I
cannot, with a clear conscience say that all doctors
and therapists are incompetent, and you will never
find one that will help you. I know that is simply not
true. Who knows, there is a common denominator
here, and that would be me. Perhaps, without
knowing, I go into these appointments immediately
assuming they will fail. Therefore, it doesn’t matter
what is said or done, failure is the only outcome.
Now you can understand why this book is so
important to me.
Writing is my therapy. I may never
receive an ounce of feedback on anything that I write,
and that is OK because I have been allowed to tell my
story. Without sitting in an office with someone
staring back at me that so obviously couldn’t give a
damn about me.
Even if I do receive negative feedback from someone
regarding my book, I can handle that because just as I
am allowed to express my opinions here, others are
allowed that same luxury.
If I do receive feedback that is especially hurtful or
bothersome, I will cross that path when I come to it. I
am not sure how I will handle it. One thing is for
certain; I am a stronger person for being able to
document my experiences. In some cases, I receive
praise for my writing ability or my courage in the face
of all the pain I have and will endure. I will take it. I
don’t feel like there is a therapist out there that can
offer that to me with any level of sincerity.
My suggestion is, don’t take my words here and refuse
treatment. That is the last thing I want for anyone. I
want everyone to be aware of what can happen and
what is out there. Do your research. Ask for a
consultation to get to know the person first before you
go about telling them your life story. It is true, you
may have to pay for that appointment. Consider it
paying for the peace of mind in knowing that this
person is either a perfect fit or so far out of left field
you will never be heard. Take someone with you.
Someone you trust that knows at least part of the
details of your situation, so that should you begin to
forget details that person can help you fill in the
blanks. Most of all, ask questions. Find out what a
session will consist of, and how long they will last.
You can do this.
Maybe someday I can do it too. I will
know when I am ready, as will you. You will know
when you have found the right professional to guide
you as well. Remember, even if you feel like this
person is a good fit, should their methods or the way
they behave start to make you uncomfortable, do not
go back. You are there to get better, and above all else,
you should feel safe in that environment.
I’m 43 years old and I’ve been happily married to my best friend for 15 years. I’ve known that I wanted to be an author since I was very young. I grew up in Michigan with my amazing parents, and 5 older siblings. My husband and I don’t have children, but we do have 5 cats that we adore. They are all rescues. I feel very strongly about being an advocate for animals. I enjoy watching movies, sports, and all sorts of television shows. I love to read when I can find the time, and I fancy myself an amateur photographer. I write a blog detailing the struggles I’ve endured in my life due to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I have finally achieved my dream of writing a book. It’s Not Your Journey is based on my blog of the same title.
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