Map reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland
writing about mental health
I'm a freelance writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I was twice 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.) I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During recovery I rediscovered my love of creative writing (I'd previously had several short stories published, and written lyrics for my band.)
Through the Scottish Book Trust I run writing workshops in schools and community settings - including groups for recovering addicts and homeless individuals. I've also discussed how writing has helped my wellbeing in prisons. I've written a biography of my experiences, BrainBomb.
Published in 2009, BrainBomb was the title of a semi-autobiographical fantasy novel about mental ill health.
BrainBomb has been rewritten as a biography, complete with actual medical notes. It describes how a quiet but bright and sociable lad from Edinburgh, whose band was featured on 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 this summer.
Moved like a rocket and it's mashed my head!
Irvine Welsh, bestselling author of cult classic 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.
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