Basingstoke Team Parish

Madeline Dyer: PoTS won't stop me being a writer!


From a young age, I always had some strange symptoms--symptoms that doctors could never provide an answer for, and symptoms that many believed were psychological. When I was 17, these symptoms suddenly got a lot worse and I began fainting regularly. It was only when I was 19, that I got diagnosed with both Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3, and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome--being told that the former had caused the latter. 

I'm now 20, and learning to live with these conditions has been quite difficult at times. In many ways, these syndromes significantly limit what I can physically do, and having been a rather sporty person up until the age of 13, I found it hard when I suddenly found myself not able to move around much without fainting or dislocating my joints. And this, I'm sure, is where my writing comes in. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved reading and writing. And especially after my diagnoses, writing became very important to me. Creating worlds where anything can happen became a method of escapism for me, a way to cope with the dramatic change of events in my life. It doesn't matter that I'm physically limited by PoTS, because my imagination is getting stronger. My characters now do all the things that I want to do—but can't. I suppose I've started living through my writing, and imagination, in many ways. 
By the age of 16, I was definitely writing seriously, and had my first short story published. I knew I wanted to be a full-time writer. No, I needed to be.

Writing helps me so much. It’s not something I can just stop doing; it’s part of me, and always will be.

I’m now 20. And on May 20th 2015, Prizm Books published my first book, after I signed a book deal with them the year before. UNTAMED is a YA dystopian fantasy novel about addiction, survival, and family loyalty--and just writing about a main character who survives against all odds gave me a lot of hope, even though my struggle is very different to hers. In fact, my main character and I are very different (and so is the situation--thankfully we don't live in the Untamed World, where people are trying to destroy our emotions and make us into robots!). But I wanted to write about somebody surviving in a harsh world--even though, in the eyes of others, that person is the most least likely candidate to survive. I wanted to show that it is possible--it can be done!

And this is something that a lot of readers have picked up on, saying that they loved how my main character is flawed, yet they can see how her struggle has made her stronger, and that people who physically aren't that strong, or aren't very confident, can be survivors too. And this pleased me a lot, as I like to think this applies to chronic illness patients too! 
And I still can’t believe that my book is out there, with a publisher, available in paperback and ebook from Amazon and most major retailers. The whole thing still seems so surreal! But it has boosted my confidence. 
I’m so happy that despite having POTS, I can still write, and people are actually reading my book(!). Of course, POTS does it make difficult to write as I still have days where I can't sit up easily without fainting or nearly fainting, but I know that I also have times where I can still write 12,000 words in a day. And that I can still be a writer. 

Most of all, writing has given me back some of the confidence I lost when I developed POTS; I now tell myself that it’s my ability as a writer that defines me, not my illnesses.

Further info on my writing can be found at:

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