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    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

Is Alice?

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Bill

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For over a decade I have been the loving partner and carer of a woman diagnosed with 'schizo-affective disorder.' Is Alice? incorporates a description of some of her experiences during her last hospitalisation over four years ago within a fictional setting, as Theo struggles to understand Alice’s madness and develop his organic theory of consciousness that might help explain such a devastating illness and the canvas of 'normality' from which madness can bloom.

Is Alice? is also a powerful and fictionalised love story. I wrote the novel solely as a manuscript gift for my partner, and publication is therefore dependent upon her wishes. Her primary one is anonymity. She is not 'Alice,' and I am not 'Theo.' This is not a biography. Fiction is used in Is Alice? to illuminate an actual madness, along with a real search for the ideas that may help in understanding the living and political nature of consciousness – the structure of 'normality' and the 'real' world, and its incoherent collapse into the hell that is known as schizophrenia. There are passages from the patient’s point of view, which make this novel an unusual project. That is because the inner landscape of madness does have a logic and meaning that should be acknowledged and evoked, instead of ridiculed or misunderstood. I feel that contemporary psychology – never mind clinical psychiatry – fails in its attempt to address the nature of consciousness, or its creation of the 'world.' I believe philosophy underpins psychology, not the other way around.

As my partner’s carer, I have witnessed the depths of her illness, and hope my portrayal can help others understand its rhythms of horror. But most of all, I wish to let this novel stand as my tribute to her courage, persistence and love in the quest we have undertaken to put together a world that is cleaner and simpler to know, one that is hopefully closer to the truth. Her life has been transformed as she has reclaimed the territory of her own existence from a life where she felt she deserved nothing and was worth nothing.

I am convinced 'schizophrenia' is not a medical problem. It is an existential one. It isn’t a ‘disease.’ It is a catastrophic disordering of the values of the world – a fiction, really, but one that is as 'real' as the common sense world we mistakenly think we know so well. Because it, too, is a fiction we have agreed upon, lies and all. I have called it the social matrix.

My view of the psychiatric treatment of blameless victims of madness is that it struggles blindly to brutally shoehorn a distressing human problem into a medical model that is as primitive as phrenology. In an affront to Hippocrates, psychiatrists can harm their patients. At the very least, simple asylum would do no more harm to human beings who, though mad, still deserve our unremitting respect. Instead there are drugs, electro-convulsive 'therapy', and even psycho-surgery – the effects of which are poorly understood by the psychiatric community. Sufferers are incarcerated in prison-like buildings, and far too often suffer abuse and neglect by indifferent, badly-trained staff.

Again, though, Is Alice? is a poignant story that is uncommon and numinous. It was written with love for my partner, and I had no other reader in mind when I wrote it. This changes the accent and meaning of the work. My intention was to please her with a tale woven simply from words. In a sense this returns to the origins of stories themselves. If so, then that pleases me.

Is Alice? is published by Chipmunka and is available at Amazon or at most bookshops.

Bill Bailey
 
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Bill

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Twylight

The paperback book is priced at £15.00, and at Amazon they do not charge for delivery (Chipmunka, the publishers do). However, it's not my intention to "make money" on the book, and if you're genuinely financially distressed, I would be happy to send you a free copy of the e-book, despite the publisher's advice to the contrary. PM me if this is the case.

Bill
 
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diddypinks

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hi

hello there i would love a free copy of the book is alice if it is available diddy
 
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