About a year ago I got feedback from a professional editor about My Beautiful Psychosis. I discovered that there was still a long way to go but she encouraged me to keep going because she thought it had potential.
I had missed out important back stories to flesh out characters as well as vivid scene descriptions to evoke a sense of place. Because I wrote it all in the present tense, from my personal perspective, I focussed on describing what I was experiencing. I hadn’t thought about place and character too much.
But the main suggestion the editor had was to include a way to talk about the important themes that emerge – like medication, diagnosis, sectioning and pathologising. She came up with the idea for me to include interludes between each episode that I could use as political and social commentary. I’ve actually integrated these into the book now so they appear seamlessly rather than as separate sections with a different narrative voice.
So another year later and I’ve completed another draft, making these changes. I have also spent many hours on a new book proposal to send off to publishers. The editor didn’t think I really needed an agent and gave me the green light to go directly to publishing companies.
However, the story has moved on a lot during this time and my beliefs have evolved. Reluctant though I am to admit it, I think I need to add these developments and end the book on a very different note.
If I’m honest with myself, there’s a deeply wounded part of me that has wanted to get my version of events across in order to answer back to all those psychiatric professionals who were so quick to diagnose and, in my opinion, failed to fully understand and support me in what I was going through. I’ve been standing on my soap box eager to have people see my psychosis as a spiritual emergency because of the stigma surrounding psychosis. I think if I left the book as it is, I would be doing many people a big disservice and misleading them into thinking that psychosis is beautiful and should be celebrated. It’s not that I no longer believe in the spiritual interpretation but I have changed my views about whether this is something that I should be encouraging others to access.
I had decided I would write another book about my journey to explore mediumship having heard that in Brazil I may well be diagnosed as having ‘repressed mediumicity’. However, all that has changed and is no longer going to be a sequel. I’m not going to Brazil to learn about spirit release as I’ve thankfully come across new information. And all of this needs to be told, not in a different book but in a new ending to this one.
Having to write another big chunk of chapters feels like I’ve reached the summit of a mountain only to discover it was a false peak. I’ve heard that this is how it normally goes but I was hoping my book would be different.The editor wasn’t wrong when she said I still had a long way to go!