There's a stigma around mental health disorders, and Shelby Holmberg is looking to break it.
Holmberg, the owner of Birds of a Feather Pet Boutique and Lounge in Mitchell, has been battling bipolar disorder for several years. Her battle still continues with the mental health disease today, but now she is sharing her path to healing with the world in her first-ever book called "Battling Bipolar."
"I kind of decided to write for me and writing to get through what I'm going through," Holmberg said. "I decided if I shared it with people, we would kind of break that stigma of mental illness that you're incapable because you're mentally ill. Just because you're mentally ill, doesn't mean you can't do what you want to do."
"Battling Bipolar" is a memoir based on Holmberg's health, from the hurt to the healing, she said, which all began when she was diagnosed at 17 years old. Holmberg is now 23.
The writing of the book began approximately four or five years ago, Holmberg estimated, as writing helped her through the tough times she was battling with her disorder. She never had any intention of publishing or even letting anyone else read her deepest thoughts.
But, she had a realization that someone else, going through the same problems as she, could benefit from the book. And so she published.
"It's very honest," Holmberg said. " ... I got diagnosed at 17 and I remember thinking I can't do anything now because I'm bipolar. My life was over. But it definitely wasn't over and that was kind of the beginning of everything for me."
The 85-page book is not an "easy read," Holmberg said, and she suggests that any readers be at least high school age or older.
The book is available on Amazon, in several Barnes & Noble stores and online, as well as through Google Play and Apple iBooks. Holmberg hopes to get the book in local stores, too.
Holmberg said a big part of the book discusses family, and how her parents, who are also her best friends, had no idea what was going on or how to help with what she was going through.
She said it wasn't their fault, and she hopes other families who are going through similar issues, will pick up the book and realize this, too.
"They had no idea the severity of it," Holmberg said of her parents. "I hope I can reach out to families who have someone like that and help them understand it's nothing you did wrong in your parenting style. It's not anything you did ... I just needed someone who was going through what I was going through."