Melanie Gibson

Audio Episode

Melanie Gibson

I had a great time learning from Melanie, and she is a person that is dedicated to what she does. You will find from this episode that we are not alone with some of the things we deal with daily. Learning to deal with our mental health is very important. Melanie, with her experience in the healthcare industry, gives us some great insights from the perspective of someone inside the industry.

You can find a lot of great videos on her Youtube channel. Melanie is active in media, helping you discover how to be a better you. She is a creative mind and has a strong will to get it done. 

All of Melanie's links can be found under the links tab.

Melanie Gibson


Melanie Gibson: I liked it because nothing has made me feel so present, not meditation, not yoga, but when somebody's trying to kick you in the face, you really can't think about anything else and your mind is just empty and that's a wonderful feeling. Click to Tweet
And so other, with other mental health aspects, you talked about accountability

[00:00:19] Melanie Gibson: and I think as I went through time, it gave me goals that I could reach, I could monitor my progress. And then mentally and emotionally, I was feeling the same things, of feeling more accountable for the choices I was making and feeling responsible for how I emotionally responded to something. So say, if you're in a sparring match with somebody, you have to make choices, you have to make choices to react or respond to things.


Melanie Gibson: And it's kind of, it's the same with your emotions is that something happens, how you choose to respond to that can affect the outcome, it can affect your mental state. And I started to see those connections so much. That's why I started writing about it, that's why I started my blog, Little Black Belt in 2014, Click to Tweet
and that's eventually why I wrote a book about it.

[00:01:05] Ed Watters: To overcome you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand, the way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself. Let's dive in and learn something right now.

[00:02:04] Ed Watters: We are with Melanie Gibson today. Melanie is the author of Kicking And Screaming, memoirs of madness and martial arts. Melanie, could you please introduce yourself and let people know just a little bit about you, please?

[00:02:20] Melanie Gibson: Thanks for having me on the show, Ed, uh, as you said, my name's Melanie Gibson and I'm a writer, a martial artist, a healthcare employee, and I live in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex.

[00:02:33] Ed Watters: Yeah, that's a heck of a place to live. You know, one of those big cities, it's, it's stress. I, I don't know how you people do that.

[00:02:44] Melanie Gibson: I don't know either. I was raised, I was raised in a rural small west Texas town and I, I came to this area to go to school and get jobs. And, and I live in Fort Worth, so it's kind of the western most part of the metroplex,

[00:02:57] Melanie Gibson: and that's where I'm, that's where I wanna stay. Not going to Dallas, not going anywhere bigger than that, so that's how I, that's how I cope with it.

[00:03:05] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah, people, they, they, uh, are on their own tracks nowadays. And you know, you, you advocate for mental health, dealing with mental health is big nowadays, uh, it's got a stigma behind it and nobody wants to address it,

[00:03:24] Ed Watters: talk about it. It's like we've brushed it under a rug and forgot about it and it's just boiled over now. I love one of your videos that you did, was talking about how to bring this up into your employment and your employer, how to talk to your employer about your mental health. Could we talk a little bit about that? Because I think that's so important to be able to talk to people about your mental health.

[00:04:00] Melanie Gibson: Sure, and talking about my mental health was something I never did. Never did it as a, a kid in the eighties and nineties when I was having issues, not that we really had the resource forces for it out in West Texas, and as a perfectionist college student, and grad student, and employee.

[00:04:17] Melanie Gibson: I didn't think I could tell anyone, I, I kept, I know you've read part of my book, and my thing was, well, who's gonna pay rent? Who's gonna buy groceries? I, I thought I had to keep going and so that's why it took me until my early thirties to seek help for it and then another decade or so to start being more public about it.


Melanie Gibson: And in fact, publishing a book really forced me to be open and honest about mental health. I, I, would've never thought I'd be, you know, doing a podcast like yours, talking openly about what I've been through. Um, but it was good because it forced me to be more authentic about who I am and honest about what I need and, and, um, advocating for other people as well. Click to Tweet

[00:04:54] Melanie Gibson: So I, and I went through something, 2021 was a really rough year, [00:05:00] 2020 was bad for us all and 2021 wasn't much better. I think collectively we all had trauma we went through and then individually, I went through a lot of things and people I know went through individual things. And I was really suffering, I'd, I'd had a serious injury, and had surgery, and was recovering from that.

[00:05:16] Melanie Gibson: And of course the world's still in a pandemic and all the stress that comes with that and the state of Texas hasn't been too great about handling some of that. So, and I also work in healthcare, now I'm not a frontline healthcare worker, so I don't wanna take the spotlight from them, but I do work for a healthcare organization.

[00:05:32] Melanie Gibson: And even for the non-clinical folks, it was very stressful. We've gotta do this now, things are changing constantly, we've gotta make everything perfect. And so that on top of other things just sent me into this mental health spiral. So I was already taking medications for, for illnesses I've been diagnosed for

[00:05:50] Melanie Gibson: and I was maintaining for a long time and then I just wasn't. Uh, I, uh, an eating disorder I had popped up again and got really bad and so I finally thought, I've got to get into counseling. If it, if I can't quit my job, then I've gotta get into counseling. And so I did that and I was okay for a while and then just thought I'm still not doing okay.

[00:06:09] Melanie Gibson: So I planned out a discussion with my boss, and I, I wrote an article about it and know you've seen a video I did about it, and, and ideally, it'd be nice if you could plan out the conversation. Sometimes they may just have to happen in the moment, but if you can, I suggest planning it out, writing down your feelings.

[00:06:26] Melanie Gibson: I went through several drafts, cause I think the first one was just a catharsis of how I was feeling. And then I thought, oh, that's not really professional, I'll take some things out. But I also didn't wanna sugarcoat how bad I was doing and so I, I planned the conversation. We did it, we did it virtually, but we did it face to face like you and I are right now,

[00:06:43] Melanie Gibson: and I read the document so I could keep all my thoughts organized. And I talked about, you know, honestly, how I was doing, how I was not faring very well and had a couple of ideas for how they could give me some accommodations or help me. And then I asked her too, and then I, I also kind of gave her some grace and let her take all that information in not expecting a solution right there on the spot, but opening the door for conversation.

[00:07:08] Melanie Gibson: And from that, I was able to get some accommodations. I was able to work from home longer, I was taken off some really high stress projects, so that worked out for me. You know, everybody's relationship with their boss is different. So, you know, unfortunately, there may, there are people out there who are more judgemental and less tolerant so not everybody's gonna have the good experience I did. But I think if you, if you try to plan ahead, know your rights with the Americans With Disabilities Act with whatever your human resources department offers.

[00:07:37] Melanie Gibson: So knowing your rights, planning the conversation, and maybe coming with a few solutions, that can help. That can help keep your thoughts organized, that can help you advocate for what you need, even if it takes a couple of conversations, even if it's an ongoing process.

[00:07:54] Ed Watters: Yeah, I think that's important to have your ducks in a row before you just go into the office. Uh, dealing with mental health issues,

[00:08:02] Ed Watters: I, I know from experience, sometimes we want to push doors open and get our points across and we really don't think about what we're doing before we do it. And that's kind of the weakness with some of this mental health that we deal with. I think everybody has mental health issues, how they identify with them and how they deal with them,

[00:08:31] Ed Watters: we do that different. I know males, a lot of us, we, we deny a lot and we don't want to open up at all because it's considered a weakness. If, if you talk about, oh, you've got a mental health, you're crazy. And, and that's the stigma that we all want to avoid because, you know, in our world right now, there's a lot of

[00:08:59] Ed Watters: push and pull because of the difficulties that we are all going through in our world together right now. And the compiling stigma of mental health and dealing with it in the closet alone, that's, that's not good at all. And I, I know there's an increase in suicides, all of this, because of what you were talking about just a few minutes ago,

[00:09:30] Ed Watters: COVID. How did that actually affect your world and how you thought about dealing with your mental health issues?

[00:09:42] Melanie Gibson: I had this notion that I would be fine and nothing would change. But now when I look back, 2020 was one long manic episode and 2021 was one long depressive episode. And I, I do have bipolar disorder

[00:09:58] Melanie Gibson: so I'm kind of joking when I say that, but also [00:10:00] kind of not, um, because that's, that's truly what I went through. And so at the beginning, now I think back of how, how we were are all just in shock and fear, and wanting information, and then sometimes not wanting information. And, uh, you know, working for a healthcare organization,

[00:10:17] Melanie Gibson: that's magnified too, because, uh, you're, you're immediately thrust into that world. Again, I am not a frontline healthcare worker, so I don't even wanna try to compare what I do to what they do every day. Um, but it's still, it's still stressful for everyone in the organization. Um, it was stressful seeing, you know, the selfishness of people who weren't caring about other people's health or they were clearing out the grocery stores.

[00:10:38] Melanie Gibson: So, um, and also, this was kind of, it's funny now that I think about it, but my, my department was able to work remotely and I was very happy about it. I wasn't happy for the reason, you know, we don't want a global pandemic. But I was so excited about that, that I kind of went nuts with all the things I was gonna do. I was gonna write another book, and I was gonna take a class, and I was gonna clean the house every day,

[00:11:04] Melanie Gibson: and I was gonna do all these things with all this supposedly extra time that I had. And that lasted about a month and a half or so and then I, I just burned out. So, uh, yeah, it was, it was just cycles of burning up and burning out. And, and, uh, then I had a pretty severe injury in July, uh, 2020, I tore my ACL

[00:11:25] Melanie Gibson: doing taekwondo, which, you know, I love as evidenced in my book, but it does come with its risks. So I had a, had a serious injury and surgery and so, um, between the isolation of that, and then being physically debilitated is, that that really severely affected my mental health too. The isolation, um, even though I'm an introvert and social distancing is my jam, that affected it.

[00:11:47] Melanie Gibson: And then I think in 2021, again, there was this naivete with the world, we thought, oh, everything's gonna go back to the way it was, everything's going back to normal, or things will get better. The magic, the, the bad year is over and January 1st, 2021 will magically make everything better, and it didn't.

[00:12:05] Melanie Gibson: And that was my depressive year of, um, just wishing things would get better and they didn't, I coped by restricting food and had a pretty severe case of anorexia. So yeah, to say the pandemic affected my mental health would be an understatement. But in a way it was good because it sent me back into treatment

[00:12:25] Melanie Gibson: and I, I had some long standing issues taken care of.

[00:12:31] Ed Watters: Yeah. It's, it's kind of odd how it takes a pandemic to wake us up sometimes or any big issue in our life. So, you are into tae, taekwondo and you've been doing this forever it seems like, since you were a child, what got you into it?

[00:12:57] Melanie Gibson: So I started when I was about 10 and I don't really remember an overwhelming reason why.

[00:13:03] Melanie Gibson: I just remember telling my parents, I wanna learn karate. I'd probably seen The Karate Kid, this was around 1989 or 1990. So I knew what karate was, I didn't really know what any other martial arts were. And I just, and I wasn't really an athletic kid, I was picked last, you know, one of the kids picked last in P.E., I was a good swimmer,

[00:13:21] Melanie Gibson: that was about it. Not really a team sport kind of person, still not. And so I told my parents, I wanted to learn karate and then one day they said, oh, we signed us all up for taekwondo lessons. So taekwondo is a Korean martial art, it's very similar to karate, they have kind of the same lineage. So it's kicking and punching, strikes, blocks, things like that.

[00:13:38] Melanie Gibson: And, and in our town out in Snyder, which is out between Lubbock and Abilene, there was a taekwondo school. And so we all went for a while, my mom, dad, and younger brother, and I, and it was a, a nice family thing and it was a community thing. Uh, the, the school is still running today and it's a, a big thing that people in the town do.

[00:13:57] Melanie Gibson: So, uh, we, our family doctor was there, kids I knew from school was there, so that was fun. And then for me as a child, I, I kind of fell in love with the discipline of it. I'm a pretty organized, structured person so maybe that just appealed to the way I think about things. And, and I loved it, I loved the seriousness of it and kind of the, the military, the militaristic nature of it.

[00:14:19] Melanie Gibson: I don't know how well I would've done in the actual military, but I liked all the yes, sir and yes, ma'am, and bowing and, and all that stuff, standing in line, very structured. So I really liked that, um, and I probably had the endorphin rush that I didn't understand at the time as a kid, but you know, doing a sport is good for your body,

[00:14:36] Melanie Gibson: it's good for your mind. And I did that for a couple of years and, and we, we all kind of stopped as a family and just life happened. A couple of big life changes happened and I, I got into other things, got into other interests, and I didn't think I would do it again. And it was just a childhood thing. I did taekwondo once, not really interested until around my early thirties. I, I'd already gone through kind of [00:15:00] a dark night of the soul of dealing with suicidal thoughts and issues and, and so getting in to see a therapist, getting on medication, that was good,

[00:15:06] Melanie Gibson: I was at a decent baseline. But around age 33, I was still kind of an emotional hot mess, I was making bad relationship choices, I was abusing alcohol. Uh, my moods were all over the place, I was very angry, I was blaming everybody in the world for my problems and I, I just didn't have my act together. And so I thought I need something drastic

[00:15:27] Melanie Gibson: to kinda shake me out of this funk that I'm in. And, and I thought I'd been thinking about taekwondo at the time. Like, you know, you know, maybe I'll go back to it if I, if this relationship I'm in doesn't work out or things slow down with work. And then one night, I'm probably drunk on whiskey and crying to my parents on the phone,

[00:15:45] Melanie Gibson: and I had this thought of, why not now, why don't I start now. So I did a little internet search and discovered that my Snyder instructors out in west Texas recorded up to a grand master, who's higher ranking than them in Fort worth, Texas, which is where I live now. So he is old scary Korean guy very old school taekwondo. And his school is about five miles from where I live now.

[00:16:09] Melanie Gibson: So that was, and that was the first result that came up when I searched, I thought, okay, this is, this is a fate thing, I've, I've gotta do this. So I signed up with him in 2013 and trained there for several years. And then, uh, for a couple of different reasons, left for another school. And other than being out for a while with a knee injury, I've, you know, it's been a love story ever since then.

[00:16:31] Ed Watters: Well, I'll tell you, I, I love the stability it gives you when you are into some sort of sport or it, it can be anything as long as you dedicate yourself to it. It can be podcasting, you know, as long as, like you stated, discipline, that brings that ability to be accountable for yourself. That's hard in this world,

[00:17:00] Ed Watters: accountability. Uh, When, when you talk about mental health and taekwondo together, how does it fit together and how does it help you with your mental health?

[00:17:19] Melanie Gibson: It helps in several different ways on a physiological aspect. Doing a sport, being active, doing exercise is, is good for your body and it's good for your mind too.

[00:17:31] Melanie Gibson: So just, just from a brain chemistry standpoint, but then also it gave me a distraction. So it got me out of the house a couple of nights a week, it gave me just something to look forward to after a, a long day of pretending to be in the corporate world at work and sitting in a cubicle and, and pretending to adult. It gave me a community of people,

[00:17:52] Melanie Gibson: like-minded people who had the same interest. And even though we were sometimes kind of, you know, competitive with each other, there was always support too. Everybody wanted to see everybody do well at a tournament or a belt test, or everybody gets excited when somebody tests for black belt. So a sense of community.

[00:18:07] Melanie Gibson: And, uh, sometimes it makes you feel so present, especially when I'm fighting, which sparring is not my forte, I've never been very good at it. I hated it when I was a child and I like it as an adult and I don't know how much I'll be able to do after, um, fully recovered from my injury. But I liked it because I,

[00:18:27] Melanie Gibson: nothing has made me feel so present, not meditation, not yoga, but when somebody's trying to kick you in the face, you really can't think about anything else and your mind is just empty and that's a wonderful feeling. And so other, with other mental health aspects, you talked about accountability and I think as I went through time, it gave me goals that I could reach, I could monitor my progress.

[00:18:49] Melanie Gibson: And then mentally and emotionally I was feeling the same things of feeling more accountable for the choices I was making and feeling responsible for how I emotionally responded to something. So say, if you're in a sparing match with somebody, you have to make choices, you have to make choices to react or respond to things.

[00:19:06] Melanie Gibson: And it's kind of, it's the same with your emotions is that something happens, how you choose to respond to that can affect the outcome, it can affect your mental state. And I started to see those connections so much, that's why I started writing about it. That's why I started my blog Little Black Belt in 2014

[00:19:21] Melanie Gibson: and that's eventually why I wrote a book about it.

[00:19:25] Ed Watters: Well, that was my next question is, what brought you to write the book? And what got you into actually writing? Is, is this going to be your only book?

[00:19:38] Melanie Gibson: I hope not. Um, I thought it would be, but then you get the bug for something. And then I, I think I wanna try novels and fiction and something else, maybe another memoir.

[00:19:48] Melanie Gibson: Um, I, I talk about my knee injury so much, I can probably write a book about that. But getting into it, I started my blog because I was having so many ideas and insights. And I, and I've shared this [00:20:00] elsewhere because I really like it, there's a quote by the painter El Greco. And he says, I paint because the spirits whisper madly inside my head.

[00:20:07] Melanie Gibson: And that's why I write, I never wanted to be a writer, I was actually more of a visual artist when I was young. I either wanted to be an animator for Disney or a cartoonist for mad magazine. And I don't draw anymore that, that interest just kind of morphed into writing. And I never really had an aspiration to write a book.

[00:20:22] Melanie Gibson: It just started with the blog and that eventually about a year later, I was getting to the point where I was testing for my black belt and I thought, I think I've got enough of a story here for a book. So the, the desire to write a book came out of having the experience rather than maybe thinking of always wanting to be an author, always wanting to write a book. But it kind of wrapped itself up in a neat little package is that I had this time period,


Melanie Gibson: I had this slice of life with these parallel life lessons that I thought would be helpful to other people, and, and it has been. Click to Tweet
And my, my favorite bits of feedback from readers have, have not really been from the martial artists, even though I love when another martial artist reads the book, it's from people who have said, you know, I've been in a toxic relationship too, or I've had an eating disorder, or I've been depressed, or I've been suicidal,


Melanie Gibson: I felt lonely. And I've, I've been looking for something to take me out of that dark place. And so it makes them feel less alone. That's what I really aim to do with my book, I hope to entertain, hope, hope it's a good piece of writing that people like. But I really want people to feel like they're not alone in their mental health struggles. Click to Tweet

[00:21:28] Melanie Gibson: I've gotten through it, it's not magical, I still have my ups and downs, but I've gotten through the worst of it. And I have something that can get me through worst times to come. And so my hope is that other people can find that thing that can get them through the rough times.

[00:21:43] Ed Watters: Yeah, just hearing about somebody else dealing with, not particularly the same thing, but something very similar, close to what you're dealing with, because we all, you know, we have our own world that we live in and how we process it varies in a very wide range.

[00:22:06] Ed Watters: You, you do YouTube and movie reviews. Uh, talk to us about your YouTube channel, please.

[00:22:14] Melanie Gibson: Oh, sure. So that came out of the great depression of 2021. So I was still feeling depressed, I hadn't gotten back into taekwondo yet. I am now, I'm, I'm back to training again. So I was still in injury, surgery, recovery mode. Work was just,

[00:22:32] Melanie Gibson: it was work. Like my job is good, but sometimes, you know, sometimes it's work. And so I was still feeling depressed and I had, and this is what happens with me, the spirits whisper madly inside my head, I'll get an idea and it'll gnaw at me for a while. And I thought maybe I should do, cause I had done a couple of podcast interviews for publicity for my book

[00:22:49] Melanie Gibson: and that was really fun. I do public speaking for my job, I'm a corporate trainer, so I'm used to that and I like doing it. Um, and then I had a thought of, my boyfriend and I are so funny when we watch movies together, at least we think we're funny. It's that we'll pause and we'll talk about it, and analyze it,

[00:23:07] Melanie Gibson: and we'll wish that we could remember the funny things that we said. So I thought, well, what if we just do, we watch movies a lot, that's something that, that we enjoy doing in our spare time anyway. So I approached him with the idea and I wasn't sure how he would feel about it, cause he'd never done podcasting,

[00:23:21] Melanie Gibson: he wasn't as big on public speaking as I am. But he took it and ran with it, he, he actually is the one who got the YouTube channel going. And we, we do record on Twitch and Discord so people can watch it live if they happen to be on there, we don't really have a consistent time, so that's the only downside. Cause I, I thought, oh, I'll do a, an audio podcast on iTunes, Anchor,

[00:23:43] Melanie Gibson: but he's taken the video part and just run with it. And now he's gotten better at editing so he adds in funny clips, and sound effects, and things like that. So the, the name of it is Movie Pain Or Pleasure? And so we mostly, other than a few good, really good ones, we watch, um, we'll, we'll watch kind of, I say in air quotes, bad movies or cult classics, things like that.

[00:24:04] Melanie Gibson: And we'll decide if they're a hate watch or a guilty pleasure. And, and even with hate watches, even when they make you angry, there's something kind of enjoyable about that. Like, you know, watching a Twilight movie or something where you're just yelling at it and it's awful. Or you have, you know, The Fast and Furious franchise, which is a, a total guilty pleasure and it's ridiculous

[00:24:24] Melanie Gibson: and they're not, they're not good movies but they're so much fun to watch. So, and we just make each other laugh. So that's, so now we've gotten into things like wearing outfits that kind of go along with the, uh, the movie. Uh, we, we've, we, uh, reviewed the Robin Hood movie from 2018, which was terrible.

[00:24:41] Melanie Gibson: And we both wore hoodies and bandanas over our faces. Uh, I just made him watch his first Bollywood movie so he did his hair and his sunglasses like the main character. Uh, so we've had a lot of fun with it. And, and what I like about that is, is as a recovering perfectionist, I'm not trying too hard with this [00:25:00] project. Like with my book,

[00:25:02] Melanie Gibson: I edited that thing over and over and over again. And with this one, I do some editing with the podcast, but it's like, it's just, it's just meant to be funny. I'm not trying to make money off of it, I, I'm not trying to, to really do anything with it, but just have fun and I can just be myself. And that's what I really wanted.

[00:25:18] Melanie Gibson: Cause I was on this search for authenticity and I thought I am not myself at my job, I'm not myself. Even when I'm being super serious and talking about mental health, I need something where I can just be stupid and funny. And so that's how Movie Pain Or Pleasure? Got started. And, Uh, we have an Instagram, so people can look at our pictures on there.

[00:25:35] Melanie Gibson: And, um, I think we're about 25 episodes in, at the, at the time where you and I are recording this podcast. We'll have hopefully many more to go, we have lots of ideas and we try to get one out every week. So it's just, uh, it's tons of fun.

[00:25:50] Ed Watters: Yeah, the costume play there, you know, just bringing in the costumes with it. And you guys do real well with it,

[00:26:00] Ed Watters: I, I enjoy it.

[00:26:01] Melanie Gibson: Thank you.

[00:26:01] Ed Watters: It's kind of,

[00:26:02] Melanie Gibson: Thank you.

[00:26:02] Ed Watters: Uh, very, very interesting how you guys put that together. How, how is it working with your boyfriend?

[00:26:09] Melanie Gibson: Pretty good. Hopefully it stays that way or we won't have a podcast anymore. So, yeah. And, and, and I'm glad you watch it too, because we have, our parents watch it faithfully, but we, we're not sure how many other people watch it.

[00:26:23] Melanie Gibson: So, you know, we have fun,

[00:26:26] Ed Watters: That's what it's about.

[00:26:27] Melanie Gibson: We're always thinking ahead of, we'll start watching a movie and think, should we take notes on this? And now when we're watching a movie, we think, okay, are we, are we on the clock or can we just watch this for fun? so now it's a balance of when we watch movies just for fun

[00:26:40] Melanie Gibson: and when we're doing something that we know we need to take notes and prepare for with the podcast. So I'm glad you enjoy it.

[00:26:47] Ed Watters: Well, actually, when you're doing something like that, it takes up that dead space in your time and you don't have to think about other things a lot of the time. So having something to do like that is pretty awesome.

[00:27:03] Ed Watters: And to have support, that's big, when, when other people support you doing what you love to do. So what are your plans coming up for, Melanie?

[00:27:18] Melanie Gibson: So continuing to publicize my book, it's a, it's an ever evolving process and, and a book is a living thing. And, and the people in my author group and I, all reminded ourselves, is that the book doesn't disappear a month after your release date.

[00:27:32] Melanie Gibson: So, mine released April 20 of 21 or 2021, and I'm still promoting it a year later and I'll continue to for the rest of my life, hopefully. And so now I'm, I'm finding other ventures for writing, writing articles, going on podcasts, thinking about writing more books, maybe trying my hand at fiction. So that's, that's where I see myself going with writing.

[00:27:55] Melanie Gibson: Um, I, I published my memoir with a small independent press. And now I'm thinking about trying something different, maybe just self-publishing some novels, just for fun, just to get them out there. Um, the publishing process was, it was worth it to go, I am glad I went through this the first time, you know, having my hand held through the process the entire time.

[00:28:14] Melanie Gibson: And I think, well, maybe next time, maybe I'll try something different. I, I've got, uh, friends who self-publish and, and they've done well. And of course it, it can be a little more cost effective, so I may try that. So, uh, and my boyfriend's also a writer too, so I'm trying to get him to get his first book out and we were actually working on a, a novel together.

[00:28:33] Melanie Gibson: And this is another thing, like the podcast came out of a really dark time, we started writing together out of a really horrible event. So in, in February, 2021, we had snowpocalypse in Texas and I think everybody heard about that. It, it was, it was awful, it was the worst natural disaster I've ever lived through.

[00:28:52] Melanie Gibson: And so here in Fort worth, it was about three degrees outside and maybe 50 inside my house because I did not have power for about 24 hours. And I was a lot luckier than other people, the pipes did not burst and, and the, the power came back on after about a day or so. But for a while, we were sitting there with all the blankets, all the clothes, you know, trying to save our phone power,

[00:29:14] Melanie Gibson: so we weren't on our phones, didn't have any electronics. We had headaches cause we didn't have any coffee cause, you know, coffee maker's electric. And then finally I looked at him, I said, didn't you say one time you did this thing in your creative writing class where a person would write a page of a story and then hand it off to the next person?

[00:29:32] Melanie Gibson: He'd done that in high school and I said, let's do that, let's just start writing a book. So we had little yellow pads and just started writing a story and, and we haven't touched it in a couple of months, but, um, that was something fun that just, that came out of a really bad time. So maybe for me, I have to go through some rough things to, to come up with creative, creative ideas or, or breakthrough,

[00:29:56] Melanie Gibson: sometimes we just have to go through those hard times. So that's, uh, [00:30:00] hopefully you'll see him publish some books too. So I think that, that's, we've got a lot of writing projects on the horizon, more with the podcasts too.

[00:30:08] Ed Watters: Well, that's wonderful. Uh, what call to action do you have for our listeners today?

[00:30:15] Melanie Gibson: My call to action is for you to put your mental health first.

[00:30:20] Melanie Gibson: It's okay to not feel okay and it's okay to ask for help. Our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health and taking care of our bodies. So mine would be, do some self care, give yourself some grace if you're having a hard time, whether you have had a past with mental health or not, or mental illness or not, it doesn't matter,

[00:30:40] Melanie Gibson: we all have minds. Mental health is for everybody so be an advocate for your own mental health.

[00:30:48] Ed Watters: That's powerful. Uh, Melanie, thank you so much for being part of the Dead America Podcast and I really enjoyed talking with you today.

[00:30:57] Melanie Gibson: I did too, thank you.

[00:31:03] Ed Watters: Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.