I am compiling the outline and am planning to start writing the actual text November 1st. I will keep you all posted.
Right now, I am planning ten personal essays. Some are pure narrative and some are more reflective. As follows:
Title: Madness Invisible (I will most likely add a descriptive subtitle)
1) Narrative of my awakening in 2o12. A few hours’ worth of scenes, dialogue, etc. My “ahah” moment that led to my gradual walking out of MH care.
2) Compare/contrast the mental health system to a brainwashing religious cult I was a member of a long time ago. I have a bunch of material i can bring into this. I also walked out of this cult on my own following an “ahah” moment.
3) Dispelling the myths they tell us in “eating disorders care.” My list of these myths is lengthy. I need to hit upon the most glaring errors made by these supposed gods that think they know our bodies better than we know do, or this chapter will be endless. I also wish to dispel myths about eating disorders that are unfortunately widely accepted as truth.
4) Black Box Warning – a chapter about what it’s like to have the well-known side effect of anti-depressants and other psych meds that causes a person who takes these drugs to go through sudden personality change and then commit suicide. I went through that, failed at suicide, and I am lucky to be alive. This began late in 2011 when I started taking the drug. The “black box” effect of the antidepressant as well as other, more physically measurable effects, took a long time to wear off, even though I had stopped the drug after a few months. I will begin when I went to my psychiatrist asking for the drug, and continue from there. Since the Black Box Warning dissipated gradually, I am not sure where to end this.
5) What it’s like to almost starve to death. I suppose this would be an anorexia narrative. From the perspective of a person who went through this at age 55. It wasn’t the first time, but for sure, the worst/best starvation I ever did. This isn’t a pro-ana piece and I wouldn’t recommend that another person do this to themselves. I hope I never get to that point again. The narrative would detail events of July 2013 and end August 12, 2013.
6) No longer human. A narrative of being stripped of my dignity. Abuse at the hands of those who supposed to provide care. I plan to spare nothing here. Begin August 12 end August 22. 11 days in hell.
7) Made into a criminal. Narrative of the shocking way others around me reacted when I tried to take legal action against those that abused me. Again, I’m not going to sugar-coat this.
8) My journey to freedom. Narrative of the steps I took to get where I am now in South America, and my arrival May 15. About a month of events.
9) Madness Invisible (“title track”): Narrative of how I spend 11 days in a medical facility here in South America incognito, without any detectable mental illness whatsoever. Compare/contrast how Western medicine is practiced in a poor country south of the equator to the USA money-driven system. End with my bus ride home.
10) A writer’s oath – I am not sure where to put this chapter but it will talk about writing as commitment. This will be in fact an imaginary commencement address to those who have earned their MFA in creative writing. Sadly, I most likely will never be invited to speak at any commencement anywhere, anytime in the near future. It will be addressed to “the graduates.”
I can change the order of appearance of these essays if I wish. I can take some out if I wish. I don’t plan to braid them the way I did in This Hunger Is Secret.
I hope to be able to revise after November and polish up one or two of these essays as stand-alones for media publication.