content here about Alice’s life and career
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Friends Sips and Words
Join Alice Tayler for a relaxing, nonjudgemental online discussion on a new book speicalising in mental health and wellbeing, chosen every 6 weeks. Pour a cup of tea, glass of wine, or your favourite coffee and relax!
For Alice Tayler, the only way to get attention in a family plagued by mental ill health was to hurt herself – at least, that’s what Munchausen syndrome led her to believe.
Overcome paints a jarring picture of what Tayler’s life has been like with this psychological condition, one that has caused her to feign illness or pain to get others to care for her. While her story may be tough to read at times, it’s an important one to be told, considering how hard it can be to understand Munchausen syndrome from the outside looking in.
Read on for a few words from Alice about her book…
“OVERCOME” is an honest and open reflection into my life. It describes intimate details of my abusive past, my personal battle with an often misunderstood illness, and my fear of judgement or rejection that I could face by admitting an illness of this nature due to the stigma and stereotypes surrounding it.
Today I continue to work towards personal growth, understanding and healing, while also helping ti raise awareness for others touched by illnesses that hide in silence. I know I am strong. I know you are strong. Together we are stronger – We are heard!
Q&A With Alice Tayler…
What inspired you to write your book? Change inspired me to write this book. Not only drastic changes that my life has handed me recently but the changes that I want to hand life. I want to embrace these changes and use them to better myself.
I had no intention of sharing my story with anyone when I wrote it, not even the ones closest to me. A better question may be to ask why I chose to share my story with the world, or even publish it with pictures and descriptions of some of my accounts of self-harm.
The more I have learned about this illness, the more I realized that people do not understand. This includes medical health professionals and the family members of those who suffer. It also became clear to me that when others hear the word “Munchausen”, they immediately associate it with Munchausen By-Proxy, and you are labeled as such. I began to wonder if this condition is considered rare because it is rare, or because of the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding this illness. Not to mention the fact that admitting an illness, such as this, can test the strength of your personal relationships. Loved ones may feel betrayed or lied to.
When you have this illness, you have no intention of ever telling anyone or seeking help for it. I know. That was me. I did not think that was even remotely possible. I have since learned that there is nothing impossible if you want it to be possible.
What do you do in your spare time? Tell us about your hobbies and interests?
My husband and I seldom watch TV. We enjoy the outdoors and the feeling of wind in our hair. Hop on a motorcycle, on a four-wheeler, on a bicycle, or in an open-top Jeep and drive! The best therapy is wind therapy!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and why? The best advice I ever heard came from a little bird. Unfortunately, that bird has since flown away. The advice was simple.
“Find a reason to celebrate each and every ordinary day!” (in memory of my beautiful niece, Amber)
Are you a dog or cat person? Live, Love, Woof!!
Who or what inspires you? My brother was my inspiration. His strength, dignity, and poise. I admired him. I hope that he knew that. Today, when I want to be a better person, I strive to be more like my brother. His memory lives on in me – his strength lives on in me.
Do you have an idol? I have respect for so many strong women. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for example, was a woman of strength that I greatly admire. Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison is another example of a woman that I admire. She is an inspiration to many, especially those of us that know the struggle of mental illness.
What was your dream job as a child? I really thought I was going to be an astronaut and walk on the moon someday. I wanted to touch the sky.
What do you want to be remembered for? I want to be remembered for being genuine, always trying my hardest, and for just being me. What I will not be remembered for is my illness. It does not define who I am.
What’s the one thing that you can’t live without? There is nothing material in this world that I could not live without. If the day came that I could no longer smile or laugh and knew I never would again… Happiness and love are the two things that I could not live without.
Do you have a bucket list? I try to not make a bucket list. If you want to do something, I do it now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Stop dreaming and start living.
What does self-care mean to you? Nobody knows you as well as you know yourself. Mind and body, both are equally important. I have made it one of my goals to care for both my mind and my body as I get older. We only have one life; we need to treat ourselves well while we are living it.
Do you journal? Not yet. I am working on that. Time has gotten away from me, but I should make time.
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be? How do you pick just one thing? Wouldn’t we all love to find a cure for cancer, stop child abuse, end global warming, prevent distracted driving, and so on?
If I had to pick just one, I would want every child to grow up knowing that they are loved, special, and perfect just the way they are.
Your book really touches on your personal experience and you are so frank and open, that must be quite an experience to write. How did it feel to tell your story? Telling my story was extremely difficult. I had worn a veil my entire life. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I had anything wrong. If I didn’t think about it, it wasn’t there. I thought that this veil protected me. In reality, it was holding back so much weight. It was holding in all my shame, fear, hurt, and pain. When I began writing my book, I was only telling the story of my life. I was leaving out all aspects of my own mental illness. Why? Because I was still wearing my veil. I didn’t want to know. As I wrote, I knew that the most important issue was missing, and it was crushing me slowly. This veil that I thought was protecting me was weighing me down to the point of a slow, crushing, suffocating non-existence. I was no longer myself and I needed help. Slowly I started to write my illness into the book. Slowly I started to talk about it. Slowly I started to get help. Slowly the veil began to lift. Today I am free of that veil. I feel lighter, open, able to breathe! It is still hard to read my own words that I have written, but I will get there. I have the support of my family, my friends, and even my health care professionals. I am finally becoming the person I have always wanted to be; I am free.