Please welcome Michael Offutt, author of SLIPSTREAM, to my blog. He’s a gentleman and a scholar and I’m honored to host him today.
Since I’m guest posting on a blog run by a Psychiatrist, I thought I’d talk about mental illness. What I say isn’t medical. It’s personal. It’s the relationship between my mother and me.
Recently I made the decision to put my mother in a care facility (this was really hard). At the time I’m writing this post, my small family believes that it should be an assisted living complex and not necessarily a nursing home. But I don’t know if that will work. My mom has pretty severe schizophrenia. She constantly speaks to people who aren’t there, she refuses to take meds, and becomes enraged to the point of racing around the house all night looking for things and calling people horrible names. My dad can’t sleep (he says she’s killing him slowly through exhaustion). She also accuses people of stealing jewelry and possessions. When she’s calmer, she laughs with these invisible people and serves them tea. She’ll have all these cups out filled with tea and is the only one drinking.
In my last visit, she was walking around the house with a butcher knife. I asked her calmly, “What are you doing with that?” She was very upset, shaking. She said she was going next door to the neighbor to kill a panther that had swallowed the dog. They needed a knife to cut the dog out of the panther’s belly. She got the idea of the panther implanted in her head because we had just watched a Geico commercial that had a black panther in it. Somehow…the image stuck and became a permanent memory. But there’s no way I was going to allow her to walk next door and pound on it with a butcher knife in her hand. The neighbors are terrified of her.
In my book SLIPSTREAM I have a villain who is the product of an all-powerful mind that has gone insane. He isn’t evil per se. Rather, he’s terrified of his own death. So much so, that he’s dreamt up all of the ways in which someone or something could harm him and (in protecting himself from that harm) has brought the world to the brink of destruction.
His insanity cannot be reasoned with, it cannot be assuaged, and there is no logic to it.
It’s exactly the same kind of thing I encounter when talking with my mother. When she is terrified there is no reasoning with her. She has no logic to any of her actions. In my view, she has completely lost her mind. The difference between her and the villain in my book is that my villain has god-like power. I have read that no villain is truly evil. Well for me that’s definitely true and hope that you find it intriguing enough to warrant a closer look at some point.
Do any of you have personal experiences you would like to share that relate to mental illness?
I have a contest for the release of my book. I will pick one random person who comments on this post to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a SLIPSTREAM jeweled spider (the same person wins both prizes). The jeweled spider really sparkles in the sunlight. I hope whoever wins it really likes it. Also, please make sure that your email is linked to your signature in some way. And yes, the crystal spiders play an important role in my book.
1) Mark my book “To Read” on Goodreads.
2) Comment on this post.
3) Tweet this post if you have twitter. You don’t have to sign-up for twitter. It’s the “honor” system.
That’s it. I will choose a winner on Saturday, May 19th. And thank you, Laura, for having me on your fine blog.
Thanks again, Michael. I really appreciate what you shared about your mom. *hugs*
I wish you the best of successes with SLIPSTREAM!