Another One Bites the Dust!

Hello peoples! Just thought I’d let you know that yet another round of editing is done. It’s getting sharper and better with each one. I’m starting to focus on the smaller things, like a line editing thing.

I’ve also been discussing what I want the cover to look like with a graphic designer. So many possibilities! With what you know about the book and the characters, are there any suggestions on what the cover should look like? We’re still brainstorming, so we’ll take ideas. 🙂

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Belief

I am a Christian. Despite my bipolar disorder. Despite the physical health stuff I’m going through. Despite all of the other stuff I go through.

I heavily based the schizophrenic character Zebulon’s faith on my own. It might seem to defy all logic, what with all the problems he faces (just like me) but there’s something simple in it.

The fact that something can be constant in a life as up and down as we experience is a powerful, albeit rather personal, thing.

It might seem irrational, and most of the rest of the characters don’t understand it at all, but Zebulon (and by extension I) don’t need others to understand. Not to say we don’t want to share it, but it isn’t a necessity for every little thing to be fully comprehended by others.

It might seem illogical and stupid but it’s hard-wired into us. What else can I say?

Delusions

I hate taking my medication. Just because I hate it doesn’t mean it’s not important. I know that my family would wish that mentality followed me everywhere, but it doesn’t always.

One of my characters in my 9 Ways to Normal novella is Zebulon Summers. He’s a Schizophrenic who, when episodes strike, suffers from hallucinations, and when it gets bad enough, delusions. I based his major delusion off of something I’ve been through.

Most delusions are huge things, noticeable things. Some people think they are in a relationship with somebody famous, or that aliens are trying to steal their brains. But to me, that would have belied some of the more subtle delusions. I don’t shy away on the hallucinations that Zebulon experiences, and I describe audible voices as well as voices in his head. But something about having a grand delusion didn’t sit right.

According to the dictionary, a delusion is “a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person’s content of thought. The false belief is not accounted for by the person’s cultural or religious background or his or her level of intelligence.”

To clarify this, Zebulon is a practicing Christian, so a belief that God created the world would not be a delusion to him. A belief that a demon is whispering in his ear wouldn’t, by his own standards, be a delusion.

On the other hand, though it seems small and hardly worth noting, he can become deluded that he is completely well and no longer needs his medication. Without his medication, the delusions and hallucinations become worse, and the cycle continues, compounding on itself until it becomes a major problem.

I’ve been through the delusion of not wanting to take my medication because “it’s not working.” I can’t promise I won’t go through it again. But just because it seems small, that doesn’t mean it’s not a delusion. They come in all forms, all shapes and sizes and colors. And saying that something isn’t a delusion can be just as damaging, maybe more so, than falsely accusing somebody of having one.

Crazy

Have you ever had somebody think you’re crazy? As I posted a couple days ago, my laughing and crying fits spiked violently. My blank fits also did, and when I didn’t recognize my husband, who I have been married to for two years and dated for several years before that, I called my doctor.

At the recommendation of both of my parents and two of my doctors, I went to the hospital. I got a CT scan, they drew blood, analyzed everything. Then, at the end of waiting for over five hours with a giant needle in my arm, a doctor comes in, looks over everything for a few seconds then says, “It must be a side effect from your medications.” Then he left.

It wasn’t necessarily what he said. My mom thought it might be some side effects, too. It was the way he said it. He said it in a way that made me think that he thought I was just there to waste his time, that everything was in my head. The way the nurses crowded around me to get me out immediately afterward didn’t help either.

Did they think I was crazy? It’s certainly possible. Did they mean to sound like I was just wasting their time? Probably not. But that’s the way I saw it. I was just there to play up a role, and it didn’t matter that I couldn’t control my fits, that I lost memory while I was there a few times, that I hysterically laughed for ten-second bursts while they tried to keep me calm.

Am I crazy? I don’t think so, but I was upset at the way they treated me. It might all be in my head, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real to me. I hope that people will learn that soon.

Fits

Have you ever had a fit? I have both crying and laughing fits, and it was particularly bad on a recent day. At least ten fits. Now, I don’t know what causes them. It could be my Apserger’s. It could be something to do with my bipolar disorder. It could be something physical. I don’t know. I do know that when it happens, I feel like I’m going crazy.

The fits are so uncomfortable, to say in the least. I’m not in control for about ten to twenty seconds. And the way it sounds, even to my own ears. I sound hysterical, I sound crazy! The laughter tends to be more common, but even the crying is hysterical.

I’ve looked into it, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have that pseudobulbar affect, or PBA, and my doctor agrees. Still, the fits come and go, and they seem to be more frequent sometimes than others. CBD oil seems to help some, but not always.

I just wanted to let other people who go through the same thing know that they’re not alone. I don’t think I’m crazy, and you’re not either. I’ll definitely let you know if I ever find out what’s going on. 🙂

Anxiety

Though I tried to include as many as I could without being overbearing, listing all of the mental problems in the world just isn’t realistic. There are so many that I’ve missed, and I think going over some of them would be prudent. Why don’t we talk about anxiety for a second?
 
I suffer from mild anxiety attacks. The world seems to close in on me, and I can’t function anymore. I just sit down in a corner and whimper. However, this is not as severe as it gets. More intense sessions can include crying, feeling sick, and your body just not listening to you anymore. Some cases have such severe physical reactions, such as seizures and even blindness, that you wonder what could be so bad so as to cause it.
 
The world can be cruel to those of us who have these problems. After all “it’s all in your head.” But it isn’t all in our heads. Anxiety can strike at the most inopportune times, but that doesn’t mean we’re just trying to avoid people, but that we’re stressed and uncomfortable to the point that we can’t cope. People need to stop talking about us like we can control what’s going on, and actually take the time to listen to what’s wrong.
 
And another thing: medication. People think just because you take medication, that you’re either completely cured, or they can’t believe you’d take it for a “mental problem.” Let’s focus on the person, and not the medication. Then, when you really knows what goes on, you can give a much better opinion of the situation.

Qualifications

So some of you might be wondering, what are my qualifications for writing 9 Ways to Normal? I’ll be honest. I don’t have any sort of degree in anything, let alone psychology. I do have Joshua’s kind of Bipolar Disorder and the twins’ Asperger’s Syndrome, but I don’t have Bulimia or Alcohol Dependence or Schizoid Personality Disorder. I did some research on them, looking through blog entries and hunting down personal experiences with them to make them more authentic. However, the biggest thing I wanted to convey with this book was the idea of normality.

Almost everybody, on some level, wants to be normal. But normal is such a subjective experience. Culture, gender, and environment play a lot on what’s normal, not to mention personal experiences. What’s normal to you might not be normal to me. But that doesn’t mean you can’t let me in on it. That’s what I’m going to try to do with this book: let people in on the different kinds of normal that you can experience with different mental illnesses. Not everything will be perfectly in tune with everybody, but I hope to shed some light on what goes through the minds of those who live life a bit differently than so-called “normal” people. Besides, as my character Zacharias Adams points out: “Nobody’s normal.”