Saturday, October 20, 2012
Chipmunka… publishing first-hand experiences
Chipmunka has just recently published a memoir of mine called, Naked ladies about two psychotic episodes following the death of my father. It’s in ebook at this stage, but will be in paperback in a few months’ time. http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2264
So wonderful it is to find a publisher that wants first-hand experiences of people diagnosed with psychiatric conditions. In Australia, people have some fears regarding attempting to understand people who have delved into the symbolic world of waking-dreams. They seem to worry that it might somehow ‘get them’ too. That the schizophrenia ‘disease’ is contagious by hypnotic suggestions of art from these 'deranged' people.
I studied Professional Writing and Editing at Melbourne’s RMIT University. I got into this course on the strength of something I’d written when I was 22, before I’d experienced what psychosis meant. I knew somehow that what I was writing at age 32, wasn’t going to fit with consensual reality. And, it didn’t.
I had burning things to say, but I had to think about how to say them, so that the public could be able to read them. Tutors and students really helped me get to this point. I really got a lot out of my time at RMIT. I realised there is so much ignorance around what happens in psychiatric facilities. There was so much prejudice and that belief that there is no market for is regarded as a ‘dirty tissue.’
In Naked ladies I was able to take raw material I wrote while in an episode and write it in a way that can be comprehended. This book allows people to understand how I was able to be lured into the fantasy world of waking-dreams that lead to waking-nightmares, not just once, but again, with the same science-fiction themes.
If you want to understand what it is like to hear voices, or have other sensory ‘hallucinations’ and strange ‘delusional’ belief systems, this book takes you through my journey of this. It’s a fast-paced book. Lots of things happen all at once. Very much what psychiatrists would term, ‘mania’, ‘paranoia’, ‘conspiracy theories’, ‘florid psychosis’, and ‘positive symptoms of schizophrenia.’ There are also breaks in between the ‘psychotic episodes’, where I resume a ‘normal state of being.’
The book also includes illustrations and paintings I did at the time, but it is a decent sized book. I like books to be at least 70,000 words, when they’re not poetry books or novellas.
I hope Australia will start publishing more first-hand experiences about altered states of consciousness that get labelled ‘diseased’ by psychiatrists. There is a growing market for these books. It is peer support. And books like this help people realise that people with lived-experience are not ‘consumers’ and ‘useless eaters’, we are people who have had unusual experiences. These experiences are our coping mechanisms. Yes they are flawed, but how nightmarish they become has to do with how these symbolic manifestations are treated by society. Treat unusual experiences with fear and prejudice and psychiatric torture and what does society expect will happen? A cure? Apparently that is the current belief… But that is not the truth of what’s happening. The truth will be found in books by those who have experienced psychiatric conditions first-hand.Chipmunka has just recently published a memoir of mine called, Naked ladies about two psychotic episodes following the death of my father. It’s in ebook at this stage, but will be in paperback in a few months’ time. http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2264