'We're about ten days out from releasing the brand new version of Asylum. I'm excited about it! I'll be revealing the cover within the next few days.
Today, I thought I'd share with you the story behind it.
As a child, I had two seizures--one grand mal and one petit mal. We went through the whole neurological work-up, EEGs, hospital stays. I wasn't epileptic. The doctor believed they were triggered by playing video games (the first one) and using a green-screen computer (the second one). Of course, as a kid, I was horrified, but I dealt with it.
Jump ahead many years later. I'm working at Disneyland, and on New Year's Day 1997, ventured out with a friend. I'd been living alone, and my brother sent me one of his Nintendo consoles to keep me entertained on those lonely dateless evenings. (Oh, there were many. Sad, indeed.) Anyway, my friend and I went out for a lovely lunch, then headed to Pier One to do a bit of Christmas clearance shopping.
I started to feel a little dizzy. Sometimes, certain kinds of lights toy with my brain. I was about to tell my friend I needed to leave...and that's all I remember.
Until I woke up in the hospital.
Oh, there is no more disorienting or disconcerting feeling than waking up in a hospital.
A nurse checked me out for a moment, then handed me a cup with two white pills in it. She said I had to take them before I could leave. I had no idea what they were, but because I was in the "trusted, knowledgeable" care of a doctor, I followed orders. They soon sent me on my way with a prescription for more of those pills and a follow-up appointment with the doctor.
So they put me on Tegretol. They told me I couldn't drive for 6 months. Ha! Living alone in LA and working two jobs...how could I obey that? I took the med, but proceeded as normal. And I can tell you, that med played with my head. I remember working a show and hearing the beat of the music behind what was being played. I had to really focus and stay ahead of myself to keep up.
Within the next couple years, I started to wean myself off the med. The original prescription was 4 a day - 2 in the morning and 2 at night. There had never been any discussion. No checking of my past medical records. No EEG. No anything. Just a doctor handing out medication. And he never said I'd have to take it for the rest of my days. It was expensive, and I had no insurance to cover it. So I worked down to 2 a day. Then 1.
I was going to work for a cruise line, and they wanted to know about this lovely little piece of my medical history, because apparently they did more checking into my background than the doctor did. I had to be examined and released by a neurologist. This doctor determined that I was doing fine and that the dosage I was taking wasn't therapeutic enough...so he told me not to bother with it anymore.
I was free.
In the wee hours of the night, when one is trying to sleep, but one's brain just won't let them, thoughts come. And sometimes, I'd lie awake and wonder why this happened. Did I have a brain tumor that triggered these random seizures? (Well, of course not, but darkness always makes things worse...) Even years later, I was angry and frustrated with that doctor who never bothered to check my records. Who just thrust brain-bending pills into my hand and forced me to take them.
This is how Asylum came about. At least part of it. This is part of Trista's story, although the background is a little different.
That's one thing I love about writing--weaving very personal parts into a larger story. It gives a unique authenticity and perspective to the character. No, going through all that wasn't fun, and at the time, I had no idea I'd incorporate it in a book. But looking back, I'm grateful.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3