On Mental Health · On Writing

Shameless self-promotion..

I’m currently working on a book. When it is finished and I have found somebody astute enough to publish it, I think you should all go out and buy it. It will change your life for the better and widen your perspective on a subject which is currently extremely relevant- mental illness.

Ok, enough of the shameless rhetoric. Now I shall tell you what the book is actually all about, and why you should put it on your list of ‘books to buy, once they have actually been completed.’

It is entitled “Schizophrenia: making the story real,” and is a loosely defined ‘self-help guide’ or ‘memoir’ based around the last fourteen years of my life.

I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when I was 20, and was sectioned and hospitalised. Following that I lived in various hospitals and care-homes, and gradually went through a long process of recovery and reintegration. There has been a lot of madness, and I mean a lot. My initial delusions were strong enough to whisk me away to some strange, highly personalised, alternate reality for a long time- and the battle to return has been long and gruelling.

I started making notes for this book about six years ago, and so within it have amalgamated all the useful concepts and practises I’ve accumulated over the years, which I feel have been important to my recovery up until this point.

Its split into four sections, which relate to the four stages you go through, in my opinion, with this illness. So the chapters in the first section relate to concepts which were useful to me after initially being hospitalised, and the chapters in the last section relate to issues I’ve been dealing with in the last few years. For I am a very different person than I was then, and the nature of the illness itself has changed.

It has been a long, hard labour of love, which I actually started writing just under three years ago, in January of 2016. For any of you who have followed my blog for some time, or who have read previous posts of mine relating to this book, I’m sure you are yawning at this point, and starting to wonder whether or not to skip forward to see if I plan on writing anything new in this post.

I guess I’m checking in, with this post, because I’m been absent from WordPress for such a long time now. I wanted to re-introduce my reason for writing, and re-introduce the content of my current dreams. I aim to have finished the book by January of 2019, ready to be sent off to agents, and this is going to require some quite serious focus and determination on my part.

The ironic thing is, that I am still “recovering,” still working, call it what you will, on maintaining my peace of mind, and holding onto a relative portion of well-being. I don’t think that arena of work really ever ends, and a massive part of my work over the last year or so has been connecting with the fact. I may have been to the mad-lands and back, but that fact doesn’t necessarily make me different. Or, more accurately- holding onto the idea that my experiences make me different is not necessarily helpful.

There are still lots of issues I need to iron out, and aspects of my book I need to devote more time to.

I’m still slightly uneasy with the terminology, in the sense that my opinions on all aspects of mental illness are extremely complicated. I struggle with the words “recovery” and “illness,” simply because I do not always feel as though they are suitable. In bad moments, my schizophrenia represents an illness, and thus the journey I have taken over the last fourteen years represents a recovery. But this is in the bad moments, and those moments are becoming less and less frequent now.

Moreover it hasn’t all been bad, and I feel as though I have gained a lot from the last fourteen years and all the crazy experiences I have had. Can a person gain something from an illness? Can a recovery include much which is positive? I’m not sure, but I’ve tried to walk the line with my book, because I feel that most people reading it will be hoping for advice and answers- indicating that their position on mental illness may not be sympathetic.

So, I will now engage in some more of the shameless self-promotion I promised in the title to this post!

I seriously believe, that if you want to understand schizophrenia, and the journey a person goes on after being diagnosed, you need to read my book. Or, you will need to read my book, once it’s finished and published.

It’s made up of so many good ideas and mind-sets, which are all authentic in the sense that they are the concepts which have allowed me to stay on top of this diagnosis. They are the ideas which have kept me moving forward, kept me positive, and allowed me to move through the majority of the madness with some positive sense of self still intact.

This book really does hold genuine advice, from somebody who has lived through the hell of the negative aspects, weathered the alluringly positive aspects, of a diagnosis which is more tricksy and multi-faceted than I believe anybody who hasn’t actually lived through it would be able to understand.

I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s getting there. I’m not sure that self-promotion is really my thing, but I feel that I’ve made a pretty good attempt here. I’d probably buy this book, if I was someone unconnected reading this post!

I’ll keep you updated, with all the progress I make. I just hope and pray I can keep focused for long enough to finally get it finished. Three years is a long time, and I’m definitely beginning to itch to move on something else, after seeing exactly where this book may take me.

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