Q1: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Patti Linsky. 59 1/2 year old woman, mom, wife, recovering alcoholic and prescription pain pill addict. A member of the clergy, performer, singer/songwriter, survivor of emotional and child abuse. Published writer (as of Shades of Blue!).
Q2: When were you first open about your depression (anxiety, suicide attempt, etc)?
In 1996, I was in an automobile accident resulting in severe back and neck injuries. Soon after, I underwent surgery - my doctor accidentally cut a nerve in my leg. Following was over a decade of descent into painkillers and alcohol in an effort to mask my physical and emotional pain. In 2007, I entered, and remain, in recovery — it was in rehab that I finally came to terms that i needed to heal.
I had been the Cantor at Temple Ahavat Shalom for over 24 years when a botched operation derailed my plans and dreams for the future. Following a lengthy recuperation, I realized that a consequence of my surgery, which nearly took my life, was that my singing voice had been compromised and I would no longer be able to perform my duties as Cantor and would have to relearn how to sing. In 2010, I became Cantor Emerita of our congregation -- in other words, I had no choice but to retire.
I was forced to look within, "If I am not a Cantor, then who am I?" With that question, I embarked on a spiritual quest, searching for my next chapter. I actively chose to be open to every possibility. In doing so, I enrolled in a Woman's Empowerment Course in which I was asked to write a bucket list. One of the ten items stood out and hit a resonant chord -- I wanted to perform a one-woman show so that I could tell my story. This creation, I felt, would feed my soul and the souls of those who were also struggling, find strength and vision, but also empower others to believe that they are "enough.” The show is entitled Altar EGO.
Q3: How has your writing helped your recovery?
Writing has been the one journey to get the chaos out of my head and onto a tangible piece of paper. It has opened my heart and given me a language I didn’t know I had. It was because of Amy Ferris and her first Writer’s Workshop in Colorado that I discovered and was so encouraged by her gentle yet so resolute mentoring that indeed, I could do this, I can do this - I have done this.
Q4: What do you hope readers of Shades of Blue learn from reading the essays contained in the book?
My hope and prayer for those who read our book and connect even to one sentence of it is that they are not alone. That they can ask for help, and hold on. Hold on. When we are in the funk before the miracle occurs there isn’t perspective. This is why I truly believe with my entire heart and soul that Shades of Blue is a remarkable anchor for those who feel like they are drowning in a sea of depression, mental illness, shame and everything to which they are afraid to give voice.
Q5: Where can people find you on social media? (Twitter, FB author page, Instagram, etc)
Facebook: Patti Linsky Altar EGO