It is Dystonia Awareness Week here in the UK so I am so pleased to welcome Jean Sharon Abbott to my blog to discuss writing her memoir Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had. I first became aware of Jean via her blog before she wrote her book. The posts about her adventures after she had been correctly diagnosed and her joy of being able to do things she had never dreamed of were uplifting and her positivity shone on the screen. I have followed her story ever since. I am in awe of how much awareness of dystonia she has done, how many people have been touched by her story and have had their lives turned around because of it.
Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had
As a young girl, Jean watched her classmates run across the playground and wondered, “How do they do that?” As a teenager, she watched her friends go off on dates and thought, “Will anyone ever love me?” And when she was a young adult she realized that God has a plan. An absolutely wonderful plan.
Jean Abbott has a powerful and uplifting story of perseverance no matter what life brings. After enduring 3 decades of countless doctors visit, medical procedures, unnecessary medications, and surgeries, she heard the words, “You’ve been misdiagnosed.” Could this be the life she’s been waiting for?
Jean Sharon Abbot’s own site for a signed copy: https://bit.ly/2IcKLmv
Meet the Author: Jean Sharon Abbott
I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a teenager I dreamed of writing screenplays or best selling novels. At one point I thought it would be fun to write a book about growing up with Spastic Diplegia, Cerebral Palsy. However, I didn’t feel that my story had anything special from all the other books about overcoming physical limitations. That all changed when I discovered that I had been misdiagnosed for 3 decades and truly felt as though a miracle had happened. I knew that I had to share my story with the world and the best way to do that would be with a memoir.
The writing processes proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated. Initially, I didn’t have a clue as to how to start writing such a big project or how I should even start! Truthfully, my mind was on other things…I was scheduled to have my Baclofen Pump removed and was worried about laying flat on my back for 3-7 days. I quickly realized that it would be nearly as bad as the muscle transfer that I endured at age 12. I let my mind wander for a few minutes, putting me back at Children’s Hospital nearly 20 years prior. The emotions from that day came pouring back and I began to write about that horrific day. From that point on, I kept on writing about different childhood memories.
I learned a lot through the writing process. I never had any idea how strong and courageous I was. I never realized how I faced so many challenges but was able to stay optimistic. Most importantly, I never thought about how all of this affected my parents. There were days where I sat at my computer and the tears would blur my vision so much that I was unable to see the computer screen! I cried more recalling my past than I did living it. Often times it felt as though I was writing a fictional story because at times the events seemed unreal.
The scariest part of writing my memoir was waiting for friends and family to read it!! I had poured my heart and soul into 270 pages and left nothing to the imagination. Would they think it was written poorly? Would they feel sorry for me? Names had been changed to protect the identity of those who would not come across in a positive light, so I also wondered, will people think I’m writing about them when I’m really writing about someone else? For the most part, everyone was very supportive of how the book turned out. In fact, I’m often asked if there will be a sequel! I’m not sure if I could get a better review than that!
Writing a big project such as this was exciting, fun, challenging and some days very emotional. There were many times that I wanted to quit! Fortunately, my family would encourage me to finish what I started. And thanks to them, I was able to achieve one of my biggest goals in life.
You can follow Jean Sharon Abbott on:
Thank you so much, Jean, for sharing your writing experience and popping over to this blog.
Happy writing and reading!
Also published on Medium.