Meet DebS, author of the upcoming Memoir “The Day I didn’t Kill Myself.”
After finishing writing her book she wondered – what next?
A member of the Writing the Book Inside You Facebook Group, Debs met with Caryl to get some input on her next best steps.
LISTEN (OR WATCH) THE FULL PODCAST EPISODE HERE:
Caryl gives clarity on her book title, sub-title and the opening paragraphs which Caryl advised should “hook the reader” from the get-go.
Debs says how she originally titled her book “How Words Can Change your Life” or “How words Can Heal your Life”. The book she says is “essentially my memoir about how I became depressed following a divorce, and then having suicidal thoughts. And obviously, I didn’t follow up on that otherwise, I wouldn’t be here today.”
It was initially all about the words, the words that jumped into her head, then it was about words that people had said to her.
“I thought the title seemed to make sense, celebrating that there is such a thing as life after divorce, there is such a thing as life after depression, there is such a thing as life after having suicidal thoughts,” she says.
One day she heard the poem “The Morning after I Killed myself”. It was written from the point of view of somebody wishing that they hadn’t, but it was too late.
In this interview, she shares the story of how this led to her final title “The Day I didn’t kill myself.”
“But I didn’t have a very good subtitle,” she says.
That’s where Caryl Westmore gave her key ideas which made her subtitle enticing for readers.
You will also hear how the opening of the book got a new hook.
Realizing she was near-suicidal 20 years ago sent Debs on a healing journey which she shares in this interview. It is also woven into the book (with many of the therapies that helped her including Emotional Freedom Techniques. She hopes that she can help others who are on the brink of despair and depression to realize there IS life after divorce and deep depression.
Debs also shares how much of her adult depression and feelings of being unloved originated in her early childhood when her Mum, suffering from post-natal depression and mental health issues left home with her brother – leaving her feeling unlovable and abandoned.
A key part of her healing journey was to rescue and re-parent her Younger Self and to talk over the past with her mother.
Writing is a cathartic journey says Debs who recommends it to anyone who is thinking of writing a transformational memoir.
This episode is sponsored by the book “You Can Break-Free Fast EFT Tapping” by Caryl Westmore and the companion book “Power Boost the Law of Attraction with Matrix Reimprinting using EFT Tapping”
WRITE THE BOOK INSIDE YOU: PODCAST EPISODE 14
Caryl Westmore 0:00
It’s my pleasure today to introduce you to DebS , who’s completed her book, and was having a chat with me in our Writing the Book Inside You Facebook Group; we met, and she is now going to tell us some of the changes she’s making, as she tweaks the final process of her book. Welcome, Deb. How long have you been working on your book?
I would say probably one and a half to two years in total. But that’s not been constant working on it, it’s been put aside quite a lot. Which has actually been a really good process. Because I’m what I found is once I’ve put it aside and left it for a while, and then go through and read it again, it’s like coming back at it with fresh eyes. So even though I really would have loved to have had it out before now, obviously, it’s been a very organic process.
Caryl Westmore 0:56
Yeah, well, I mean, I think that people don’t realize that (it’s a process). Some just sit down and write the book in a few weeks. And you know, I can help people with that. But other times, like yours – it’s more a MEMOIR, isn’t it? So that is not something you can always just churn out, you know, like a self-help book. So tell us about your book, and then we’ll talk about titles – unless you’ve already decided on the title since we spoke?
Well, I have added a brilliant subtitle since we spoke earlier.
Caryl Westmore 1:29
Okay, so just to put this in context, we were chatting about your book earlier today. I knew nothing about it. And I made two suggestions a few hours ago, and we’ve jumped back on to see how that helped you refocus. Okay, so tell the listeners how that happened.
The book initially was called “How Words can Change your Life” or “How words can Heal your Life”. It had 2 working titles, and it’s essentially my memoir about how I became depressed following a divorce, and then have a suicidal thought. And obviously, I didn’t follow up on that otherwise, I wouldn’t be here today. It was initially all about the words, the words that jumped into my head, then it was about words that people had said to me. So that title seemed to make sense, really, it’s all about celebrating that there is such a thing as life after divorce, there is such a thing as life after depression, there is such a thing as life after having suicidal thoughts. And I was at a Poems and Pints evening (must have been before lockdown – so a while ago), and a lady read out a poem by a poet, American poet called Maggie Royer, and she also read a story she’d written, which was about her friend’s suicide. And the poem was called “The morning after I killed myself”. And it was written from the point of view of somebody wishing that they hadn’t, but it was too late. And it just struck an arrow straight into my heart. And the following morning, I had a poem called “The day I didn’t kill myself” appear, and I say appear because that’s how my poems come. They just seem to come through me, not from me. And as a result of that poem, which was really, it was a complete celebration. It was a gratitude poem about all the things that I have done, and that I wouldn’t have done if I had have driven off off the mountains that day. So that then gave me a much stronger idea for the title, which is “The day I didn’t kill myself,” so after the poem.
But I didn’t have a very good subtitle, the subtitle was very wishy-washy. It was an even as I’m gonna say it I know it was wishy-washy, because when I said it’s like, a journey through divorce, depression, and so even saying, it doesn’t sound great, yeah, we spoke earlier. And you suggested that we put the word sort of empowering in there, because this is what the book is all about. It’s about giving people hope. It’s about empowering them because it includes the self-help that I’ve come across myself, that’s helped me through the process, and it’s all about celebrating as well. So you really helped me cement that sort of thought, and I’ve come up with the subtitle: “Empowering you to celebrate life after divorce, depression and suicidal thoughts.” Whether that’s going to be the final subtitle, I don’t know. But I think it’s certainly
Caryl Westmore 4:11
the one before even as I’m saying it, I can feel you feel that’s great. And that’s why it helps sometimes to just have a bit of second eyes on on what you’re doing without I haven’t obviously looked at the actual book itself. The other thing that I’d like to put on the table is – you did say why you wrote the book, you said if it can help who? Now, who is it for what and what is your Why?
Well, the reason I wrote it was because I just felt that if I could give anybody – just one person – hope or inspiration that there is a life after these things because at the time I felt like there wasn’t. I really felt like there was nothing left I had nothing I was nothing and obviously, clearly I am! And it’s taken a while to get there.
Caryl Westmore 5:00
So could I interrupt you? I mean, go back to the beginning of the book, which, how long ago was that? I mean, it’s your story, your memoir. And it begins in a very powerful way now, because I just said to you, well, that’ll be interesting to chat about. But how long ago was it so that listeners know?
Well, I was in my early 30s. And I’m 58. Now. So
Caryl Westmore 5:28
20 years ago, let’s just put it in the context over 20 years ago, you had a suicidal thought that if you had acted on, you wouldn’t be here today. So that is how your book starts. Correct?
It does now.
Caryl Westmore 5:42
Okay, tell us about that. How, were you going to start?
Speaking to you earlier this morning, because my initial start was a very flowery introduction to where I was when it happened. And if you’ll permit me, I’ll just, I’ll just read it out.
“The beautiful Brecon Beacons, the majestic mountains of mid-Wales. And that’s where it happened. Their crevices resemble deep wrinkles on the faces of their slope, the gradual sweep of the hillsides mirror the shape of the wild Welsh ponies’ necks that roam the mountains.”
That was my first paragraph, and you said, “Well, I think it should be the suicidal thoughts because I’d already mentioned what they were. And you were right because now my very first paragraph is…”Out of nowhere, and with no warning, these words jumped into my head from some deep dark place inside: ‘drive off, go on, drive off, nobody loves you. Nobody cares. Nobody’s going to miss you.’
And that is what happened.
Caryl Westmore 6:39
I mean, I was getting goosebumps. And then you could then you know, actually describe the backdrop a few minutes before you’d been noticing the wrinkles and the ponies. I mean, I think that that lyrical beauty of the place is wonderful how you describe it, because as you say, you do live in Wales, don’t you? I love that as you were reading it, and yet to go the contrast of what was actually about to happen.
I am so pleased, because I mean, in the space of a couple of minutes this morning, and that’s literally all well, was it 5/10 minutes? In that space, you have made my book, – the start of my book – really, really powerful. It was nice before …it was lovely. It was pleasant. And you know, I can see the difference straight away. And, you know, I mean, I have carried on, you know that the word resonated the resounded that we’re going through my brain, and then I’ve led back into my original introduction. And that leads into …Well, this is where I was (when they came into my head, and then the rest of it.
Caryl Westmore 7:41
That’s, fantastic. Because, you know, I’m looking at memoirs over time. And the last thing you want is: “I was born, I went to school, you know, I mean, there are some people who do write something that – that’s their prerogative. But if we are writing a book that’s going to grip people, that’s a memoir, and I think I haven’t read your this book, but is it a teaching memoir? Because after that, low point in your life, did you then tell me that you went on a long journey? And we mentioned, “THE JOURNEY” which we both know about as well, the Journey Process that Brandon Bays pioneered? Tell us just bought? Yeah, I think you also had counseling – you went to a doctor and started counseling. How did you start that journey?
Yeah, well, two things happened, really. And these are two of the sort of pivotal things that are in the book as well. One I started to receive poetry. So poems just seem to appear. And at that time, they were quite dark, very pitiful, you know, full of self-pity full of woe. And over time, they have changed and they’ve become much more lighthearted. Then I had a dearth of poems when I when I found my current partner, it’s almost like they used to come out when I was very, very emotional. And now the difference is I can write a poem about pretty much anything if I empty my mind. So that was one thing that happened. And the other thing that happened was, those words coming into my head shocked me. I mean, there’s absolutely no two ways about it. It was an absolute shock, and they kicked me into gear really, rather than kicking into touch. I knew I needed help. So I actually went to my doctor and I was very blessed with a very holistic-minded, open-minded Doctor who put me in touch with the practice counsellor, and that really started me on a journey into looking at which well back then they would have called me called alternative therapies. I mean, they still classed as that now, I suppose, but a lot of these things are much more mainstream, which is wonderful. But my counsellor mentioned Reiki to me, I didn’t really know what it was and energetic healing and it just put me on a path of being in a brand new sweetshop once I started to come through the depression and actually got myself into a place of strength in conjunction with the tablets and counselling. And a very, very supportive friends and family and surrounded by a lot of love. Once I finally got to a point of there’s a tipping point, but I can’t I can’t put my finger on it I can even when I was looking back, but that there comes a tipping point where something changes. And I think it’s a gradual process. And then it sort of goes almost overnight. But at some point I was more positive, I started to look forward to life. Part of that was getting my own dog, I have to say she was a huge part of the therapeutic process. And that’s all documented in the book as well, including the poems that have been written along the time. Also the self help therapies.
Caryl Westmore 10:45
How did you weave that in? Did you say you came across it and explain it? Or do you wait to the end of the chapter to tell people about it?
Yeah, I haven’t gone into them in huge detail. What I have done is sort of mentioned them, and it is something that I have thought about, do I go into more detail? And is that thing going to put certain people off? So the way I’ve done it at the moment is I’ve woven it into the story, as in I’ve mentioned, what happened at certain points and maybe the more key therapies, because I mean, I’ve I’ve actually trained in loads, but what I’ve then done at the back in the very end, there’s a list all of the therapies that actually have helped me, and also where people can, you know, find them if they want to look into them themselves.
Caryl Westmore 11:29
That sounds great. So it really is a memoir that if people want to know more, and I think the whole thing today is stories, you know, it’s your story, and there are probably other stories in it that you’ve told of other people, and it’s really sounds great. You know, we all can’t wait now to get it published. So is there any stage now that that’s your next step forward? You’re going to go self publishing, I believe,
yeah, that’s the route I’m going to go down. There’s there are a couple of steps. I have got a couple more tweaks. There’s a couple of references that I want to put in there. There’s a book that was quite pivotal that my counsellor gave me called “The Celestine Prophecy”. Basically I was reading that chapter about synchronicities. When loads of synchronicities started to happen, I went to look for my copy. And I know I’ve had two or three copies over the years, I can’t find it anywhere. So I’ve sent off for another copy. Because I certainly want to reference something from that book, I also am still unsure about how much of the therapeutic side to put in because I don’t want to stuff these things down people’s throats, especially if it’s not something that they’re particularly interested in. But I do want to mention them enough to make people realise how huge they can be and how pivotal that can be and how life changing they can be. And that it’s Allopathic medicine is not the only answer.
Caryl Westmore 12:53
It’s what’s empowering
about the word empowering, you’ve got in your book to celebrate, you can also find empowering ways to use and I think we both discussed energy and emotional tools that will shift you and open up a higher perspective for you and put you on track the way I see it with your life purpose. I don’t even know if that’s in your book. But it sounds like you’re more aligned with certain of the therapies with where you want to go with the book and how it will be a tool. Is that right?
Yes, because there are there are a couple of therapies that I’ve just trained in like Akashic records. Well, it’s not a therapy. It’s a process akashic records. But there’s also something called EMA energy alignment method, and also EFT, emotional freedom therapy, they were quite pivotal in the changes that I’ve gone through myself. And I feel that everybody should have a tool in their own toolbox that they can actually fall back on, that they can continue to do work on themselves. Because at the end of the day, it’s only us that can change us. Other people can help and hold hands and guide and facilitate – but only the individual can actually make those huge changes for themselves. So I do feel it’s really really important for people to find a tool that will work for them and there are many, many out there.
Caryl Westmore 14:12
Do you feel if people contact you, you’ll be able to do some sort of counselling or therapy that you’re training in now is that what you intended?
Yes, I’m going to be putting together some programmes. I need to finish my EAM Mentor training. Got case studies to do for that. And then I’m going to be writing some programmes – probably putting my own methods together I suppose offering online or in person under the under the banner of SUPERSONIC SELF – because really I want everybody to find their Supersonic Self – whatever that is and whatever level they feel it is.
that’s fantastic. So you’ve gone from where how you started the book and going through that process of healing to opening up the possibility of becoming supersonic self. It’s almost like – pity that’s not in the title. But there’s so many aspects of it that will come out as you finish it.
It’s not too late to change.
Caryl Westmore 15:11
We do, I think we tweak our books till the end. So you also mentioned you know, I taught I said how important it was to go through with a fine tooth comb for the wording and spelling. And you said actually something that amazed me. What did you say? that’s one of your your superpowers to be an editor?
well, not an editor I’m not trained as an editor, but I did do a proofreading course many, many, many years ago. I just didn’t go back to do the exam. But it’s such a long time ago, I probably couldn’t remember the symbols that you use to edit it. But I do have an eye because loads of people tell me ah you always correcting my grammar?
Caryl Westmore 15:45
Yeah, if you go to pass a pub, and they’ve got enabled and lasagna spelt wrong, and now they are things which I don’t know if you’re aware of we talked about some of the things but there’s something called Pro Writing Aid and Grammarly, you do get software that you can run your work through, I think you’re on the right track there. And then you’ll probably go the route of putting it up on Amazon, will you? And getting people to write reviews, the initial readers, there’s a whole promotional side to it. And as you said, What is your intention that it gets to number one, and in certain categories?
I’d love to become number one, even if it was just the one best selling category.I’m setting the intention. I’m putting it out there.
Caryl Westmore 16:32
Why not? And when the book’s out I’ll have you back on the podcast to show us the cover because I believe you you know you’re on that next step. But show us the cover. You haven’t shown us the cover that you’ve made – a working cover. I said to you before that when I teach Writing the Book Inside You program – one of the things I say is that Wayne Dyer used to get a mock cover for every book he was writing and wrap it around another book, the title on and had it in front of him. So I believe in having a working cover. Show us your one.
it’s interesting, because when I told you that I sort of did that out of instinct, because I wanted something tangible to see. And it’s highly unlikely this is what it’s going to look like. But I do wish I’d found your programme two years ago, because I think I’d be much further ahead now. But yeah, so this is what I mocked up for myself. Yeah, it was just to have something tangible, as I said that I could see that sits on my desk that reminds me that this is actually going to be a book. It’s not just pie in the sky.
Caryl Westmore 17:35
Love that! You know, I can tell people to do that or suggest it, but there you did it on your own instinct. And I mean, it actually, it’s got the colours on the wall, which is so that greeny this could be your colours. And that sort of turquoise you’re wearing. I mean, maybe that in the end that should be somehow on the cover, you know, when you finally get the designs in. So thanks, Deb. Now I know you’re going to be publishing under the name Deb, tell us – DebS is it?
It’s actually DebS if I can get away with one word. And that’s not that I think I’m as famous as Madonna. But I don’t need a second name or anything. I still go by my ex husband’s surname just out of ease. No, no other reason than that I’ve been too lazy to bother going back to my maiden name. Because I mean, we’ve been divorced for about 30 odd years. I lost my father about two years. And I just as a sort of a nod to him really. And a lot of people call me Debs. Anyway, it’s my it’s my sort of nickname, my pet name. And I just thought it would be really nice to capitalise the S because my maiden name is Smith. So it’s sort of a little tribute to my dad, really. So if I’m allowed to sort of fill in the forms, no surname, then I hope that all of my writing from now on will be under that name. So just that.
Caryl Westmore 18:58
I think you could call that a pen name. And I think I’m sure Amazon allows that you obviously need your real name and where they can send you the money that you’re going to make. But you can use the name DebS, you know, as you said, DebS with a capital S and in a way, it’s got a poetic, creative feel to it. And as you’re going to have some of your poems in your book very much, very much so. So I really, it’s been a pleasure talking to you today. And we look forward to having you on the show with the finished book. So keep us posted and keep inspiring us in Writing the book inside you group on Facebook.
will do it’s been a delight. And I have to say, you know, I was drawn to the group and because it was your description that spoke to me it was the you know, do I have a life story to tell? Tick, yes! What else was on that life lessons and skills to learn? tick? Yeah. Do I have a healing message? I
Caryl Westmore 19:55
think yes. To help I’ve ever thought I was
like, oh, tick, tick, tick. Yeah, I really do. Want to help? I really would love this book to help more than one person. But in my eyes, if it just helps one person to go…you know what, yes, there there can be life after all of these things and life is worth living. I mean, there’s absolutely no two ways about it. I didn’t think it was back then I thought my whole future was just going to be nothing. Hindsight, it’s a very wonderful sight, isn’t it?
Caryl Westmore 20:25
Yes. Well, what we did talk about earlier, which the listeners might be interested in, is that when you were going through something like that, only as you developed interest in healing modalities, did you come to the realisation that it all started in childhood? When I first set out to teach people EFT, I used to say, as you tap and talk, you can ask “what set this up?” Those were the words I used, and then you’ll have a “break-free Aha,” that ah when I was a child, this happened. What is the story for you?
Yes, for me, when I was a child, my mom had mental health issues, she had post natal depression – baby blues – and she ran away. She took my youngest brother with her, we know that I was six because of the age of my brother, and we’ve talked about it as an adult. And she said that she wouldn’t have taken him if she had a choice. But just because she was breastfeeding. She just needed to get away. And so that caused me to feel abandoned. I, as a six year old child with no manual of life, thought there must be something wrong with me. And I feel I went through a process of trying to make her laugh to make her love me more. So it wouldn’t happen again. But it did happen again, because she was taken away to a mental Institute. So within a very short space of time, I lost my mum twice. Now my mum abandoned me in my head. Yeah.
And so the belief that I created as a little child was that I was clearly unlovable. So when the divorce happened, and the person that’s supposed to love me more than anything in the world, i.e. my mum, then my husband, it all fell apart. Basically what happens and as you know, but it pulls on all of those emotions that were around back then that were hidden, because I didn’t know they were there. Because I grew up after that having a lovely childhood. So all of these were stuffed down. They were in there, subconsciously, they were in my energy. And it was then when they come out again, not only do they come out with that bit, but they come up with that bit from back there as well. So you’ve got twice the amount.
Caryl Westmore 22:39
it’s like your jersey starting to unravel completely. Yeah. What do you call it a cardigan? jersey? Fine. Yeah, yeah, well, and so the one thread starts and then the whole thing’s unravelling. And you’re unravelling. So I think that if you make that point in the book, people will start to understand that it’s not just something that happens to them. It can be childhood beliefs and traumas big or small. And I think that’s such an important part of the the healing journey we take. It’s not for everyone, maybe, you know, people think, well, I wasn’t abused, it wasn’t a big trauma. But it can be something that just stays subconsciously buried. And once it comes out, it helps all the other memories; the domino effect, everything changes.
Well, it could be something as simple as you said, You know, I wasn’t abused, I didn’t have a bad childhood, other than I had a wonderful childhood. It can be something as simple as somebody being made to stand up in front of the class and read out loud and the rest of the class laughing because they’ve stumbled over a word.
Caryl Westmore 23:40
I’m pleased you’re using that analogy, because that’s often one of the big things in a writer or author’s life. You know, I call myself the Tapping Book Coach, it’s often when people come to write their story in their book, they often have to clear memories like that, which they don’t realise are absolutely frozen in time and space and keeping them blocked. So that’s a very good point. It’s not that they were hit over the head or physically abused, but just been laughed at by the class teacher.
I think I read something recently, which really resonated with me. She said when she was six years old the school asked her to write a story of the holidays. And she said, “when I went to see my grandpa and grandma, you know, on the farm, and we did this, we did that.” And she said the essay came back with one comment: “the margins are too small!” Get a C grade. And she said from that moment on, it was like her whole experience had been given a C. Her grandfather was a C level and her grandmother, and I think it’s so powerful to unearth if that did happen to us. Yeah. And then repair the damage of that, you know, classrooms or siblings or parents.
So we have gone on a little bit about my favourite topic, but I think we have like minds and you’re exactly the kind of person I’m thrilled to be able to say, to give a little push with your book now. So you become what I call the shining, sparkling Unicorn in a sea of sameness, you know, showing the world.
Caryl Westmore 25:06
So that was one of the things that attracted you. But that’s how I see it. You know, if we just go along with our knowledge and our healing, but then we write a book that really helps us stand out and help others and make a difference – then we are suddenly that sparkling Unicorn that people want to speak to, and have on podcasts and be out there in the world. So I’m looking forward to seeing your journey.
And I really, really would love to encourage others to write their book and write their story, even if they don’t publish it. Because just the process of doing that was hugely cathartic for me as well.
That’s a good point.
Because I had to show it to my mum, because obviously, she’s mentioned. Her mental health was mentioned in it. And she admitted to me that she had tried to commit suicide when she was younger, and I didn’t know that – not even as an adult. So it’s brought us closer together as well. And you don’t necessarily have to share your book with anybody, I think. But you know, that’s for some people and not for others. But certainly in the process of writing it. It’s very, very cathartic, you know, very therapeutic, to encourage people to do it, even if they don’t do anything with it, burn it, burn it up into the universe on a full moon. You know, whatever they got to do with it.
Caryl Westmore 26:20
I was just writing an email on grief. Some people WRITE – find that helpful, some people PAINT, some people, you know, go INSIDE, some people want support, that whatever you do these writing is one of the ways that I’ve always used my journaling, and my writing and as you said, for your memoir for your story. Just to get it out there. You can always edit it into a different shape later, or leave something out or you know, delete, but at least to get it down is very cathartic. Especially with a bit of tapping! If you come up with things. So thank you once again and anywhere along the way you need my help, let me know.
Thank you so much really been a great help so far. So it’s been a delight. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai