Mental illness still has a truckload of stigma around it.
Ignorance breeds fear, and that’s probably what makes breaking that stigma so hard. It’s impossible to really understand what someone else is going through – hence we all keep a frightened distance.
But what if we could get inside someone’s head, and literally experience their depression, mania or psychosis? Well, it would be terrifying, but it would help a lot with that ignorance problem.
That’s exactly what Sam Bookatz has done with his debut novella, Unmedicated.
A 26 year old man diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, in his short life Bookatz has been to hell and back – several times. After pushing himself through law school and battling the internal demons of a dysfunctional childhood, he finally stopped to write it all down.
The result is remarkable. Unmedicated is a thrilling manifesto about a frenzied life beset with sorrow and tragedy. Bookatz may be a damaged human being, but he is also clearly a master of the written word.
It’s a rollercoaster read, throwing the reader down a rabbit hole that is uncomfortable, but paced with thoughtful asides about most of what happens, and staying surprisingly positive each time the author comes out of his own personal nightmare.
Describing his writing as a cross between American Psycho, Absolutely Fabulous and 1984, Bookatz has offered up this unfiltered account of his life so that you and I can have an insight into what it feels like to be him.
Reviewed by Alex Eugene.