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The Flawed Ones: Exploring The World Of Mental Illness

I talk a little more in depth about The Flawed Ones, and the journey of creating a story that would shed light on mental illness like never before. There is a lot that goes on in this book that I can strongly relate with, and that I hope many of you will as well. At the same time, it always tries to educate the novice reader on mental health, depression, addiction, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and the struggles that these illnesses put some people through.

This Is What My Xanax Addiction Looked Like

In an attempt at keeping my anxiety under control, I ended up with one of the worst dependencies I have ever experienced, even after being an alcoholic for ten years. Xanax brought me to my knees and kept me there for years, it destroyed me physically and emotionally, it took everything I had and left me a shell of a man. I have been fortunate to come out of the other side alive, but it still still important to care of those that are battling benzodiazepine dependence every single day. Some of them, like me, have gotten hooked, not by choice, but because they were prescribed medicine that they thought was going to help them and it ended up damaging their lives significantly. We must educate people of the dangers of prescription drugs, especially children and teenagers, as they are being bombarded by an influx of stimulus that make them believe that these types of drugs are not only fun, but also cool. Getting the word out there about the dangers of using Xanax and other benzodiazepines could save lives.

In the video below you are going to see a man under the influence of more than 10mg of Xanax. That man is me, but just in the physical sense. In the mental sense, he is someone I don’t know, someone I don’t remember being. This man caused a lot of damage, and I have had to clean it all up with almost superhuman effort. It is embarassing to watch, and even more to share, but I feel is necessary to show others what one becomes at this level of addiction.

My novel, The Flawed Ones, explores addiction and mental illness in depth, not through the eyes of professionals, but of patients themselves. Leave your email here to get notified of global release and maybe win a free copy.

 

Her Treason (Chapter 4 Excerpt)

I saw her face, smiling with that smile that made my knees weak and my heart tremble with a rush of emotion. She connected with my eyes and got lost in hopes and dreams, in plans of a future with good food, far travels, of kisses under the rain and cuddles on those cold nights, where the air smells of wood fire and the breeze turns your cheeks red. In me she saw her every day; getting home from work to a cup of coffee and destressing conversation, walks under autumn leaves and sunsets in the summer. She saw a confidant that would never let her down, a friend that she could always trust, a lover that would always satisfy her. I could tell by the way she looked at me that with me she saw eternity in her finite existence, death not a worthy adversary against the strength of our love.

The scene in my head abruptly changed, and now there I was, sitting in a bed, forcing an exorbitant number of pills down my throat, coming in and out of consciousness, every memory a choppy blur. I heard yelling in the distance, but couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I could feel the force of someone rocking me back and forth; maybe an effort to make me listen, to pay attention. But it wasn’t working; I became nauseous and more belligerent.  Another change of scene and there she was, in the corner of a dark room, sitting on the floor with knees bent toward her face, sobbing uncontrollably, shaking in her own sweat. All her face now showed was unmeasurable fear and emptiness, a deep black hole in the middle of her soul that was gradually expanding and swallowed every dream it touched, leaving her with nothing but flagrant dismay.

Another abrupt change of scene and she smiled again, hope radiating one more time, eyes shining with revived expectations. I remembered that expression, I yearned for it, as it tugged my insides with more force than anything else in existence.  For a second it made me happy and brought me a smidgeon of comfort, but the feeling didn’t last long, as I was forced to pay attention and figure out the reason for her glow.

She took off her clothes, slowly, with that raw sensuality that was as unique to her as her signature. Her top came off and so did her skirt, leaving her in nothing but her pink underwear, the one from Victoria’s Secret that I had bought and surprised her with on our first anniversary. She almost looked shy, as if she was about to reveal a very deep secret, one she never had. Her bra found its way to the floor, and her breasts looked as splendid as ever, gleaming in the soft lights, bathed in her unblemished alabaster skin.

A pair of masculine hands grabbed her firmly by her waist, and she sighted with lust.  The tip of the fingers traveled north, barely touching her skin; just enough to drive her crazy. Her eyes rolled back and her mouth stayed open, but did not make a sound. She was in so much pleasure she was forgetting to breathe. His mouth found hers and nibbled on her lower lip, as his hands now held both of her breasts tightly. He passionately pushed her onto the bed and climbed on her, without losing contact with her mouth. Two bodies started to tumble and intertwine, two bodies started to become one. The rest of her underwear quickly came off, she wasn’t shy about sharing her secret anymore. She closed her eyes and tried to hold her moans, but didn’t succeed. Sweat gushed from her pores and she glistened. Her neck arched as she let out a loud, extended sigh that signaled her climax. Then she breathed heavily, full of satisfaction, as she looked in the eyes of the man that had brought her inexplicable pleasure, a man that wasn’t me.

Character Introduction: Callie

I am very proud to introduce you to Callie, one of the main characters in the novel.  Don’t forget to click here to get notice of global release date!

We stood once again by the window, getting acquainted with the mid-morning version of the view. The sky was a shade of blue that refused to give the spotlight to the few clouds that freely roamed the stratosphere. The sun was at its warmest, and just putting a hand on the glass would momentarily sooth the penetrating shivers that gave us the polar temperature on this side of it.

In the distance, window cleaners propelled down the side of buildings like Navy Seals. Impatient car horns made sure everyone stayed vigilant on the freeway, which was dead-stopped with heavy traffic. The parking lot below was seeing an influx of human and vehicular activity; people walking in and out of doctor appointments, probably getting bloodwork, taking x-rays, maybe getting a necessary wake-up call. They walked with an urgency that made it obvious that whatever they were doing was an interruption of their day; they needed to get in and out as quickly as possible, so they could resume taking care of the things that really mattered.  Not too far from where we stood a couple of small birds played, chirping away in happiness and intertwining in rhythmic cavort. Callie and I soaked up the view, as we sipped on hot cups of coffee that they had available after lunch, to help those that wanted an upper hand in battling the drowsiness of the afternoon meds. I didn’t have that problem, I just always enjoyed a cup of the black stuff. This one was particularly dull, but I didn’t expect there to be Starbucks quality coffee on the psychiatric floor.

“Are you a pessimist, Jay?” Callie asked.

“Worse,” I responded. “I’m a realist.”

“Do you think we will ever be able to defeat these demons?”

“Depends on who you ask,” I said. “An optimist would say yes. A pessimist would say no. Being a realist I have to say: I don’t know.”

She was visibly disappointed by my answer. “I wish I could just know for sure, I wish I was convinced it was worth it.”

“You can only be sure of one thing Callie, and that is that you will definitely fail if you don’t try at all,” I said, with a confidence that reminded me of those people on Youtube that pretended to be motivational speakers.

She paid close attention to the birds tussling on the other side of the glass. She followed every movement with her eyes, completely absorbed, as if she was watching a Broadway play. “My mother was a Playboy bunny you know, back in the sixties. Long legged, beautiful Californian blonde. She met my dad on a trip she took to New York, at a bar in Manhattan. He was a handsome, muscular factory worker, with big ambitions and a bigger heart. He was sitting on a corner, sipping on his usual bourbon, when she walked in and ordered a Cosmo. He immediately recognized her, and two drinks later he built enough strength to go over and introduce himself. Daddy says it was love at first sight, Mom doesn’t. Either way they got married quick, six months after that day. He quit his job a few months later and began investing some of mom’s money into several ventures; he always had good business sense and worked very hard. Five years later he was on his way to building a manufacturing empire, and quickly expanded from New York to LA, and then overseas to the Philippines.  Mom never had to work again.

After I was born Mom became the typical housewife and Daddy continued to grow the business. Then my two brothers came along, Jake and Marlo. It wasn’t a bad childhood initially, but Mom, not having much experience taking care of a home, would get easily overwhelmed and anxious having to handle everything by herself. I honestly think she really missed her playmate years, the attention, the fame, the fact that every day was a surprise; you never knew what it was going to bring. She missed being young and vibrant and free, having something to constantly look forward to. And now there she was, playing house with a husband that was never home and three young kids. Every moment was scripted with the conspicuous boredom of a life that, like a video tape, would rewind at night and replay all over again the next day. So, she started a habit of her own. She would take care of all the chores by six in the afternoon, and by seven she would have her first glass of wine. Two bottles later she would be passed out in bed, usually by nine. That routine also played over every single day, without exception, and with Daddy being at work until late at night, we were pretty much on our own all that time. Jake and Marlo were younger, and they were boys. Mom was all I had, she was the one person I could truly relate to, so I became very lonely.” She took a sip of the now lukewarm coffee.

“There was a boy named Chad that lived right next door from us. Most afternoons, after mom was in bed, Chad would sneak in through my bedroom window and we would play. I liked the company, even though I knew he wasn’t that great. He was a couple of years older than me and had already earned a pretty devious reputation in school. A few times I had to stop his hands from touching forbidden places, but he was persistent and pushy, and it eventually paid off. I was afraid he would stop showing up and I would have to once again spend my afternoons in solitude. Then one day he brought a few pills he had stolen from his parent’s medicine cabinet, and told me to take one. I was confused, I told him I wasn’t sick,” she chortled. “I was so innocent back then. He said that it wasn’t that kind of pill, and told me to trust him. I took one, he took two, and just like that, it all began. As soon as that pill kicked in and the feeling traveled through my body, I fell in love with the high, more than I have ever loved a man, or anyone, in fact. That day Chad had his way with me and I didn’t care. I didn’t care that he fondled me and raped me and made me bleed like an animal, that he choked me to the point that I almost fainted and that he left bruises all over my body. It didn’t matter, because to me that day had been a gift. From that moment, I started chasing the feeling that pill gave me, and I haven’t stopped ever since.

A few years later, getting through High School was simple. It was easy for the daughter of a model to use her genetic advantages to get whatever she wanted. It always worked on the guys that had access to the drugs I wanted. When I graduated and went to college, Daddy put me on the payroll for the company, so I would automatically receive a paycheck every month to pay my expenses. He said that his little girl would always be taken care of, and he meant it. He wanted me to have what he never did. It was enough money to feed a family of four, but my roommate and I would live on ramen noodles and pasta, so we could spend the rest of the money on cocaine for her and pills for me. It was a crazy time.

First overdose happened at twenty-two. I was on three 80mg Oxys and, I don’t remember exactly, but at least four Xanax bars. Then came rehab, and then my first suicide attempt. My life took such a sharp turn, so quick, that I initially had a very hard time accepting it, but a few months later I was getting better, or so I thought anyway.

Then for a while I was free again, and after a year Daddy restored my payroll checks, thinking I was ok. I was twenty-five when I met Phil, another pill junkie, and long story short, we enabled each other in the messiest of relationships, until he died next to me, overdosed on Vicodin. Then came another suicide attempt” – she took a sip – “but when you develop such a tolerance for pills, it’s kind of hard to accurately decipher how many are going to kill you.

“I moved back in with my parents and tried to keep it straight for a while, failed miserably. Ended up in rehab again, and again after that. That’s when Daddy completely cut me off for the first time, so I had to resort to using my genetic advantages again, and started stripping. By that time, the habit got so expensive that dancing wasn’t enough, so I started taking clients home after shifts. I became a full-service escort; I would provide the sex, they provided the drugs. Got arrested a couple of times for solicitation, and got raped more than once,” she raised the Styrofoam cup to take another sip of coffee and her hand shook, while a tear barely missed falling inside of it. “It was a dark time, Jay, a dark time.”

“Callie, I’m so sorry,” I whispered.

“And now I’m here,” she managed a haggard smile. “Daddy is negotiating my admittance to a facility in Orlando, The Sunrise Center. They want a fifteen-thousand-dollar deposit, Daddy wants to bring it down to ten. He’s a great businessman, he’ll get it done,” she said, finishing what was left of her the coffee.

“And then?” I asked.

“And then another attempt at making better choices, and I have the feeling this chance is my last,” she said.

Giving a Voice to Mental Illness

The day is fast approaching, and it excites me to know that soon, very soon, we will be able to, together, give a voice to those that haven’t been heard, to those that have been ignored; the ones that cry most for help. It is human instinct to fear what we don’t understand, and, for that reason, we have to make it clear, shouting from the rooftops if we have to, that mental illness now has a voice, and the stigmas that have plagued it for centuries will continue to crumble and dissappear, once and for all. We have to show the humanity in those people believed to be barely human; those that must hide their truths or themselves, because they cannot find acceptance in today’s society.

We will disrupt the system and make them known. Will you join me?

The Flawed Ones.…. Coming Soon.