A Coatbridge author turned to the written word to help her cope with a traumatising and troubling time in her life which included her mum committing suicide and suffering childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her brother, who also took his own life.
Anneliese McDaid, 30, turned tragedy into a conduit on how to survive and thrive by penning the book 'Grief: The Guide to Be Unguided'.
The book has been written and dedicated to her mum Mary, who suffered a fatal overdose, aged just 56, last October, to help "normalise people's pain".
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Anneliese penned the novel when the COVID lockdown led to her job in hospitality being put on the back-burner, and she poured out every raw and painful detail of her turbulent life in the hope her book "might inspire others to find a way through their own grief".
Anneliese told Lanarkshire Live : "It's fair to say I had a very difficult time of it for a long period. My mum committed suicide on October 20 last year and I had to essentially 'delete' her.
"All government bodies, passport office, rent office, benefits agencies, council tax. The list was long, and it was so easy. It just felt all too simple for a life that was so complex. Mum was gone.
"Mum's suicide was obviously a very heavy subject matter that people avoid like the plague.
"I was also sexually abused as a child by my brother, who was convicted and sentenced to six years’ detention.
"Later, when he was due to be released, he also committed suicide, aged just 18.
"I also cared for my gran while she was dying of cancer in my early twenties, so I have experienced many deaths.
"Grief can consume you, or it can grow you. You decide which one it is going to be."
Speaking about her new book, Anneliese added: "It touches on all of the grief I have suffered, and there are lost friendships spoken about too.
"The book has been written and dedicated to my mum to help normalise people's pain, help people learn to forgive for themselves and move on.
"It is based on what I have been through, and how I have chosen to deal with these issues throughout my life; and how I have came out the other side a genuinely happy human being.
"The book also highlights the issues of 2020 and how coronavirus played a huge part in my mum's death."
“When my mum died, I realised she had been grieving all those years. People associate grief with death, but she was grieving for things like the expectations she’d had for her son when he was young that never happened.
“The things you will experience when someone dies are insane; from people asking for my mum’s living room carpet to people who should really be messaging and contacting you every day not doing so. People will try and test your patience.
They will try and blame you for their actions.”
'Grief: The Guide to Be Unguided' also touches on how professional counselling and therapy sessions were less helpful for Anneliese than sharing her experiences with another child abuse survivor.
She explained: "It doesn’t matter how many degrees someone has, they can’t understand what it feels like unless they feel it themselves.
“You have to live through it to understand it. The whole purpose of being so open in the book is to help people understand that, no matter what you get thrown at you, we all have the capacity and can make the choice to get over it."
'Grief: The Guide to Be Unguided' is available now on Amazon here.
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