Tyler Wittkofsky is a multi-genre author, podcaster, mental health and travel blogger, and award-winning marketing
communications professional from the southern coast of North Carolina where he currently resides with his wife Grace and dogs Dutch and Belle.
His first novel, (Not) Alone, was based on true events surrounding the struggles of mental illness. The Seeds of Love: Sunflower Kisses Book One was his debut romance novel centered around a mentally ill young man. His first poetry collection, Coffee, Alcohol, and Heartbreak, was composed of mental health-based poems written over four years.
Tyler blogs about his mental health journey on www.TylerWittkofsky.com. He is the co-host of the Back Porch Parley and Cook the Books podcast where he discusses society and modern trends in an attempt to bring civility back to discussion. He is also the publisher of Tea With Coffee Media, a small independent publishing company specializing in telling untold stories.
You can find him on social media at @TylerWittkofsky and his work at https://linktr.ee/wittkofsky.
1. Tell us about the motivation/thought behind Tea With Coffee Media.
I started my professional writing journey in 2019. What I realized in my time writing for online magazines such as the former Darkened Veil Universe and current Rewritten Realms was that there was a massively underserved indie authors population. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of indie authors who may not have the social media following to attract a larger publishing house, or who lack the funds to self-publish properly. So with the help of my wife Grace and friends Aaran Jolly, Victoria Moxley, and Kelsey Anne Lovelady, we founded a publishing company that focused on the underserved. We have a passion for mental health and released our mental health anthology, Living With Demons in May.
2. What was your first experience with mental health? When did you realize you wanted to become an advocate? It can be personal or an experience of someone close to you.
I’ve been dealing with mental illness for as long as I can remember, however, it wasn’t until 2015 that I sought help and was officially diagnosed Bipolar. I was suicidal at the time and called a friend of mine telling him I was going to commit suicide. I hung up and got a call from a number I didn’t recognize; it was my friend's dad. He talked me out of it and talked me into going to therapy. I was ashamed of my mental illness and hid them from everyone except close friends and family because I felt like it made me different. It wasn’t until 2018 that I became unashamed and began talking out loud about my mental illness and struggles. What I discovered was that there were more people than I realized facing these struggles, and people needed a beacon of hope. Despite my struggles, I would say I’ve lived a successful life. That’s when, in 2019, I decided to write my story and publish it. It took me about six months to write the book and go through a few rounds of edits, but I finally got it published and it was one of my proudest moments. I recently rewrote that book and plan to publish it as a new book soon.
3. Could you share with us one tip you have for people that struggle with their mental health?
The one tip I have for anyone struggling with their mental health is to not be afraid to ask for help. I suffered for so long because I was ashamed of my mental illness and never reached out for help. A lot of people in my life left me because of my actions, and I can’t help but wonder if they would have stayed had they known about my struggles. Never be ashamed of who you are. You’re an amazing individual despite what your brain tells you, being mentally ill is no different than being physically ill and doesn’t make you any lesser of a person. Anybody who doesn’t realize that, doesn’t deserve you, so reach out for help and lean on those who truly care about you.
4. What are your thoughts on the current state of the “mental health advocate” community? What do you believe should be changed to help more people?
I think the current mental health advocacy community is growing, but it still hasn’t reached its full potential. People talk about it, but do they talk about it enough? I also see a lot of people speaking up about their mental health, which is giving other people the confidence to do the same. Ultimately, the mental health advocacy community is pure and simply wants to help others feel a little more comfortable in their own skin.
5. Is there anything that you are working on currently or look forward to publishing next?
I have a book coming out July 7th called Potent, which is based on the Shakespearean play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is the first in the Enamored Echoes series Kelsey Anne Lovelady and I are writing together. I will also be re-releasing (Not) Alone as a full novel as opposed to its novella release. The new version is 10% longer than the original. In March of 2024, I will be releasing The Principal’s Principles which is a story about the first female principal in a rural town in the 80’s.
Buy Tyler's book here!
Follow on Social Media: @TylerWittkofsky