Interview with the author Suzie Newell
What is your best mental health tip you want everyone to know from your book?
You never have to be perfect at any of this. You just have to keep getting back up.
What was your inspiration behind writing The Path 365?
My sister had died of an overdose after a lifelong struggle with narcotics. I began working with women with substance use disorder on the obstetric unit where I worked, because I knew I needed to do something. I didn’t understand why I had struggled with things and gotten better and she was just crippled by shame. I returned to university to get my doctorate, focusing on the neuroscience behind coping mechanisms for women. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I decided that these coping mechanisms were good for everyone. Everyone seemed to be struggling with the shutdowns and isolation. The process of keeping those feel good hormones active isn’t an overnight job. It is a process, a path, if you will. I knew I could help.
Your book has 365 messages, one for each day, do you have a favorite message?
Be The Change
Ghandi was really on to something there!
When you look around you and feel empowered
and you feel nothing but love for you and everyone else,
then you are truly on the Path. You get to be an example to the world; to demonstrate to others how to
be feet first on the Journey. You don’t have to teach them how to be better. It’s much more simple than that.
You get to show them they can choose to make changes for themselves. They can embrace those changes no matter who they are. You (yes, you yourself ) get to illustrate through your own personal Journey how to move through life, and truly learn to love it. If you are lucky, you are connected to something bigger than you.
You get to give back this gift of freedom, compassion, and love
to everyone you meet simply by being the change you want to see.
You can still cuss. ( Just don’t cuss at someone). You can still fall. ( Just don’t stay down)
This is essential for moving forward.
And you can always change up your Path if you need.
What comes next?
The Journey is yours, and you get to choose which Path you are on. Choose wisely, or don’t. But walk with confidence onto the next trail, because you cannot fail.
Can I take today and celebrate myself and my Journey?
We see a rise in mental health awareness, but do you believe that awareness is positive or negatively affecting people?
I think awareness is definitely positive. I am frustrated, though, that we don’t have the capacity as a health care system to address mental health as HEALTH. We know certain hormone levels are inextricably linked to mental health, yet we don’t address that. We know certain activities could serve as therapy to build these hormones over time, yet we default to medication, because it is easy. The research around this is clear on so many issues, but our health care system isn’t set up to treat mental health as a brain rehab. We send people who have strokes through months or years of physical therapy. The same should be true for mental health issues. Instead we tend to treat it like a shameful social service problem.
Why do you think your book resonates with readers?
It is daily. It is down to earth. It has practical advice. It allows you to create your own path. You can have any background, any issue, any goal, and use this book to move through it.
Your book is beautifully designed, was the books visual appearance an important process for you and why?
The art work was a part of the initial concept. I looked around and thought, this book should be something you want to place on your coffee table, bedside table, or even in a waiting room. It sounds hokey, but I wanted people to treasure it. As I mentioned, COVID-19 isolation was in full swing. I had access to a team of artists who suddenly had a lot of free time. I was lucky enough to have Madeline Jaina, the creative director, assemble a team with Frankie Terrone as the illustrator and Mac Craighead as the editor. Matthew Vonderlin edited and is finishing the audible portion as well. I worked very closely with them to execute my vision. I think we are all very happy with the outcome. From the work Madeline and Mac did on page placement to the beautiful illustrations, it looks like poetry to me. I handed them 365 entries and they handed me a work of art.
Visit: @thepath365 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.