I began writing about Chris’s and my experience in mental health care five years ago when it suddenly clicked with me that a diagnosis of schizophrenia was the beginning of a fabulous journey, although not one without peril. It occurred to me to write a book to sound the drum for an alternative way of thinking about an up-until-now dismal diagnosis. Five years later and I am still at it. Seventy-five thousand words but just about done.
What I’ve written is sort of a do-it-yourself look at alternative mental health but in the form of a memoir. It can also be seen as a coming of age story regarding waking up to the delusion of the pharmaceutical cure. My book has been professionally edited three times. I realized early on that my writing skills were rusty from being on the mommy track for so long (grocery lists and notes to teacher). It was just about ready two years ago and then Chris had a relapse. Being a holistic convert, I took it in stride as a necessary step on the road to self-awareness on both our counts. The relapse also allowed me to add some interesting new chapters on yet more therapies and approaches.
Most of the therapies that I have written about in my book are not known to be applied to a diagnosis of schizophrenia. That’s part of why what Chris and I are doing is so interesting. It’s all new territory. I also personally underwent these novel therapies so that I could get a better grip on what I was writing about. I, too, have benefited from the healing effects of the therapies.
I am at the point where I could really use some advice about how to market this book. I am perfectly prepared to go the self-publishing route because it involves no rejection letters and not as much work as chasing agents. (I have already received a few rejection letters, so I feel I must be getting closer to a published book). I can also put it on Authonomy, the author’s website where other writer’s critique your work in exchange for your critiquing theirs. My book would be available to anyone who simply signs up for an account. What I want to do is to get our story to a larger public. I’ve gone the blog and Twitter route as a way of getting a strong “platform” as they say in the biz but also as a way of sharpening my writing skills. I don’t know how strong my platform really is, but it looks good in a query letter.
If you have any ideas that I may not have considered, please feel free to contact me about them. No idea is too small, too big or too eccentric, trust me.