My Beautiful Psychosis is a gritty tale of transformation which shows us the most extreme experiences a human mind can endure. The story takes place over a series of seven so-called psychotic episodes: through the harsh landscapes of the psychiatric wards but also a pilgrimage, from troubled twenty-something to a respected documentary filmmaker and campaigner for a new perspective on mental health and wellbeing.
It has a powerful message to convey and turns on its head the idea that psychosis is a debilitating illness, caused by a brain chemical imbalance, which requires medication for life. The book questions fundamental beliefs about how the world is.
It is an intense, honest and lucid memoir, an exposing and vulnerable adventure through a psyche that is spilling out undigested psychological material to reveal secrets from a past that has been forgotten. Psychosis is portrayed as the psyche’s attempt to integrate them and become whole.
But the psychiatric system pathologises these experiences, seeking to ‘help’ by relieving the distress through antipsychotics. Whilst medication is sometimes useful, it doesn’t really attend to the deeper need: for validation, compassionate holding, skilful navigation and most of all grounding.
I wrote this book to inspire others who have been given a label that has severely restricted their lives, to act as a beacon of light for them to reclaim the power of their own innate healing ability. It is also to educate their family and friends as well as to give mental health professionals a different perspective so that they can better support those in crisis.
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“Emma manages to bring the reader into the experience in a way I have never seen before. The narrative she writes and the characters within it are compelling, and it all seems to combine to bring the reader deeper and deeper into an experience that most of us can only imagine.”