Tag: Mental Illness

Making Mental Illness Fun

Eldritch_SI have finally finished writing the third book in the Pandora Belfry Adventure Series: The Eldritch Affair and thought I’d share with you why I decided to write about a 14-year-old girl growing up in an insane asylum during the 1980s. The topic of mental illness can be very dark and, frankly, depressing, but it needs to be talked about. So I decided to do just that, knowing that if I wanted to inform and educate others, my best bet would be to entertain them while doing so.

My main character, Pandora Belfry, is a joy to write about. She’s quirky and feisty, she’s odd and rather morbid, and terribly opinionated. As a brief introduction to her, here’s an excerpt from book one (Mayhem at Nepenthe Manor) where she meets a new inmate…

New inmate:  “I don’t know who you are or why you’re here, but I’m telling you this. I. Don’t. Belong. Here.”

Pandora smirked. “I may not know much…” Lie. “But I do know you don’t get the mummy treatment for good deeds.” Her eyes swept over [his] straightjacket.

He frowned. “Yes, well, I suppose. But it wasn’t… I didn’t…” He gave up and slumped back on the narrow cot. “I just want out of here.”

“Yeah, well, you and everyone else in this place.” Another lie. But a necessary one. They had a reputation to maintain.

She turned to go, but his next words stopped her. “You didn’t really eat people…”

She gave him a ghastly grin. “I made them into stew. Added a few carrots and potatoes, some garlic and onion for flavor.” She stuck the feathery end of a black braid in her mouth and chomped on it. “It was delicious, if I do say so myself.” Smacking her lips and making yummy noises, she slipped out the door, making sure to lock it. Behind her the Newbie howled.

Per-fection, she congratulated herself, already plotting her next visit to the new arrival as she ran off to tell the inmates everything.

~Yes, Pandora told the new guy she’d been incarcerated for eating people

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One Flew West

If you haven’t heard of the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, then you haven’t been out much. If you haven’t watched the movie, you really should. It’s macabre and disturbing, and at the very least, should make you feel grateful for the life you lead (i.e., if you aren’t living it like these poor guys).

It’s hard to believe the title of the book and subsequent movie came from a nice, seemingly sweet, nursery rhyme:

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Don’t Forget Us

I’ve recently launched a new book series: The Pandora Belfry Adventures, which combines my love of writing with my morbid sensibilities and my wish to help people. I’m excited because these aren’t just books, they’re atypical commentaries on how our society treats the mentally ill. I wanted to take my background in counseling psychology and apply it to the world of Nepenthe Manor in a way that would make people want to read about mental illness – I hope I succeeded in doing that.

The first book is called Mayhem at Nepenthe Manor. It’s pronounced like this…Nuh-pen-thee. Just click on the highlighted word because it does a better job of showing you how to say it than I just did. Nepenthe is the last name of the family that built Nepenthe Manor back in the 1880s.

So you might be wondering…where did I get the name Nepenthe? Actually, I don’t remember where I came across the word, which is ironic being that nepenthe means “something that makes you forget.”

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