In Jamie’s Children, as in all my books, the characters are faced with challenges which they meet with the help of the music in their lives. Niall Logan, the son of a renowned operatic tenor, has aspirations of becoming a successful singer-songwriter. And he has the talent and the passion. Unfortunately, Niall also has a frightening mental illness … he is bipolar.
In the first chapter we meet Niall, who has finally accepted the fact he may not survive if he doesn’t agree to seek the help he needs in dealing with his illness. He’s now in a clinic in Westchester County, New York, thinking back over the recent events which brought him here.
Chapter 1: Niall
Life on lithium.
Could be the beginning of a song lyric, thought Niall.
Life on lithium, how things have changed.
Not as much fun as when I was deranged.
He was sprawled across the bed in his room at the clinic, one arm over his eyes, fighting back tears. He was thinking of his sister Laura; he needed to see her. She had been good to him his entire life, and the last time he’d seen her he had been awful. Why would he have done that? When did his life turn upside down?
He wanted it to be spring, and for the two of them to be in the park with their parents, getting ready for a Sunday morning picnic. He wanted to be six again, flying a kite with his dad, playing badminton with Laura, sitting close to his mom as she read to him.
He sighed and sat up, stretching carefully. Muscle aches were part of Niall’s “adjustment” to lithium, and his shoulders and back and hips were painfully stiff and sore. He looked at the light on the table next to the bed. No halos, that was good. He looked around the room. No weird shadows in the corners. No musical sounds that weren’t there.
When did I start analyzing my sensory perceptions? he thought. Since I started taking lithium. What a stupid name for a drug. A drug with a lisp. Or a lithp.
. . . His heart began to pound when he saw the shadows in the room begin to pulsate and writhe. There’s something in them. He backed away, his stomach churning, and felt Bonnie’s arms encircle him. She soothed him, took his hands and gently led him to the bed. Defeated and confused, he lay next to her, trembling, shaking, beating a pillow with his fists, his throat aching with sobs he couldn’t release. She wrapped her arms around him and rocked him as if he were a child, and he relaxed enough to fall into a fitful sleep.
He woke the next morning feeling as if six inch spikes had been driven into his eyes and through the top of his head. His stomach was on fire. When he tried to move nothing worked. He knew what it was: a killer migraine. When he finally managed to open his eyes he shut them again immediately. The world had changed; he didn’t even want to be there. He curled into a fetal position. He refused to even drink water.
I guess this is what it is to hit bottom, he thought. I’ll die if I keep doing this, flying and then crashing. I’ll end up killing myself.
Jamie’s Children is available on Amazon, e-book and paperback.
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