11/30/2016 12:55 EST | Updated 11/30/2016 12:55 EST

The Real Reason Why I Write

David Gould via Getty Images

Writing saved my life.

Without it, I wouldn't be here.

It's really that simple.

While that may sound a little somber, stay with me as I elaborate.

Last year, I fell into a deep depression. The deepest, darkest hole I've ever fallen into. It was triggered by a car accident. I was in physical rehabilitation from the accident and suddenly all of my old hurts started coming up.

Sexual assault. Bullying. Addiction. Trauma upon trauma upon trauma.

It compounded the depression and anxiety. I found myself crying on the creaky hardwood floor of my rented apartment, wondering what the hell I was going to do. I didn't see a way out. I didn't want to feel this way anymore.

Let's pause for a moment. I don't want you to bleed with me or to pity me. But I also don't want to gloss over my reality. And the truth is, beneath the shiny photos you see on the Internet, I'm still a work in progress. We are all. I'm not perfect. Like all of us, I'm doing the best I can. Making the best choices I can, day after day. Back to the evening when I found myself lying in a crumpled heap on the floor of my hallway.

What happened next? I started writing.

Perhaps it sounds bizarre, but there was a TV show I absolutely loved. Gotham. It was dark. Violent. And sometimes, downright weird. I lapped it up. Every episode. It was my therapy. I started writing fan fiction. I loved it. It provided a beautiful paradise of escape from the thoughts swimming in my head.

I talked to fellow members of the fandom. Fellow writers. Fan artists. Talented video montage editors and our beloved gif-makers. We all had our stuff. Our hurt, our pain. And we all accepted one another. I continued to write. I shared stories under a pen name. The depression started to lift. I started to feel like myself again.

After completing a four-part fan fiction totaling around 12,000 words, I sat there at my dining room table in my one-bedroom apartment and I had an idea. It hit me like a thunderbolt.

She's an assassin... she's called Angel... she uses her sexuality as a superpower... and she takes men from their beds in the middle of the night... then she falls for one of her targets...

It excited me more than anything I've ever known. "I would LOVE to write this!" I enthused.

Next? Enter my old foe, self-doubt.

"I can't write that," I sighed, frustrated with the inspiration gods for mocking me with such a fun idea. "Don't give this to me. I'm not your gal."

It wouldn't leave me alone. Blindly, I continued writing, having no idea where it would lead. I didn't know I would publish it but, to make a lengthy story more succinct, after much resistance on my part I finally made the decision to complete the manuscript and publish the book under my own name. No pen name. No hiding on the deep bowels of the internet. What a concept.

And so here we are. The day before the release of said book. Here's the funny thing. It's not even about the story anymore. Sure, readers will enjoy the twists and turns. Yes, it's about two incredibly damaged people and I see myself in both of them.

But that's not my real motivation.

I wrote it to help people. To help people escape their reality, if only for a moment. To give them a place to belong. A place to talk about this fictional world. A place where they can meet other people and forge friendships and strong bonds that give them everything they need to heal. The very same thing that saved me last year.

If the story provides this to just one person, I've done my job.

Never underestimate the power of fiction. When you find a story that moves you, it changes you. It makes you feel something. It offers a fresh perspective, a different outlook. It helps you to escape the dark thoughts festering in the furthest reaches of your mind.

And I truly don't believe it's too grandiose to say.

Writing saves lives.

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