Map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
writing about mental health
I'm a freelance writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. In my 20s I was sectioned under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, spending time in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (referred to as a lunatic asylum in the 19th century map above). During recovery I rediscovered my love of creative writing - I'd previously had fiction published and written lyrics for my post-punk band, 4 Minute Warning.
Through the Scottish Book Trust I run writing workshops in schools and community settings - including groups for people with mental health issues, recovering addicts, and homeless individuals. I've also discussed how writing has helped my wellbeing in Barlinnie and Saughton prisons.
I've written a biography: BrainBomb - growing up bipolar.
BrainBomb - Growing up Bipolar is a biography describing how a quiet but bright and sociable lad from Edinburgh, whose band, Little Big Dig, was featured on BBC Radio 1, ended up in a straightjacket in an ambulance heading for a locked ward in a psychiatric hospital. Disturbing but also humorous and life-affirming, BrainBomb is due to be published later this year.
Enjoyed BrainBomb, great stuff, but it moves like a rocket and it's totally mashed my heid!
Irvine Welsh, bestselling author of cult novel Trainspotting.
BrainBomb is a welcome new addition to the growing library of mental health books. Well-written and intensely personal, it takes you right into the bipolar mind.
Alastair Campbell, ambassador for ‘Time To Change,’ a mental health campaign aimed at reducing stigma and discrimination.
I used a free Wordcloud generator to list all the musical references in my biography, BrainBomb. A clump of 70s-90s pop culture!
from the archives
'Into That Darkness,' my article from Issue 107 of The Leither, a flashback to 1976, when Jim'll Fix It was primetime viewing, and the senior scouts warned us which scoutmasters never to be alone with.