FAIRBORN — Through its raw honesty and powerful storytelling, a memoir by a Fairborn author has has been named by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group as one of the best indie books of the year.
“Born Under the Gaslight” by Cindy Collins is a finalist of the Memoir category in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. According to its website, the Indie Book Awards is the world’s largest book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors, and accepts submissions from authors worldwide.
“Born Under the Gaslight” is Collins’ debut work, which she entered in both the Memoir and First Book categories.
“I thought if anything I’d get the First Book category, and I was bowled over that I won in the Memoir category,” she said.
Prior to being featured by the Indie Book Awards, her book became a No. 1 bestseller in personality disorders on Amazon in the United States, UK, and Germany. “Born Under the Gaslight” was also featured in the Ohioana Book Festival 2021. Her story has resonated with thousands of readers.
“A lot of people say it’s because of the brutal honesty of the book,” she said. “It’s not sugarcoated. It packs a punch.”
Collins’ memoir revolves around her story of surviving childhood abuse and the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) she developed as a result. Her experience led to a life of homelessness, drug abuse, and eventually recovery through dialectic behavioral therapy.
“It’s a survivor story,” she said. “People say ‘It moves so fast, it’s one thing to another,’ but that’s what my life was like.”
Choosing to write and publish her memoir was a challenge all its own.
“I was nervous about putting my story out into the world. As a society we tend not to believe survivors, so I was nervous about putting that bullseye on myself,” she said.
However, once Collins published her book, she began to receive floods of feedback.
“I started getting private messages,” Collins said. “Some of them were negative, but the amount of positive was overwhelming. I had people starting their own blogs because they were inspired. I had people confront their own abusers. There were a couple reviews that said ‘I live this life.’ I was honored, honestly to have that impact on people and affect them in a positive way. It meant the world to me.”
The raw honesty of the book serves another excellent purpose, by providing a resource on BPD from someone who lives with it every day. Medical narratives on the subject are lacking in such works from an empathetic perspective, Collins said.
“There’s not a lot of resources for those with BPD. There’s a lot of books for people in a relationship with someone with BPD, but they’re often villainized,” Collins said. “A lot of people with BPD come from a trauma background. With this book I wrote from a perspective of what it’s like living with BPD.”
Collins’ work includes a mission to help those suffering from the same condition. Links on her website include organizations like Prevent Child Abuse America and Thorn. Her website also links to the Linehan Institute, which helps people suffering with BPD through dialectic behavioral therapy and other behavioral technologies.
“It’s important for people to realize that childhood trauma carries all the way through childhood and impacts you as an adult,” she said. “Some people say ‘Oh, that was so long ago, you need to get over it.’ I can’t get over it when I’m dealing with the aftereffects as an adult. Childhood trauma changes your brain. So for society to tell those get over it, that’s very unfair.”
The winners and finalists of the Indie Book Awards will be honored at 7 p.m. on June 25 in an online event. The awards will stream live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NextGenerationIndieBookAwards.