By Michael Black
Key Themes: autobiography, hypomania, schizophrenia, bi-polar manic-depression, schizoaffective disorder, anti-psychiatry, humour, recovery
This book tells the story of my battles within the mental health system over the last fourteen years. I have, from a psychiatristís perspective, variously been diagnosed as hypomanic, schizophrenic, manic depressive and as having schizoaffective disorder Ė and in that order!
But from my point of view (and as an ex-journalist I decided to investigate the mental health system from the inside out!), I have simply been on an extraordinary spiritual journey, meeting the spirits of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, meeting a spiritually persecuting Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, meeting the ancient queen Cleopatra herself, meeting the devilish spirit of Dr. Josef Goebbels, before penultimately having sex with the female angel Jana and finally meeting the fallen angel Lucifer himself!
The book recounts the story of all the above, whilst also ending with a discussion and critique of contemporary psychiatry.
I do not believe myself to have been mentally ill. I believe myself to be a visionary.
About the Author
Michael Black was born in 1962, and Angels, Cleopatra And Psychosis describes his life and spiritual experiences within the British mental health system over the past fifteen years. The book stands up for the legitimacy of so-called psychotic experience, and questions the validity of the received medical model.
Michael grew up in Cheshire, where he attended Wilmslow Grammar School before doing an English and History degree at York University. He then completed a doctorate in anti-apartheid literature at Cambridge University, whilst variously working as a journalist and theatre producer.
Michael is the author of one novel, Crossing Out The Emperor, and six stage plays. He has received three Arts Council Playwrights Bursaries, and is currently working on a new novel and two film scripts.
The publication of Angels, Cleopatra And Psychosis is supported by Macclesfield Mind.
I first met Michelangelo on Newark railway station in the June of 1993. I was already in a strange mood, feeling very light headed, but also very intellectually energetic. Emotionally though, I was fragile. By this time, Sharon and I were living separate lives in Hertfordshire and York respectively, and I had caught a train from Glasgow where I had seen relatives to go back down south. The canteen on the train was closed and I had an open ticket for any train, so I decided to get off at Newark to get a cup of tea before getting back on the next train going to London. Simple. The platform was empty and there he was, an invisible shining spirit of handsome male strength with cascading hair, a living transparent yet almost translucent force field of energy and life-after-death. He looked like his own statue of David. I knew immediately it was Michelangelo, there was no need of words or other kinds of confirmation, just as I would know who all the other spirits were when I later met their spirits too. This being was a being like no other I had ever met and doubtless ever will.
And itís all a lot stranger than that. On the train from Glasgow to Newark, looking out of the window for no reason, it had started raining on one side of the train, and was still sunny on the other. A rainbow arched the skies. The heavy rain clouds parted in unison and three female angels winged their way across the skies, all with trumpets, simply radiating triumph. But the triumph of what I thought? Two strong naked male figures appeared, each with their index fingers pointing at the other, but the radiance of the sun soon blinded them from my view as the angels continued to traverse the Heavens and the dance of light on the rolling clouds travelled on. The sky was turning into the Sistine Chapel ceiling, except it was a moving, dynamic version, unrestrained by the static dimensions of a simple fresco or painting. And I know all this to be a moving rendition of the Sistine Chapel ceiling now, but I swear blind that at the time I knew very little about perhaps Michelangeloís most famous work of art at all.
In fact to this day I know very little about the historical Michelangelo, and as the years of knowing his spirit have gone on, Iíve made it my business not to find out. Why bother? When his spirit first appeared before me that June afternoon, you could say I hardly knew him from Adam.
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 24 May, 2007.