Back in November 2011 I started working on a novel tentatively titled Ghost Hand. The story is about Marine sniper who returns to Los Angeles to recover from severe injuries only to find that the war for him has just started, and there’s more to the world than he knew.
Part of his story is dealing with his PTSD. As he starts to work out his issues he discovers a whole class of people worse off than he is: The homeless.
After several starts at the novel I had to set it aside. I just was not happy with the story. I needed to sit on it more. But in the process I did write a whole of lot fun pieces in the voice of the protagonist. Several of them were designed to be chapter headers, to show up at the beginning of every third chapter or so. These ones are all about mental illness, and are presented from the point of view of someone who has gone through it, and made it out the other side.
I’m going to put them up once a week, for five weeks. This is number one of five, and was intended to be the novel’s opening lines.
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You don’t want to read this
You probably don’t want to read this book. You’re going to get maybe one or two pages in and then think of excuses for putting it down. Something will be on television, you’ll remember to call your cousin. Probably.
You won’t want to follow the story as it meanders all the way to the middle, and I know damn well you don’t want to reach the end.
I know because I wrote it.
I can’t say that I blame you in not wanting to read this story. I didn’t want to write it either.
This isn’t a nice book. Its not full of nice people doing nice things. Its about crazy people doing scary things. Very scary things. Things you will not believe. I know because I didn’t believe them either, and I had them happen to me. I didn’t want to believe this story so much that when it happen to me I went a little crazy rather than deal with them. Maybe more than a little crazy.
Until I had the real world forced on me again, kicking and screaming. I wished it hadn’t done that.
Not that wishing ever got you anything.
If it did, what I’d wish for would be sanity. No one will tell you this. No one I know, who has not himself been down this dark road, will tell you that sanity is not so strongly attached to your body. Being sane is a fragile thing, easily taken, easily overlooked. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking to yourself “what does he know about being sane? I’m fine. My head is in the right spot.” Well I’ll tell you what I know. One can be sane, and have their sanity taken. I know. It happened to me.
One sunny August morning in 2008, along with most of my left arm, and the ability to sleep well, I lost my mind, or at least enough of it to matter.
This is the story of how I tried to get it back, my sanity that is, and what I found instead.
I did warn you, its not going to be pretty. Its not.