Publication date: January 3rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Chloe is different. She has Asperger’s Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and probably a few other inconvenient conditions as well. She’s a quirky, resourceful and clever psychology student, but her world is literally about to be shaken apart. A devastating earthquake sparks a chain of events that spiral her life out of control. She’s off her meds. Her oddly-named cat is missing. She doesn’t know what she wants out of life any more. Misfortune and uncertainty don’t mix well with bundles of energy and Chloe’s tendency to ignore consequences. It’s as if mayhem and trouble are her constant companions.
Will Chloe be able to cope with the earth-shaking events that rock her world?
About The Author
His first novels, co-written with Diane Berry, are Dragons Away!, Growing Disenchantments and Fountain of Forever (humorous fantasy). These are available as paperbacks and ebooks at Amazon and elsewhere.
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I’ve been stable on my current cocktail of medications for a while. Seven and a half months—the longest it’s ever been. But it never lasts. I don’t know if it’s because these psychotropic meds are inherently unstable when mixed together (and supplemented with wine, green tea and Marmite sandwiches), or if it is because my body eventually works out a way to fight back against them. What I do know is that sooner or later something unexpected will happen, they’ll stop working, and I’ll go crazy again.
No, wait. Crazy isn’t the right word. Crazy is the word I hear the whitecoats whispering when they think I’m asleep, but I’m pretending. But it’s only me, the real me, the one they want to sedate. To tranquillise me. To calm me down. For my own protection, of course.
And the meds work, to a degree. I’m functioning. I’m not wild and unfettered, feisty and uncontrollable, freakish and unpredictable on the meds. And I don’t get so down, so negative, that I just want to die. But neither do I have the extraordinary energy and focus and flashes of creative genius that are so pervasively intoxicating when they occur. Instead of my moods fluctuating from high to low erratically like the signals of a heart monitor linked to some Frankensteinian creation being brought to life, they are averaged out, almost flattened as if the heart monitor barely registers a pulse. That’s me on the meds. More dead than alive, I think, sometimes. But not the real me, anyway.
My boyfriend, Robert, told me I should write a diary to record how I feel from day to day, though how I can describe it in words, I don’t know. He also thinks I should write my life history, but I’m not going to do that. I have to live in the present, facing life one day at a time, so I’ll write it like that. I don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow, or even this afternoon, and I sure as hell don’t remember how I felt last week or last month.
It feels weird starting this journal. Even more so because Robert stopped writing his own diary last year, not long after we started sleeping together. We’d been sharing a house as flatmates for most of the year with my cousin, Stef, and I always thought Robert was cute, but he didn’t notice me, and he wanted a girlfriend who was ‘normal’, or at least typical. Not like me, for I’m certainly not. If there is a ‘normal’, then I’m the polar opposite of it.
I was too afraid to sleep by myself after the earthquake, in case it happened again. I just couldn’t face being in the dark by myself, even though we made my bedroom safer so the bookcase probably wouldn’t fall over again. So I slept in Robert’s bed, with him. And I realised that I really liked him, and we had sex. A lot. I love him, truly, or at least I think I do, though I’m not entirely sure, because I don’t know what love is, and anyway, how I feel about him changes from day to day. I don’t know if he loves me or not, because he’s never said so, or if he has, I don’t remember it. And I don’t ask, because he’ll tell me the truth, and I’m not ready to hear that, whatever it is.
I don’t know if anyone will ever read this diary (I’m going to keep it so well-hidden, not even Robert will find it), or if it will be coherent or lexically consistent or whatever an inquisitive reader expects it to be, but it’s going to be my story, from now on. And I’ll tell it in my own way as I see it through my weird perception, because I can’t tell it in any other way. I experience the world through a filter like a kaleidoscope; everything’s there, but all jumbled up. Jargogled like pieces of crazy paving in my mind’s eye.
So this is the utterly unrestrained diary of Chloe Wilson, aged 20, about to start my third year at university. I’d include a picture, but I hate having my picture taken, so I’ll describe myself. I like body piercings, so I have a surfeit of those—multiple earrings and studs, lower lip, right eyebrow and you won’t want to know where else. I like a striking hairstyle, so I used to have my hair completely dyed blue. While away, I changed it so I now have just a large patch of blue at the front of my naturally black hair, covering part of the left side of my face, and matching blue eyebrows. The contrast in my hair colour makes it appear more dramatic. My eyes are a wistful blue-grey colour. People either stare at me, or won’t look at me, and I don’t care either way.
Why am I taking the meds? You may be wondering. Sometimes, I don’t even know this myself. Like my boyfriend Robert, I’m an Aspie, which means I have Asperger’s Syndrome, but that’s not an illness, it’s a neurological condition resulting in a pervasive developmental difference, so it’s part of me. But that isn’t why I have the meds. I have them because I’m bipolar. Without the meds, my moods fluctuate wildly and, sometimes, uncontrollably. That is what the whitecoats claim anyway, and my dad. He pays for my psychotherapy. But, over the years, the whitecoats have labelled me with diagnosis after diagnosis, each more exotic than those preceding it, including ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), which I think is just ridiculous because I can concentrate on most things for as much as several minutes at a time, GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), dyscalculia and various others that I don’t even remember or never properly understood. I suppose it was just a matter of time before they called me bipolar and drugged the wilder side of me out of me.
I want to rediscover that part of myself. It is the real me, after all. I’m tempted to flush my meds down the loo, but I know that’s not safe. It’s actually friggin’ dangerous to discontinue these meds abruptly. So, I’ll wait for the right time to reclaim myself from the clutches of my pharmaceuticals and break free. I’ll wait for a sign.