Q and A with Author Rebecca Hilliard of ‘A World Locked Away’

“You do not have to struggle alone.”

This is a statement from Rebecca Hilliard’s safe space Instagram account that many people cling to every single day.

The Author’s Instagram page (inthistogethernow_), provides a place for support and a connection to being understood.

Hilliard unselfishly and unapologetically shares her feelings and experiences, inspiring many.

The accomplished writer opens the doors to her life in her new bookA World Locked Away‘.

There are those things that happen in life that we never talk about. Dark things. Painful things. Things that we hide away so no one can see. Things that we pretend donít exist. We cover them up with smiles and laughter. We cover up our pain and our heartache. Somehow these things have come to be seen as weaknesses. We have correlated authenticity with rejection. The things that we avoid talking about the most seem to be the most important to talk about. Things like anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide. These things carry fear, secrecy, and shame and as a result they are not often talked about. In “A World Locked Away” a young woman opens up about her experiences with these things and her journey in working through them.

In a society where we are constantly trying to break down barriers of stigma towards mental health, pages like Hilliard’s open doors to a world unseen by many. We were so inspired by her page and always feel so supported, we wanted to get to know the talented writer better.

Q: Tell me about yourself.

A: I grew up in South Florida where it’s very HOT but also very beautiful.  I love to be outside whether it’s longboarding, biking, swimming, or just walking my dog.  My passion is to be an advocate for mental health awareness and to help those who are struggling with mental illness.  My dream is to be able to write more books about mental illness and to travel and speak.  The mental illnesses I’ve struggled with are an eating disorder, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, anxiety, depression, and Dissociative Identity Disorder.  I’m currently in therapy, working through my childhood trauma! 

Q: What inspired you to start writing?

A: I have always LOVED writing.  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  Ever since I was a little kid.  I would sit in my room and write stories for hours and I loved it.  I’ve had the love for it my whole life.  It became an outlet for me when I started struggling with mental illness.  Before then it was just stories but when I started struggling the words came out in poetry.  I used to really struggle with self harm and instead of taking my anger and emotions out on myself I learned to write about what I was feeling.  I put it into words instead of marks on my body and it helped me so much.  Struggling with mental illness is so hard and incredibly painful and writing has really helped me through the recovery process.

Q: Your social media is beautiful. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s informative.
Where do you gather your thoughts for your posts each day?

My posts come from whatever is going on in my heart.  I usually write what I, myself, need to hear and when I post them it turns out a lot of other people needed to hear it as well!  I try to be as authentic as possible in my posts.

Q: What inspired you to create this safe haven for individuals struggling?

A: Struggling with a mental illness can be so lonely and scary.  Ever since I started struggling I wanted to help others too.  I want others to know that they aren’t alone and that we can get through this together.  Mental illness can be so isolating and I wanted to create a safe space where we could all come together to support each other.

Q: Your amazing book ‘A World Locked Away’ gives us insights to your experiences and how you work through them. When did you decide to write a book?

A: I wrote ‘A World Locked Away’ when I was in treatment for my eating disorder.  I wasn’t planning on it becoming a book but rather I was writing the poetry to get my thoughts, emotions, and feelings out.  It was my saving grace during treatment.  Once I got out of treatment I thought that maybe others could find encouragement and hope through what I wrote or at least feel less alone in their struggle.  I am working on my next book now. 

Q: What would be some advice you could give to those struggling?

A: The main advice I would give is to find support.  Find people who understand what you are going through.  Get help.  Even if you can only do it through social media. There is a ton of support on social media for those struggling with mental illness and a really awesome community.  I would also recommend seeing a therapist!  My therapist literally saved my life and helped me get out of a really dark place.  And finally, to never ever give up.  There is always hope, even if you can’t feel it.

We encourage you to follow Rebecca Hilliard on Instagram @inthistogethernow_ and order her book online here!