After growing up battling mental health issues and family problems, junior Alex Fischler published his first nonfiction book, “In Need of Love: Anxiety, Depression, and My Personal Battle for a Life with Meaning” in August.
Fischler said his book begins with his own personal experiences living with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and an unsupportive family.
“This is my story, my memoir, my first 20 years here being alive,” Fischler said. “All of it happened. All of it is truth.”
Fischler offers his advice to people who are struggling with similar issues in the second half of “In Need of Love.” The book is available on Amazon, and he said it could move into stores in the upcoming months.
Fischler said his parents’ divorce when he was 8 years old marked the beginning of the obstacles he would have to overcome.
“I figured two Christmases, two Thanksgivings, two Halloweens sounds good to me,” Fischler said. “It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. They moved two doors down from each other, so they were literally right next to each other. Kind of a weird arrangement, probably not the healthiest in the world.”
His father remarried and divorced again. Fischler said in the book his mother remarried someone who was abusive to him and his two younger brothers, leading Fischler to leave his mother and move in with his father.
“He took me in when I left my mom’s,” Fischler said. “I called and said, ‘I’m done, I can’t live here anymore. It’s killing me.’ He got me into therapy and was with me every step of the way.”
Fischler also said the woman he plans to marry, Brenda Lee, offered him support.
“She was amazing, too,” Fischler said. “She’s been a rock for me.”
On top of the problems within his family, Fischler said he was diagnosed with major depression at the age of 16.
“It’s never really going to go away, but I can treat it the best I can,” Fischler said. “There’s methods and ways I can go about that, but it’s definitely a battle. It’s a fight. You don’t know what Alex is going to show up: the one with high energy or the one with low, so that’s definitely a challenge.”
In the following months after leaving his mother’s house, Fischler said he came close to committing suicide.
But thinking about his brothers motivated him to not go through with it.
“I was very close,” Fischler said. “It was very freaking close. But I couldn’t take away my brothers. They both really look up to me, so I couldn’t take that away from them. That would have been so devastating to them. I almost didn’t do it for myself. I did it for them to be honest.”
Though Fischler found himself thinking of his brothers during a dark time in his life, he was thinking about his own future as well.
“I’m very big on goals. I love setting goals,” Fischler said. “And I thought there’s no reason to end a life that has a lot of potential.”
Fischler said he has been in therapy for five or six years working through his problems. It was in therapy where the idea of writing a book originated.
“My therapist said that my life and times are pretty complex, so it would be an interesting story to tell and a lot of people could relate to it,” Fischler said. “So I said, ‘Why not?’”
“In Need of Love” was a five to six year project for Fischler. He said he began journaling when he was 15 in his first year of therapy, and the book was completed in July 2013.
He said writing the book was “very challenging.”
“It’s not like it’s a fiction piece. It’s a nonfiction piece,” Fischler said. “So you’re writing about your own painful experiences that you went through and you’re going through several edits, and you’re trying to read it as objectively as you can, but you can’t because it’s you. So that makes it tough.”
Fischler said the message he wants to spread to others going through similar issues is to simply reach out, don’t isolate yourself, and talk to whoever you can.
Fischler has three more books guaranteed in his book deal with Duffin Creative. Unlike “In Need of Love,” he said his next books would be fiction stories based off members of his family.
“It’s motivating,” Fischler said. “I want to write another one. I’m exhausted right now. I’ll tell you that I’m completely drained. I don’t know how I’m getting through school. Once I get the energy to start writing again, I’ll definitely keep going.”