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Val Rankin

Val Rankin

Johannesburg, South Africa

Val Rankin Prinsloo works in the corporate insurance sector in bustling Johannesburg, South Africa. Life is jam-packed with day-to-day challenges dealing with a psychosocial disability in the workplace.

Creative writing gives her fulfilment and that is how she spends any free time.

Born and raised in the so-called City on a hill, Eshowe (KwaZulu-Natal) in 1972. Those days were a far cry from city life; quite rural, where everyone knew your name and stopped to offer you a lift in the rain.

Valley of Victory is her first book in a planned series dealing with real-life situations.

Her journey through life has been a challenging yet exciting transformation. For the most part it has been spent trying to navigate through life with the conflicting nuances of a mental disability.

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Valley of Victory

Creating worldwide awareness and self advocacy on mental wellbeing

“Valley of Victory” describes Val's journey looking for name for the confusion that life was, later discovering it was Bipolar Mood Disorder

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Biography & Memoir Memoir
42,000 words
100% complete
1 publisher interested


Valley of Victory” deals with my memories along this journey through life.  I have been trying to find a name for the confusion that had plagued me for years. I later learnt that it was mental illness and my diagnosis was Bipolar Mood Disorder.  I grew up in apartheid South Africa in a family that was financially well-off. Everything was in abundance except harmony. As a child I was hurt, as a teen insulted, as a women abused and discarded, I was haunted by extreme obesity. I slipped into a world of reckless debauchery and substance abuse of all kinds.  I battled to find hope. The only soul I had to turn to was a childhood friend, who was in fact a servant girl. She guided and mentored me, eventually pulling me out of my bottomless pit of despair. With an epic sweep that spans well over forty years, Valley of Victory is a touching tale of one individual’s fight against the society, its hypocrisy and a system that’s rotten to the core. It’s the moving story of a woman’s determination to take charge, change herself and the world around her. And along the journey, Valley of Victory asks questions that are as simple as their answers are complex. Who are we? Why are we here? What’s our connection with our Higher Power? It tackles issues head on, with a sharpness that pierces the heart and a bluntness that dents the soul. Leading us to the final question: If all human beings long to attain Peace, why is Love the most ignored emotion? 
My diagnosis was made somewhere between 2005 and 2007.  The Disorder, also known as Manic Depression, is characterised by serious mood swings.  My moods range from a high or mania where I can be extremely happy or jovial or hyperactive, talk incessantly, survive on very little sleep and be very irritable with racing thoughts and rapid speech.   Then the complete opposite happens in a drop into depression, where it feels like all of the air has been sucked out of me, with lack of energy, no motivation, no drive, sadness, helplessness, hopelessness and despair. This can happen completely unexpectedly and knock you completely off your feet.  The lines are somewhat blurred as to the exact diagnosis date because for a large part of that time, my husband and I were in denial about a diagnosis. He encouraged me to just “snap out of it”. It’s all in your head, he would say. Well, wasn’t that just the understatement to say the least?  At certain times I hoped that I could just “snap out of it”. So during that period, medications was started and stopped and I drifted between the various states of mania and depression.  To society it was acceptable to admit an illness like Hypertension or Diabetes. Mental Illness, on the other hand, always had an ugly black stigma like a bow-tie placed neatly around your neck, literally strangling the life out of one. I experienced life differently once I found the correct treatment regime for my Bipolar Mood Disorder. My most rewarding form of therapy was found in creative writing.  My hope is that the reader will gain insight into the personal and work life of a person with psychosocial challenges.


I consider the whole world in it's entirety to be a suitable audience for "Valley of Victory" The reason for this is that we all need to examine our own behaviours and be aware of the behaviours of others as red flags for introspection and assessment of good mental wellness. The brutal honesty in this book should show us just how human we really are and we should take comfort and make peace with the situations we are in. It should provide hope and the spirit of forgiveness in societies around the globe. This is a book that highlights that mental instability can affect everyone irrespective of race; social status, age, gender, financial situations etc. It is a serious topic to unpack and in doing so, we create a better more harmonious life in which to co-exist and thrive in.


1. Sometimes life is like chewing gum......The paradox of life as I experienced it. Most chapters are very short like this one. The reader is taken way back to 1972 and placed in the life of the author, you are introduced to the idea of being aware of your actions as they ultimately affect others.  

2. Lets tackle the terrain......Again you are prepared for the impending journey, you get to pull on your walking shoes.

3. Meet the Awesome Twosome......You are introduced to Khanyisile - The bearer of light

4. Vignettes from another World.......You are taken back to a scene in a garden around 1975 where very disturbing racial issues poked deeper then a thorn.

5. High Five on a fifth birthday......A little girl is disappointed on her special day, this is a turning point where the brewing mental and emotional instability started holding hands with an obsession with food

6. Knowing what certain words mean......Racial issues cut into the very soul of the author, wounds that never healed.

7. Of tight jeans and tripping over carpets....Weight became and issue

8. When bronze sandles turn brown.....A little girl learns about guilt and shame and unworthiness.

9. And then you grow up.....she becomes a women but with very few tools to defend herself

10. When visitors came calling......a girl interrupted from trying to commit suicide.

11. The fatal first kiss.....boys came onto the set and yet another obsession started

12. On the cusp of adulthood.........very late but rude awakening about being grown up

13. The bird flew out of the cage.......freedom

14. Living the bohemian life.....the ideal life.....recklessly

15. If they like it I will give boundaries in terms of promiscuity

16. When the soul goes numb........was there anything more to this mundane life?

17. My Prince Charming did arrive.......a husband to take away all the troubles?

18. Gaining weight and my soul mate.....escalating weight and other issues

19. Gods ultimate Golden Thread.....

20. Things fall of origin is dissolving

21. Life spinning out of control........The onset of serious depression  

22. Finally a name to what I was going through.......a bipolar diagnosis

23. A family that fate had forsaken........the death of the family

24. And in the end peace.......quiet after the family conflict - death equals peace

25. The disaster after.......well the quiet did not last long the troubles with a mentally unstable mother - continued

26. Can it sink deeper than this? - Depths of depression and the heights of mania

27. Finally a ray of hope......

28 The big fat effort of my life.......trying to arrest weigh issues

29. An unexpected God for my mental health issues

30. Coming to terms with my Bipolar......managing my mental health

31. No one said it was easy......the challenges

32. If I can do it, so can you........spreading the message to the world and especially the corporate world

33. Life comes full circle.....coming into your own being - being connected

Dedication to mum........A lot of the book describes a terrible and disturbing family relationship. It would only take a qualified medical professional to examine certain behaviours in this family. So the author stops blaming and accepting that this was the result of untreated mental issues. Her quest is now to bring about an awareness in the world taking from her own experiences, so that others may learn and prevent making similar mistakes.

Other books in the same category

Running with Scissors

The Glass Castle

I think both these books are brilliant - I would not say that my story is better. I just think that mine is extremely honest and open, my life and the contents of my heart and literally poured onto the page, saliva, tears and blood.

 The Audience that I think this will appeal to is the whole world basically. There is something in this short book that some will identify with and others not. Many conflicting emotions and many discussions are bound to arise after reading it.

I have self-published and advertised by word of mouth, on social media like Facebook, I have also started taking bookings for talks at corporates in my area. I have decided to start up a company called Valley of Victory - Mental Wellness Advocacy.


At the end of this book the reader should have questioned their own existence, seen how connected we really are to each other, perhaps discovered their own sense of purpose in life and hopefully be able to accept shortcomings....their own as well as the shortcomings of others. At the end of reading this book you should want to sit down soon and read it again. There are numerous discussion points which creates opportunities to learn and grow.


There are a few channels that I am attempting to use in my drive to take this message across the globe. I am starting right in my immediate circle of volunteers. I have all unpaid friends who appreciate my cause. I have a project manager and a team of 5 people helping me arrange a drive at work to fund-raise to get this book published with a mental health publisher in the U.K. One lady goes around at work requesting small donations. The ladies are helping me arrange a picnic at a park in April where I will read from my book, we will each bring picnic basket, there will be 2 ladies serenading the guests with songs, there will be the sale of the book, I will share my presentation and then there will be an open discussion around the topic of mental wellness. The ladies are also having tee-shirts printed with information on this drive and will talk to however they meet and spread the importance of good mental wellness. I also will use many social media sites to advertise. I am also getting bookings/potential bookings to talk at companies about good mental wellness in the corporate world. The mission is to take this message to the rest of the world.

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