Today’s Tuesday 12 x 12 author is Nicky Johnston. I was so touched by her post because I myself was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder more than ten years ago. Even as an adult, it took me a while to learn how to manage it in order to live a happy and productive life. So I can’t even imagine how a 5 year-old child could cope. What I admire about Nicky was that she didn’t just set out to help her own child, but all children who struggle with anxiety in all in its forms. Read on to find out how, and give a warm welcome to Nicky!
The 12 x 12 in 2012 Challenge has changed my world.
It has changed my world in ways that even those closest to me really don’t understand. This challenge has forced me to step outside my comfort zone, be proud of myself and acknowledge not only my achievements but my goals and desires for the future.
I am a very busy mum to four gorgeous boys. I am a teacher, an artist, make-up artist and have always held multiple jobs at any given time. I run my own business “Happy Hero” providing support and education to parents, teachers and workers in the mental health sector. Through my speaking engagements at schools, workshops, meetings and conferences I am able to provide valuable information and strategies to help ‘little worriers’ manage anxiety. My little business is the publisher of my two children’s books and distributes to schools, bookshops and retail customers via my online shop.
Eight years ago, my eldest son was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) aged just 5yrs – it was a very difficult time for us as a family. Back then, it was extremely uncommon for mental health issues to be associated with such a young child – thus the support, information and help for dealing with a ‘little worrier’ was almost non-existent.
Desperate to help my son understand and learn how to manage his anxiety I wrote and illustrated my two children’s books “Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts!” and “Happythoughts are Everywhere…” These books have changed my son’s life and since their release in 2008 and 2009 have also helped thousands of ‘little worriers’ in Australia and around the world.
Of course, it is no surprise that I too battle my own “Mr Worrythoughts!” Taking the 12 x 12 Challenge was my own way of addressing the negative thoughts I had about myself. It has forced me to believe that I AM an author, I AM an illustrator and I AM a successful business woman – previously all three of these statements would make me cringe and hide behind the couch in fear that someone would figure out that I am a fraud….but, I now live by my son’s mantra…“Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts…your thoughts are NOT welcome here!”
My family thinks I am crazy taking on MORE commitments in an already very hectic life. They can’t believe I am writing a picture book draft each month and when I talk about my 12 x 12 friends, they really have NO idea of my new found world! This connection with other amazing, talented people, has force me to become confident in interacting, sharing and believing in myself. I am sure everyone else still sees a confident, reach for the stars kind of gal, succeeding in everything she puts her mind to…but now, I internally feel that I can take the leap of faith and handle the learning opportunities that come my way.
So far, I have written a PB draft every month (there are even a couple that I am really keen to pursue and illustrate!), I have become involved with a fantastic critique group where I have learned SO MUCH about the craft of writing. Instead of feeling crazy by the stories and ideas that ALWAYS come to me in the middle of the night, I welcome them, writing them all down in my 12 x 12 notepad. I am excited to explore them all further when time allows. (If I can read my own writing that is!!)
While the expansion of my business in developing new resources for kids, and my emotional investment in raising four happy, resilient and confident boys keeps me very busy, I know that I have a lot to offer in my journey as a writer and illustrator. I take comfort in the knowledge that this journey is a life-time goal and doesn’t all have to be achieved right now. Thank you Julie for the 12 x 12 Challenge and for helping me get to a place of peace and comfort (and crazy ideas!) in my life long author/illustrator journey.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” ~ Martin Luther King, JR
Nicky is the author & illustrator of two children’s books “Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts!” and “Happythoughts are Everywhere…” She is a mum to four boys, a teacher, an artist and make-up artist and is passionate about raising awareness of mental health in children. You can find her on her website, her blog, on Facebook and YouTube.
Categories: 12 x 12 in 2012, Authors, Goals, Guest Blogging, Picture Books, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: 12 x 12 in 2012, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Goals, Guest Blogging, Julie Hedlund, Nicky Johnston, Picture Books, Tuesday 12 x 12, Works in Progress, Writer