Twenty-eight years ago, I was a high achieving, well respected member of the community, but that soon changed after a drug induced psychosis episode landed me on a psyche ward for 5 months. I was ostracised from society and my friends, cast aside as an example of what happens when you play with drugs. I had suffered some trauma in my childhood but because both of my Parents are still alive and out of respect for them, I did not write about what happened. This in turn lead to depression and an unbridled sense of abandonment by girlfriends and started me on my downward spiral when I least expected it.
I had always felt that my diagnosis was taboo within my Family and indeed the Community. It was hushed up and never talked about ever, and I suffered alone. We had no social media to turn to support groups in the 90’s and I knew no one who suffered from Mental Illness. I always felt the need to talk about what happened to me, but no one wanted to listen and so I decided I would write my story. I hoped that those close to me understood what happened from my point of view and rather hoped that anyone seeking help in the future may turn to my book for insight into what can happen with a diagnosis.
The journey took 18 months from start to finish, with writing taking a year. I decided to self-publish through Amazon because I did not want to sign away my story away for a pittance on the off chance of it becoming popular. The small things like proof reading, photographs, book design etc all slowly added up but finally in June 2021 my book was uploaded as ready to print and in kindle format. There was some elation and worry that it would be received well if at all. I have had some nice reviews, which can I add are the hardest thing in the world to get readers to do, so please review any book you read for the Author, it means more than being paid for it.
I do feel as though I have accomplished something to be proud of now, although in hindsight the ending was rushed and I did miss a couple of silly mistakes. However, I was going through quite a bad episode during the writing and I think I just wanted it finished to be able to move on.
Facebook has been a complete game changer for me and belonging to various mental health or hearing voices groups has helped tremendously. I also find that whilst I can try and help others with my experiences, I get much love and help back.
My main concern with writing my book is that I may be recognised in my community due to the fact my face is on the front cover. I have become a very private person and I think the past stigma has scarred me. I am told to not feel ashamed for having Mental Illness but all my life there was shame and I would love to let it go, I just can’t.
If you decide to read my story, I hope you enjoy it. I am sorry some of it is crass but I was young at the time and felt it important to show the difference before and after my breakdown. I hope you can laugh too. My email is at the end if you would like to contact me, and please I would love you to leave an honest review.
Darren’s Book: Into The Darkness
If you’d like to read Darren’s book you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Into-Darkness-Journey-Schizophrenia-ebook/dp/B0979HRT4C. It is available in Kindle and Paperback formats.
If you’d like to support HVN at the same time, consider signing up to Amazon Smile (http://smile.amazon.co.uk/), choosing ‘National Hearing Voices Network’ as your charity of choice and shop through their website. It’s the same as Amazon.co.uk but they donate a small percentage of sales to us.