Monday, 29 December 2014

Surfacing - or, How to Recover from a Nervous Breakdown

Well, everyone, it's a red letter day!  I have just finished my 'recovery book'.  Not for the first time, admittedly, but this time I am going to go ahead and publish it.

I wrote it in a bit of a rush, over about eight hours last night and today.  Well, I re-wrote it really - I've lost track of how many previous drafts I have done.  But I didn't look at any of those - I wrote this off the top of my head, hoping that the important points would drift up to the surface.  So.  Literally.  Surfacing.

The thing is, I really feel as though I want to move on from mental health, in my writing.  I find the subject fascinating, and I'll keep posting on here from time to time and I'll stay in contact with people through social media.  But I want to write about more than mental health and I want to write in a different form, not journalistically.  I'm going to see how much fiction I can churn out, in 2015.  That's my aim.

So, obviously the recovery book is really short, but I've just checked it against some of the earlier drafts and I think it pretty much encapsulates what I want to say.  I am going to price it as low as Amazon lets me, so nobody feels ripped off, and I really hope that it will be useful, and help people and maybe even influence future mental health policy (I've got a few things to say about the misuse of force in the system and how this has arisen because the administration of the criminal justice system has been confused with the treatment of mental (emotional) health.  It might not be anything I haven't said before, but I'm hoping that maybe somebody might read it and take notice.  You have to keep trying).   

I just wanted to get on and publish this book, and I have been attempting to write it for so long.  I have surprised myself with how it has just suddenly appeared.  I kept thinking about the person who commented on this blog that they hoped it would come out soon because they wanted to use it in their recovery.  I felt an obligation to this person and to anyone else who might have been waiting for me to come good on my promise.  And now here is the finished book - not perfect, but it was never going to be perfect. 

I have had the cover of this book ready to go for ages now, since the summer.  It will need changing a little - just the wording of the title, because it was a (very boring) memoir in its last incarnation.  But as soon as that is done it will be ready to go - it should be published in the early New Year, if not before. 

Hurrah!  Job done! 

I'm exhausted now.  I'll post again here, and Twitter and Facebook, when the book is available.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Greetings, and apologies

Hello, and sorry for the length of time since I last wrote this blog.  Funnily enough, just as things were starting to pick up, in a good way - a request to write for the Huffington Post, a new book almost ready for publication - it all seemed to get too much and I have had to take a step back.  Maybe that's not odd at all, maybe it's just natural, given my history with stress. 

There was simply too much going on.  I finished my recovery book, but then realised that it really was not good enough to publish.  I wrote it as a memoir and always had a niggling feeling that it was not going to be very interesting, but then took a long, cold look and had to acknowledge that things were worse than I had feared - it was really a stultifyingly boring piece of writing.  The book was only going to disappoint readers, and I didn't want to do that.  I am just pleased I realised in time before I published it.  So I have been trying to re-work it into a self-help book for those who have suffered emotional distress. 

Although, to be honest, I have not been trying all that hard in the last few weeks.  I have had a lot going on at home - I won't go into details but I will say that there has been no crisis or upset, just a lot of domestic stuff to deal with. 

I hate letting people down, and I had announced on here that the book was going to be published on World Mental Health Day.  At least one person had said that they were waiting to use it in their recovery, which felt like a huge honour but also a huge responsibility so I felt particularly bad about letting that person down.  But I have decided not to beat myself up any more - I am doing the best I can, and in the end everyone will be better served by a book which I am satisfied with than one which was published despite my misgivings.

So, just to check in really and to say that I have been having a short break from mental health matters but will be back soon.  I also signed out of Facebook, but will be back on there soon, and on Twitter. 

Oh, and by the way, I have already dipped a toe back into the water - I just wrote a review of Lucy Johnstone's fantastic book, A Straight Talking Introduction to Psychiatric Diagnosis.  Here's the link, in case anyone wants to take a look: