By Faith Bemiss The Sedalia Democrat, Sedalia, Mo.
Writing a book isn't what Whitney B. Cromley set out to do when she began writing a blog due to medical and mental health issues several years ago.
Cromley, of Sedalia, is announcing the publication of her book "A Life of Blessed Chaos My Daily Journey of Faith, Family and the Love of Coffee" today on social media. The book will be released March 12.
"I've been blogging for about eight years, and I've been asked several times 'when are you going to write a book?'" she said Thursday. "I never set out to write one, but it just kind of happened."
Much of the book is taken from her blog "Blessed Chaos," but there is also new material as well. In the past three years, 63,000 viewers have read her blog.
Cromley's journey into blogging was suggested by her therapist. She decided to place issues down on paper and share them in the blog; doing this helped her realize others have problems they deal with every day too. No one is really alone.
"I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder," she said. "I wrote (my thoughts) down for myself and then as time went on I posted it on Facebook ... and from there the blog just kind of blew up. I realized that talking about mental illness was important, so that was my mission for awhile. Then it just transpired ... I lost my best friend to cancer a year ago, and I spent a lot of time the year before she passed away blogging about that."
This past year has also seen some "darkness" for Cromley. She said she believes the dark moments also need to be "talked about" because often people refuse to deal with or mask depression.
"Grief, depression, the real things, (people) don't want to address them," she noted. "I feel like I my personality is OK with addressing them -- I'm a rule breaker. So, it's like society says, 'we shouldn't talk about that.' It makes me want to talk about it even more.
"I have found in writing those things, that if you will open the door, people will walk through it," she added. "Writing is the one place I can be me, 100 percent."
Although she has faced dark times, her faith in God has remained her life preserver.
"My faith in God is why I'm still afloat in this crazy world," she added. "The days are often dark, but he is always the light."
The book will be a 40/60 combination of blogs she has written and material never published.
"It's really just a plethora of topics," Cromley said. "I'm a busy mom, a wife, I work, we've got the Bi-Polar, we've got the grief. It's all sandwiched into a little book."
Like many women, Cromley stays busy with family and a job. She has a 12-year-old son and twin 6-year-old daughters and she works from home in social media marketing. Much of her book deals with issues women face.
"A lot of my work stems around (my children) and their chaos," she added.
She said she selected the title for the blog and the book because "life is chaotic."
"It's easy to focus on that, but you have to find the blessings in the middle," she added. "Even though it's a chaotic world we live in and we're always running, running, running, I just have to find the blessings in that."
Cromley, a graduate of Northwest High School in Hughesville, said she was told at 16 she might have Bi-Polar Disorder. At the time it was too much for a teenager to absorb. A friend also mentioned it to her eight to nine years ago.
"I looked up the symptoms and I had 15 out of 16," she noted. "I was like, 'all right, that might be an issue.'"
It wasn't until she had a "break" due to a small infraction by her husband Kurt Cromley, over cleaning off a kitchen counter, that she decided to get help.
"It was really after the birth of my girls that I had a break one night," she said. "... Reality hit me at that moment, so I went to the doctor the next day. I've been on medication ever since. It's a normal life, it can be treated."
She added that there are still highs and lows, but not like before. The book has helped her be more in tune with her emotions and in turn Cromley is hoping that those reading her book will "realize we are are dealing with the same things."
"More than anything ... I've helped myself writing this book," she said.
She's found that this past year, others, like herself, may feel alone when dealing with grief or depression but that's not the case.
"When you are willing to write about that and make it public, you'll find that everyone's in the boat with you," she noted. "So, I've helped myself in that regard ... but if I do help somebody so that they feel like for the first time they are not alone I guess that would be the ultimate goal."
Cromley's blog, "Blessed Chaos" can be found at cromley5.blogspot.com.
Blessed Chaos" can also be found also on Facebook and Twitter. She will have a Launch Party for her book, "A Life of Blessed Chaos My Daily Journey of Faith, Family and the Love of Coffee" at 2:30 p.m. March 12 at the Heckart Family Center, 903 S. Ohio Ave.
The book will be available, in hard copy and on Kindle, March 12 on Amazon.com.