Q1: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I retired as a Homicide investigator after 29 years of police work with San Francisco Police Department. My retirement was earlier than I had planned, because after being diagnosed, and treated for breast cancer, I decided that life was short and it was time to pursue my dream of writing.
My book, Good Cop, Bad Daughter-memoirs of an unlikely police officer is the story of how being raised by a bipolar mother inadvertently trained me to be a police officer. I have been married 25 years, and have three children, including an adopted daughter who was the subject of a the essay, “The Road to Kyra.” We live in Northern California.
Q2: When were you first open about your depression (anxiety, suicide attempt, etc)?
While working as a police officer, there were few people I could share my story with. As we all know, cops are notorious for stuffing our feelings, cowboying, or cowgirling up, and pretending we are just fine. It’s not surprising so many of us eventually explode. Police departments are becoming more aware of the emotional price cops pay, and there are now many resources available to support those of us experiencing PTSD. But for years, most of us just soldiered on. I really couldn’t be open about my whole story until I left policing, five years ago.
Q3: How has your writing helped your recovery?
Writing Good Cop allowed me to see the big picture of my life. I saw my life as a tapestry, as Carole King describes it, and each of the stitches was necessary to bring me to the place I am in now. Writing the essay “Thorazine” for Shades of Blue caused me to see that my suicide attempt, which occurred when I was fifteen, was really more an attempt to escape my abusive mother, than a desire to die.
Depression has been a part of my life since the beginning. As I say in my book, “I was committed to a mental hospital before I was born,” in utero. If there is a genetic component to depression, I no doubt inherited it, but I am one of the fortunate ones for whom medication actually works.
Q4: What do you hope readers of Shades of Blue learn from reading the essays contained in the book?
My hope is that readers, especially those who struggle with suicidal ideation, will say, “okay, I will wait and see. I will not leave before the movie is over. It got better for them, maybe it will get better for me.” I hope they will consider trying the various medications, which improve constantly.
When my son was four, we had to leave a wedding because it was getting late. The cake had not been cut, and when we got in the car, my son was very mad that we had left. He said, “when I get married, no one is going to leave until we’ve all had cake!” So, what I’m saying is, please stay, I promise there will be cake, and some day you will have an appetite for it.
Q5: Where can people find you on social media? (Twitter, FB author page, Instagram, etc)
I pretty much live on Facebook, under my name, Karen Lynch, and my Twitter account is: @baddaughter18. I’m working on a webpage as we speak.