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  • Writer's pictureErika Nichols-Frazer

Feeding the Good Wolf

My memoir, Feed Me comes out in December 2022 from Casper Press. It's about my bipolar disorder, my eating disorder, trauma, and addiction, all told through the lens of food, which has the power to heal.

Here's an excerpt of my author's note:

"There’s a proverb typically attributed to the Cherokee or Lenape people—though the exact origin is unknown--in which a grandfather tells his grandchild that there is a fight raging inside each of us. It is between two wolves—a dark, evil wolf who represents anger, sorrow, guilt, and self-doubt; and a good wolf who represents light, hope, joy, kindness, and compassion. “Which wolf will win?” asks the child. “The one you feed,” the elder says.

I think this describes bipolar disorder quite well. All these strong emotions battling against each other, pulling you in opposing directions, consuming you. Whichever you feed gets stronger, overtakes your whole body. Devours you. There are days, months, years when the wolf of doubt and guilt and self-loathing takes over, but the wolf of happiness and love will always fight back, if you feed it. Just like your body and mind, that good wolf needs nourishment to thrive.

I return to this parable when I feel the wolves raging inside and remind myself to choose the light. Of course, anyone who has experienced mental illness can share the frustration of being told you should just choose to be happy, as if it’s that easy. No one would be suffering from depression if that was so simple a choice. But, whatever your struggles, you can learn to feed the wolf of light and happiness, even in small measurements, and remind yourself of joy and love—past, present, and future. You can feed yourself.

Of course, this duality isn’t just experienced by those with bipolar disorder, but by all of us; we all contain light and dark and must learn to balance them, to feed the right parts of ourselves. To survive.

This book is for anyone who has ever struggled with mental illness or addiction or loved someone who has. It is for anyone who wants to learn about these struggles and offer more empathy and understanding to those battling every day. It is for those who have had difficulties in their relationships (who hasn’t?), particularly those for whom mental illness has impacted their connections to others. It is for those who have experienced trauma. It is for anyone who needs to know they are not alone. Whatever your struggles may be, you can feed yourself and that good wolf."

Preorder details soon--stay tuned.

*image "GeoWolf" by Michael Buxton, Wayfair

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