Health & Wellness

Kenilworth Resident Aims to Promote Mental Health Awareness with Debut Book

Michelle Dickinson-Moravek will release her debut memoir, "Breaking Into my Life," this winter. Credits: Michelle Dickinson-Moravek

KENILWORTH, NJ — Michelle Dickinson-Moravek, a Westfield native and Kenilworth resident, aims to educate audiences about mental illness with the release of her debut memoir, “Breaking Into My Life.”

“Breaking Into My Life,” self-written and self-published, shares Dickinson-Moravek’s experience while growing up with a mother who had mental illness and how that experience affects her as an adult.

“The book is as painfully revealing as it is uplifting and hopefully will inspire many to realize that they can overcome adversity in their lives as well,” Dickinson-Moravek said. “I hope my story of perseverance and triumph helps challenge and transform the ‘suffer in silence’ dynamic and makes mental illness more understood, treated and accepted.”

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To write and publish the book, something Dickinson-Moravek has never done before, she worked with a writing coach, Linden Gross. The process began three years ago.

“Writing this book was incredibly cathartic,” Dickinson-Moravek said. “Linden and I laugh about the fact that she often doubled as my therapist during some of our writing sessions. In many examples, I had to relive the experiences and the emotions that went along with it. I won’t lie and say it was easy. It was hard as hell at times. But for someone to really understand how punishing it can be to love someone with mental illness, I knew I needed to be completely truthful. Honestly, I think this is why the book took so long to complete.”

In addition to her book, Dickinson-Moravek launched a website with tools and resources regarding mental illness.

“I’m out to raise awareness and compassion for those struggling with mental illness along with those who care for them, so that more people get the treatment and help they need and deserve,” Dickinson-Moravek said. “By simply starting an authentic conversation around mental illness and humanizing it through storytelling, we can eradicate the stigma once and for all.”

Aside from writing, Dickinson-Moravek is an associate director at Johnson & Johnson, a pottery instructor and involved in the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy.

How does she balance it?

“While my hubby and my four-legged children are very understanding of my busy schedule, they truly are my first priority,” Dickinson-Moravek said. “What kept me focused was remembering what was really at stake. Bringing change to mental illness through sharing my story kept me in action weekly, working every Saturday morning on my writing deliverables, coffee in hand.”

“Breaking Into my Life” is set for release in January or February 2018, and will be available for purchase at Barnes & Noble or online. For more information, visit Dickinson-Moravek’s website.

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