By Chris Hadland
Key Themes: depression, psychosis, schizophrenia
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Sol, a young man with his entire unblemished future ahead of him, has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Admitted to a less than therapeutic psychiatric ward, he finds himself surrounded by sedated, non-communicative individuals, and rapidly sinks into a state of mental decline. Seeking solace in his Jewish faith, Sol gradually becomes convinced that he isn’t just another casualty of the mental health system, but someone special, and not just anyone...
'Chris Hadland has written a wonderful account of the thought processes of a mentally disturbed young man affected by the Jerusalem Syndrome. Chris's powerful use of the descriptive potential of the English language makes the main character, Sol, totally credible, as you accompany him on his journey to, hoped for, ultimate sanity. If, like me, you find people fascinating, this is a book you must read.'
Lionel Ross-Author of Fine Feathers, Hidden Heritage, The Baghdad Declaration and Men of Conviction
About the Author
Chris Hadland was born in 1981 in Coventry. He and his family moved to the Shetland Isles when he was nine. After leaving school he planned to have a career in the RAF, though this did not work out as hoped, and he left after completing basic training. It was during this demoralising period of life that he suffered from a spell of depression. Eventually deciding to go to University, he graduated in Political Studies in 2004 from the University of Aberdeen. Chris now lives in the West Midlands with his wife Rosalind.'
His first memory was of wandering in a forest: cold, hungry, alone. Damp leaves glued to his clothes, sharp, scratching branches clutching and ensnaring him in their cruel grip as he meandered aimlessly. Only the trees heard his child’s confused anguish, witnessed his tears mingling with the muddy ground beneath. He had been just two years old, with no idea where he had come from or where he was going.
Eventually he must have happened across some sort of path, for he had made his way (as he was later told) to a car park, where he had been discovered by some walkers who drove him back to the city and into the care of social services. It had been a few months after this that he had first met the couple who were now his adoptive parents: Daniel and Judith Cohen.
“Ahem.” Dr Lenfold cleared his throat abrasively, startling Sol out of his impending reverie.
“Do you or the couple who found you at the forest car park remember what you said to them when you first met each other?”
“Nothing coherent,” Sol answered hesitantly. “Apparently I just mumbled nonsense. ‘Gobbledegook’, Dan called it. The educational psychologist later told me that I must have made up my own sort of primitive language as some sort of childish self-comforting mechanism to deal with being abandoned, and had forgotten my existing knowledge of English – and my past memories – due to the traumatic experience of being abandoned.”
“I see. So what happened after that? Any other particularly negative life experiences that may have been formative? Were you bullied at school?” Sol clenched his jaw at the mole’s casually patronising, assumptive tone, but forced himself to continue regardless – whatever it took to make the man leave:
“School wasn’t easy. While I excelled at my studies, I always found socialising very difficult. It was partly due to the fact that I didn’t know who my real parents were, and this came out fairly early on in my school years. So right from the offing they had something to use against me. Kids are like wolves – they form close-knit packs with a leader (the popular kid) and do whatever he or she tells them. They roam around the playground looking for someone playing on their own to pick on. Someone ‘different’, weaker, without a pack of their own to defend them. Nothing brings people together better than having a common enemy.” Sol paused, painful memories re-surfacing.
“ So yeah, I got bullied – who wouldn’t, in my situation? But I survived it. Sixth form was much easier – your peers admire you for being clever and quirky there, they don't shun you. All the ones who lack intelligence or ambition have left school by then. I found others with similar interests, joined after-school clubs, went to house parties...”
“Smoked some cannabis...?” Lenfold interrupted rudely. Sol grimaced.
“I was wondering how long it would take you to ask that particular question. Yes. I smoked some weed – but only socially, and never in large quantities, or on consecutive days...”
Sol didn’t bother looking at the pen any more after that - he could tell from its increased animation that it was already leaping to its own conclusions, and he had no doubt whatsoever that they wouldn’t be good...
This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 27 January, 2010.