One of the biggest struggles about being vocal in a personal struggle is that there is always the feeling that I might be wrong about everything. Maybe I’m pushing the struggle too hard. Maybe this has become my “identity” and I’m so far in that I can’t be objective. Maybe I’m overstating everything, and I’m being selfish, and all that I draw is justification for how differently I want others to treat me.

Everyone I’ve spoken to does say that my voice and views are valid. But my critic and all the criticisms I’ve had about my views gang up on me, to tell me, I’m not that valid after all. I’m small, titchy, tiny, and my voice should be a squeak.

I’m nothing.

So when I wrote up a manuscript two years ago, it was a tough process of trying to be brave enough to present it to any publisher. In my country, we don’t have publishing agents or similar – the industry isn’t that big. So I thank God (or goodness if you aren’t comfortable with God) for giving me that courage to try. I went ahead, submitted it… And it went nowhere. So it was supposed to just die off. I had confirmation that this wasn’t the way to go.

But a year or so later, I helped submit a small piece which would be part of a book discussing mental health and the church from the Singaporean perspective. The chief editor was really kind, and we had good talks, so I decided to step out there and ask again. They were interested – and I submitted my manuscript to them.

It still took a ton of work. More on the publisher’s side, I feel, to help me to organise my content, identify missing spots, even cutting down some content to fit a book that wouldn’t make your bag bulge uncomfortably. It’s still a struggle to believe that someone thinks my content is worth putting together into a book. And as I prepared new material, or wrote some things, I realised that this really is a journey that I’ve been so blessed not to make alone. Even if that doesn’t take away most of the pain that I struggle with. (Am I really worth this care?)

The book itself has text sections interspersed, as it gives me space to link up things that I want to talk about, both from my blog, and from my comics. Because it’s Covid-time, the launch is going to be done online – and that means I can invite people from other countries who might be interested and who would be free, to come join in.

So, lots of doubts. I’m forcing myself to write all this down, and to make this invitation. I don’t believe in myself, but I think my message in my book might resonate with some of you, or might help others. I don’t know. I really hope it does.

Here goes – 17th October, 2020, 1630 SGT. Click on the link to get a timezone converter, if you need it. If you’re available, I’d love to have you with me as we talk about the book. We have been very fortunate to have this as part of a series of events to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month in Singapore.

Sign up for the book launch event here.

The following week, my wife, me, a friend and my ex-therapist will be on a related panel discussion. You can sign up for that too, here. Time is the same, 1630 SGT.

I can’t say I’m excited. I’m definitely nervous – I can and will screw this up somehow, I’m sure – but I want to do this for the sake of the hard work everyone else has put in as well. And in the process, I hope someone will benefit from this.

Stay well. And remember – hate only goes so far. Love goes further.

Mak

Further material:
Contents Page
Book Sample
Retailer infosheet
Full Calendar of events for World Mental Health Day 2020, Singapore
About the publisher