For the last 14 years this emotion and I have had a complicated relationship. Before that, I experienced its giddy joy like anyone else.
It greeted me on the first days of longed-for holidays.
I experienced it on planes during take-off. In that moment of palpable lift, when the wheels left the ground and I shed gravity for a while.
It swooped through my body when I’d meet my childhood best friend, Sandra, at airports and train stations in different countries after years of separation.
Many moments of elation were tied to achievement. School grades, University degrees, getting jobs, have all elicited it. A psychologist would grimace at that, but there you have it.
But when I was nearly 33 something happened that warped elation for me.
I gave birth to my first baby.
The birth of a baby is usually viewed as the ultimate source of elation. Much is made of the overjoy of brand-new mothers.
But I was brewing something sinister when I went into my 33 hour labour on 2 hours sleep. That sleep deprivation, and the massive shift in hormones after the birth became the key that fitted the genetic lock for my dormant Bipolar 1 Disorder. It introduced itself violently, as an episode of postnatal psychosis when my baby was seven days old.
Three and a half years later I did get a day of pure elation after the carefully managed birth of my second baby. But I took none of it for granted, as though I had an inkling the psychosis would be back at the six week mark.
Psychosis in Bipolar Disorder is often preceded by mania. For some people mania is preceded by hypomania, which is like an artificial sweetener to the sugar of real elation. Same same, but different.
I do experience hypomania, but it is transient. Blink and you’ll miss it before it progresses to the high speed car chase of mania. I don’t spend weeks feeling fantastic about everything. But I’ve lived through enough hypomania to make me wary of true elation.
I force my elation through an airport security like checkpoint before I allow myself to feel it, because I know it could be the hypomanic second that precedes a manic episode.
So when elation wings its way into my heart, I put it through my metal detector of questions: How are you sleeping? Any racing thoughts? How’s your memory and concentration? Any sense of urgency, a pressure in the part of your brain right behind your eyes?
But right now I am truly elated.
Even my psychiatrist agreed I am entitled to it, after I handed him my third baby a couple of days ago.
My third baby is of the paper variety. Its newborn smell is that of fresh new books. Its gestation period has been longer than a human’s, longer than an elephant’s. 14 years from first words to published.
This baby’s name is ‘Abductions From My Beautiful Life’, nicknamed ‘Abductions’, and it is my memoir.
You will find my DNA all through it. My many selves. The child, teenager, university student, veterinarian, mother, psychiatric inpatient and outpatient, writer, mental health advocate, partner, and friend.
I wrote this book because there are not enough first-person accounts of severe mental illness, especially those featuring psychosis. I wanted to dissolve some of the misconceptions about people who live with severe mental illness, and the stigma that accompanies them.
The road to get this book published has been long, rough, expensive, paved with barely-existent patience, blood, sweat, many tears, diplomacy, and a lot of rejection.
It seems– books that deal frankly with mental illness (other than depression and anxiety) are too prickly for many publishers to touch – or to quote the feedback my agent and I got time and time again:
‘It is beautifully written, and an important story, but it is not commercial enough’ ie it will not make us any money, so we won’t go near it.
After several years of rejections, I did finally find a way to have it published, via a contributory contract with a publishing house in London that I supplemented with my own freelance cover designer and freelance copyeditor, to ensure it was published to a professional standard.
To the countless Australian publishers who passed on this book because ‘although beautifully written, it was not commercial enough’ – I say:
This book was never intended to be the next Harry Potter, or 50 Shades of Grey. But having finally published it I am elated because I have given the people who might be interested, the opportunity to read this allegedly ‘well written important story’.
An opportunity they may never have had if I had given up on it. So if you are one of those interested readers, you now get to decide whether or not you like it, rather than having an anonymous wall of publishers tell you what you should or shouldn’t be reading.
All reviews, feedback, and comments are welcome. For now you can leave them in the Comments section of this post, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you do enjoy Abductions or find it meaningful and you can think of someone else it might resonate with, recommend it to them or maybe even gift them a copy.
Publication, purchasing, and launching information:
Abductions From My Beautiful Life will be published on Friday 30.4.2021
You can preorder it now and continue to order it once it is published from:
Amazon Australia – click the link BELOW the image
If ordering from the UK:
If ordering from the US
Amazon US – click the link BELOW the image
Barnes and Noble
To begin with I am planning several smaller private launches over the next few weeks and months rather than one big one. They will probably take place at my house to work as flexibly as possible with ever changing Covid restrictions. But the format will be similar to a traditional launch with drinks, discussion of the book, maybe a reading, and books for sale and for signing, or if you’ve pre-bought your book you can bring it along to be signed.
If you live in or are passing through Brisbane and would be interested in coming along to one of these smaller launches, please email (anitalink73@gmailcom) or Instagram DM me @anitalinkthoughtfood so that I am aware of your interest when I send out invitations.
I will post further information about launches as they evolve.
For more on how ‘Abductions’ came into being you might like to check out:
Accepted: Crumbs To Canary Wharf
And you can find a brief excerpt here: Book
11 thoughts on “Welcome To The World ‘Abductions’”
Congratulations Anita! I look forward to reading it.
Thanks so much! I can’t wait for it to be out in the world. It’s been a long time coming.
I am so grateful to you Anita for putting in the time and huge effort, and for sharing this most complex insight into severe mental illness.
Can’t wait for it.
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Thank you Felicia. Your readership means a lot.
Congratulations! The cover is stunning; I’m sure the content is absolutely amazing, helpful and inspiring. Best of luck with the launches!
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Thank you Dyane. That means a lot.
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I just finished abductions and I cried. Several times. Not out of pity or sympathy, but out of cold, hard understanding. And not ‘empathy’ understand, but the type of understanding that comes from having my first pregnancy in 2007 trigger severe mental illness, diagnosed as PND initially and bipolar II much later, an admission to BCPND and having Dr Taemets as my psychiatrist. Up and down and back again for my sons birth in 2010, and still fighting the battle in 2021.
You captured Dr Taemets and BCPND perfectly, so perfectly I cried (again) in familiarity and gratitude 🙏
Amazing, amazing, amazing.
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Thank you so much for reading it and taking the time to comment. I can’t tell you how much you sharing your thoughts and experience means to me. I am sorry to hear you have had a really challenging road to travel, but also reassured that it sounds like you have experienced good mental health care along the way. I hope you are going well at the moment. Thanks again.
I just can’t convey how much this book moved me. I cried. Not tears of pity or sympathy. But tears of gratitude for putting into writing so much of what is in my heart. I too was plunged into severe mental illness after the birth of my two children (2007 and 2010). I was a patient of BCPND, and did the follow ups and did the CBT course. I also had Dr Taemets as my treating psychiatrist for over 8 years. I have only just been diagnosed with Bipolar (II) recently in 2020, but have struggled since 2007 and felt so much. From elation to black. I cried in gratitude and familiarity when reading about Dr T, and Mary and the other tidbits from BCPND. I never cry! My meds don’t allow it 😂 You have captured the essence of the place and the drs and nurses beautifully, and authentically. Just amazing.
I am so glad it really resonated with you. It makes the difficulty of getting it published all worthwhile!